2018 Speaker Introduction Series: Rahel Mwitula Williams

Rahel Mwitula Williams is the founder of ILAVA, a socially responsible lifestyle brand that uses fashion to empower African women. After having her work presented at LA fashion week, Rahel is focused on using her business to support women in business in her home country Tanzania. Her goal is to make Africa a manufacturing hub, promote corporate social responsibility during the growing stages of the business, and to prove that African women can be philanthropists.

The topic of her talk is "Redefining Philanthropy: Faces of Change Makers" and we had the opportunity to ask her a couple of questions surrounding her interests and passions.

TEDxNorthwesternU: What is TED to you?

Rahel Mwitula Williams: A platform for great ideas where everyday people have an opportunity to express their views.

TEDxNorthwesternU: What are some of your favorite TED talks and why?

Rahel Mwitula Williams: I enjoy various talks in different topics, but my most recent favorite is Luvvie Ayaji's talk, "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable".

TEDx: What about fashion do you think has the power to empower?

RMW: Fashion is one form of self expression. Even when you are trying to avoid it, you are still making a statement.

TEDx: What drew you to fashion in the first place?

RMW: Interestingly, I never and still have a hard time considering myself as a person in the fashion industry. I considered myself a social entrepreneur who happened to love fashion and I used it to make an impact. Nonetheless, I have always tried to be different and express myself through it.

TEDx: Do you think that the fashion industry is ready and/or capable of embracing social responsibility in their products?

RMW: I hope so and not just fashion but all business’ social responsibility should be in our DNA...not just something “good” we are doing.


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