Generosity may not be the first word that comes to mind when you think about the fashion industry. However, growing from the fabric, the glamor, sales and good fortune, many designers and brands have used their creativity, business know-how and network to launch and partner with campaigns that successfully raise awareness, contribute to research and assist those in need of help around the world.
Well-known international organizations such as Save the Children, Unicef and (RED) have attracted partnerships with major designer brands such as Bulgari, Gucci and Armani. Other top brands are drawn to local or lesser known initiatives, and still others develop unique campaigns of their own.
Oscar de la Renta became deeply involved with a local organization called New Yorkers For Children. Joining its board shortly after its founding, Oscar de la Renta became a dedicated director of the organization, actively utilizing his network to raise awareness and funds to address the needs of children in New York’s foster care system.
Diane von Furstenberg, a frequently outspoken advocate for women, partnered with a lesser known organization called Vital Voices, an organization that identifies, trains and mentors ‘emerging women leaders’ from around the world in order to support them in their efforts to effectively help more women globally.
Burberry is one brand that has developed its own philanthropic organization, The Burberry Foundation, which combines donations with the skills of Burberry employees in order to challenge kids to explore their creativity and develop their capabilities.
A major collective effort was undertaken among the fashion community in 2013 when the Council of Fashion Designers of America President Diane Von Furstenberg, Conde Nast Artistic Director and Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour and President of Amazon Fashion Cathy Beaudoin recruited 23 female designers, with children of their own, to create the special BORN FREE mother-and-child product line to be sold exclusively on Amazon. One hundred percent of this line’s proceeds would be donated to a new organization called BORN FREE AFRICA, dedicated to stopping the transmission of HIV from mother to child for a generation free of AIDS.
Big designer brands are not the only ones giving back, however. Many indie brands partner with causes, volunteer time, support and organize special events in their communities. As do many businesses across the country and around the world, Harlem Haberdashery, a noted New York City boutique, organizes a relatively simple but very needed local toy and coat drive for neighborhood families in need.
The fashion industry, at its core, is creatively resourceful and many of its members use this shared attribute to reach beyond selling product to supporting those most in need of help.
“15 Fashion Designers Who Give Back”, www.marieclaire.com
“BORNFREE Campaign Launched in Collaboration with Fashion Community to Achieve Goal of Eliminating the Transmission of HIV from Mothers to Babies by the End of 2015”, www.businesswire.com