Kate Bosworth's Latest Fashion Collaboration Shines a Light on a Modern Form of Slavery
"It’s insidious because it's the most devastating epidemic behind closed doors, and it's so difficult to track and uncover," says Bosworth.
Over the years, Kate Bosworth has had many fashion collaborations — with Topshop, Lucky Brand, JewelMint, Matisse and more. But her newest, debuting today with J Brand, may be the most personal.
To promote her latest feature film NONA, she's teamed up with the denim maker to shine a light on the heady subject of human trafficking with a photo shoot she lensed with the film's star, Sulem Calderon, featuring the brand's spring collection and a special T-shirt.
Co-produced by Bosworth and husband Michael Polish's Make Pictures Productions, NONA puts a face on Central America's sex trafficking industry, following the path of a single Honduran girl from her home in San Pedro Sula, across four countries, and into the world of modern-day sex slavery. The fictional film is written and directed by Polish, featuring Bosworth in the role of a detective, and has been making the festival rounds, most recently at the Richmond Film Festival. The title is an acronym for "no name," a nod to the often-faceless victims.
The couple's interest in the subject started when they heard a story about sex trafficking on NPR, says Bosworth. "It was about a sex house that had just been busted not far from our house in L.A., and it was so shocking because we had no idea how prevalent it was in our country. It's insidious because it's the most devastating epidemic behind closed doors, and it's so difficult to track and uncover."
Their research into the topic led them to the L.A.-based organization for sex trafficking survivors called CAST (Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Human Trafficking), which will receive 100 percent of proceeds from a T-shirt featured in the shoot. CAST will honor Bosworth this month at its annual fundraising gala.
"It's an organization about empowering survivors," she says, noting that among the general public, there is often a misunderstanding about why victims don't just escape. "With our film, we thought if we started with just one girl who starts her journey in Honduras, where she doesn't have any family and is struggling to make ends meet, then have a cute guy come along who is very clever about building this intimate trust with someone who is already vulnerable, that people might start to understand how difficult it is to escape."
The idea to bring exposure to the film through partnering with J Brand came from a brainstorm Bosworth had with execs from the L.A. apparel brand, during which she shared that she had started shooting photos with a Leica camera and might like to spend some time behind the lens herself. Bosworth shot the photos for the editorial feature at her home, and for one image, took a Sharpie pen to the brand's basic white Carolina tee, personalizing it by writing the word "Love" on the collar. J Brand liked the look so much, the design team decided to stitch "Love" onto the collar of the shirt for the production run, and proceeds from the sales of that design will go to CAST.
"Our hope with the film and this project is to impart knowledge," says Bosworth, adding that she was struck just this week, seeing news about the enormous migrant caravan from Central America seeking asylum in the U.S. "They are all victims of violence who are in danger in their countries," she says. "And if they don't have any way to get into the country legally, they will try to get into the country illegally, and that opens the door to sex trafficking."