Monday, September 12, 2011

Fashion For a Cause

Most people in the world vote with their dollar.  People want to support companies and organizations whose mission statements fall within their personal beliefs.  Fashion is no exception.  For instance you may be less inclined to buy clothing from a designer that uses excessive photoshop in their print ads.

But, I do hope the opposite is equally true.  I hope that people also spend money on fashion that contributes to ideas and causes beyond just looking chic.  Today, I've put together a list of fashionably philanthropic items.

First, because Katie Likes Shoes, and because they have become so ubiquitous, is TOMS Shoes.  Every time you buy a pair of TOMS they donate a pair to a child in need.

Next up we have the FEED Project.  For each FEED Bag or accessory sold FEED Projects is able to send money to feed children in school.  The first FEED Bag was the FEED 1 Bag.  The "1" indicated that with the purchase of the bag enough money is donated to feed one child a year's supply of school meals.

Much like TOMS, Warby Parker has a buy one give one program.  As a woman who wears corrective lenses unironically (far-sightedness is the new little black dress), Warby Parker is a dream.  At $95.00 for a pair of glasses they can't be beat, and for each pair bought they donate a pair to a person in need.

The war in the Congo has been the deadliest war since World War II.  After hearing the story of how children were sent to the front lines armed only with whistles to scare the enemy and failing that, draw the fire power to themselves, Sean Carasso, a volunteer with Invisible Children and the aforementioned TOMS shoes wrote a journal entry that caused such a passionate response, the Falling Whistle campaign was born.  The money raised from the whistles are given to NGOs in the Congo that work for peace and the whistle itself has become a symbol of peace and a way to promote awareness of the atrocities of the war.

And last we have a designer collaboration.  Nicole Miller recently partnered with Indego Africa.  Indego Africa offers fair trade accessories created by women in Africa.  Indego also provides "Hand Up Training" programs in business, computing and literacy.  The artisans are now making 4 times what they were before partnering with Indego.  Nicole Miller's partnership offers lovely textile bracelets made by a local co-op in Rwanda.

I think this must be what they mean when they say "feel good fashion."

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