In year 2012, I found out that Houston is one of the biggest hubs for human-trafficking.
Hi, I'm Inka Mathew, a freelance graphic designer. After 5 years of starting my design studio in Houston, I heard this fact from a friend. This revelation shocked me. Later I found out that this modern day slavery also runs rampant all over the globe. There's actually more slavery today compared to any other time in human history! Isn't that absurd? Estimated about 30 million people today are slaved for prostitution and forced labor.
God later placed a burden in my heart to do something, to join the fight for these trafficking victims. I wanted to do something using my abilities. When I thought about those young women and children, about how their lives had been robbed by their traffickers, it just really broke my heart. I could not imagine what they went through. I think it is the most horrific assault to a human being – body and soul – done by another. If I were to talk to one of these women, I really wouldn't know what to say, and my words will probably fall so short. This verse though, Psalm 139:14, was impressed on my heart when I think about them, and I wish I could communicate its wonderful meaning to them. That their lives are not a mistake, that there is hope in Christ.
I decided to create a typographic design piece based on the verse. I was inspired by Art Nouveau graphic style, which is beautifully organic and complex. I was also inspired by the intricate art of Chinese silk embroidery, which takes thousands of hours and hundreds of different colored silk threads to sew an embroidered painting by hand. It's awe-inspiring, both in its process and result. I felt that this embroidery concept could represent the message I'd like to say. I drew the "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" typographic piece and was planning to create a poster to be sold online to create awareness of human trafficking issue. But a close friend suggested that I create a clothing line instead. After much prayers and brain-storming with my husband, 139Made was born. The name was born out of Psalm 139, which I believe is God's message and promise to these trafficking victims (and to all of us). That they're all 139-made— fearfully and wonderfully made by our loving God. You can read more about Psalm 139 on Our Heart page.
My hope is that 139Made will help bring awareness to human-trafficking issue and inspire people to join the other abolitionists to fight this modern day slavery.