John Lamparski/WireImage
Kelsey Glein
Sep 16, 2014 @ 11:01 am

When Kerry Washington got the chance to combine her passion for fashion with support for a cause she’s always been close to, it was a no-brainer for the actress. At last night's launch of the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse Program, the Scandal star (in a green Alexander McQueen dress and Casadei pumps) was thrilled to unveil the limited-edition bag she personally designed to raise awareness for domestic violence and financial abuse. "When this opportunity came along, I felt like it was such a great chance for me to be part a of the solution, and this bag is a way to address helping women in a very tangible, specific way," she told InStyle at New York City's Glasshouses.

Washington has been an advocate of domestic violence awareness for some time, and strives to use her voice to empower survivors and victims of abuse while working to prevent future occurrences. Her purse, crafted in the signature shade of domestic violence awareness—purple—symbolizes taking control of your finances and becoming economically independent even in the face of abuse and intimidation. "My goal was to design a purple bag that I would want to wear every day. I like bags, so it had to be a great bag!" Kerry said. "I wanted it to have a classic aesthetic, so it has really beautiful tweed detailing to it, but I also wanted it to be edgy, modern, and strong. I wanted it to be feminine, and I wanted it to be dynamic. I wanted it to be everything that a self-supporting woman could be in a bag … Big goals!"

Big indeed, but Washington was able to live up to the task. And creating a clutch, as opposed to a traditional shoulder bag, was a decision she carefully considered. "It’s not just something that hangs on you, but it’s something you can hold," she said. "You can hold your independence, your well-being, your future, and your safety."

For more information on Kerry Washington's Purple Purse campaign with Allstate, visit purplepurse.com and find out how you can get involved.

Visit InStyle.com on Sept. 22, when Kerry Washington will take over our site as the day's guest editor! For more of the actress now, see her best looks ever in the gallery.

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