Feb 282010
Authors: Justyna Tomtas

While dozens of charities use pamphlets, infomercials or even door-to-door canvassers to solicit donations for African aid, freshman Katie Hutt has developed a new approach.

As the founder of Garden of Edith clothing, Hutt has combined her love for fashion and sympathy for the plight of Ugandan children into a new business.

Hutt was inspired to make a difference in the far continent during her freshman year of high school, when she watched “Invisible Children,” a documentary about the struggles of children in war-torn Uganda.

“I knew that God wanted me to go there and help people. From there, it was how I was going to help people and how I was going to make a difference,” Hutt said.

Combining her passion for fashion and her drive to end poverty in Africa, Hutt started a clothing company to raise money for the cause. In 2008, Garden of Edith was created.

The company works hand in hand with five charities: Invisible Children, World Vision, Angels of East Africa, Eyes on Africa Foundation and Med25.

“I have a passion for clothes and art. It’s something that I’m good at so I decided I could use my God given ability and hopefully find other people who have the passion I have to help others,” Hutt said.

Garden of Edith currently sells screen T-shirts and donates 25 percent of the sales to the five charities. Hutt also sells local artwork, donating 10 percent of the proceeds.

She plans to have her first clothing line out this summer. The clothes will be made entirely from recycled materials.

Further down the road, Hutt hopes to have a store where she can sell her clothing. She also hopes to take her shirts to Africa and teach the women there how to screen print in an effort to help boost the economy.

“My heart is in Africa and I just love everything about it. After college, I want to move there to help,” Hutt said. “The poverty is so great over there. Nothing can get accomplished –– people can’t move up in society because they’re thinking of what will happen in the next hour or two.”

Staff writer Justyna Tomtas can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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