I’ve noticed a lot of people who work outside of fashion think it’s a shallow industry. I’m not sure why some people believe caring about your appearance translates into a character defect. They may be confusing personal style with vanity, an ego-driven need to be noticed for something superficial or to feel better than others.
What many outside the industry don’t see is the amount of good the fashion industry does and the many open-hearted people within it who truly want to make the world a better place. Whether it’s the proponents of sustainable style who encourage a light footprint on the earth, or the countless fundraisers that raise millions for worthy charities, or the fashion entrepreneurs who give a portion of their proceeds to charity, fashion is fertile ground for giving and showing love.
Today I highlight a few of those lovely fashion people who give back to their communities. Please use the comments section to add someone other than yourself to the list. It’s not about giving or receiving credit; just the inspiration that comes from sharing our gifts for the greater good.
Professional make-up artist, Nicki Traikos, uses her skills to help women raise their confidence and improve their self-esteem. Rather than focus on flaws that need “fixing”, Nicki encourages viewers of her beauty blog Makeup Beautyfull to zone in on their positivie attributes and play those up. For instance, skip the lip-pumping injections and play up your beautiful eyes instead. The teaser for her YouTube series features women talking about simple measures like drinking water and connecting with friends to help them feel beautiful. Nicki will be donating a portion of the proceeds from her upcoming book to WomenAide whose mission is to donate goods-in-kind (rather than cash) to Toronto’s Women’s abuse shelters.
Safina Ruda is a Toronto stylist who loves helping women find their true essence and learn to embrace and relect it in their personal style every day. Along with giving a portion of profits to CARE, a global force dedicated to empowering women and children in developing countries, she hosted an event called Honour Your Style in which she collected donations to aid the Haitian relief effort and presented women with tools to make their personal style enhance their self-esteem. My favourite tip:
wear sexy underthings even if no one else will see them! You are worth it.
Fashion Takes Action began in 2007 as the Green Gala, a fashion-show fundraiser for Environmental Defence. The show featured three environmentally sustainable looks from each of ten leading Canadian designers. The goal was to prove that a high-end fashion showcase could exist without harm to the earth. From blow-dry-free hair, to a green venue, to the materials and production of the garments, every aspect of the show was kind to the environment.
It’s hard to believe that only a few years ago fashion needed proof that sustainable couture was not an oxmoron. It reminds me of Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair which erupted when a record exec told the singer she couldn’t have a female headliner because no one would pay to see two women perform at the same event! It only seems impossible until somebody does it.
After the Green Gala, the need for an organization to support, encourage, and promote sustainable fashion became clear. Today FTA is the go-to source for fair, accurate, and up-to-date information on building a sustainable fashion business.
Most recently FTA hosted a workshop on Universal Design where sustainable designers Sonja den Elzen (Thieves) and Annie Thompson were featured speakers, and inaugurated the Design Forward award acknowledging excellence in sustainable design, taking four factors into account: materials, production, design, and special features.
Pioneering eco-fashion designer Katharine Hamnett spent years attempting to get the industry on board with sustainable practices until she finally realized it was up to the consumer to make the change. If shoppers were given a choice, they will often opt to spend their dollars to support an ethical option.
In the spirit of providing consumers with ethical choices, Kate Black began Magnifeco, a daily independent blog providing “click-to-buy” opportunities for consumers to purchase sustainable and fair-trade items. Links lead the reader to vendors’ websites and Kate does not profit from these endorsements. The blog was born out of Kate’s need to find a source for “fair trade, recycled, reusable, sustainable, organic, and/or vegan products.”
Ainsley Kerr is the event co-ordinator for Rethink Breast Cancer’s major fundraiser the Booby Ball. Tickets have already sold out for the October 16th event thanks to Ainsley’s tireless efforts to bring attention to this amazing cause.
Rethink puts the “fun” in fundraising with a youthful and fashionable approach to raising awareness about the disease that affects women and even a few men of all ages. In August, models, photographers, make-up artists and stylists gave generously of their time for a photo shoot that used the backdrop of a Studio 54 nightclub vibe to capture shots that will be used to raise funds and awareness for Rethink. Ainsley, who was at the heart of the venture, exemplifies true philanthropy through all her charitable endeavours.
Designers With Purpose:
And where would we be without the designers? Well, naked of course! And nobody wants that.
Last month, David Dixon donated his collection for Wear It Loud, a fashion-show fundraiser at This Is London nightclub on behalf of Because I Am A Girl, Plan Canada’s global initiative to claim a brighter, safer future by investing in our girls. Plan believes giving girls opportunities for success is the key to eliminating poverty and creating a better world.
Aime is Toronto designer Monica Mei’s brand whose motto is: “Love yourself, love others.” The message, which is also the cornerstone of the health and wellness movement–self-love is the fountain from which all other love springs–encapsulates the brand’s mission to bring comfort and luxury to a woman’s busy lifestyle while caring for the environment and giving back to the community. Sales from Aime’s capsule collection for the Embracing Beautiful Minds Gala resulted in a $1,350 donation to the Hong Fook Mental Health Association.
So, tell me. What other fashion professionals are giving back to their communities? Inspire us!
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