Now more than ever, fashion is being used to message a cause. Women attending the Golden Globe awards chose black designs, representing the #MeToo movement. Women and children wore pink pompom hats for the international Women's March, and the pantsuit continues to make a political statement.
On the evening of the State of the Union Address, First Lady Melania Trump made a dramatic entrance wearing a white pantsuit. Ironically, this is the same look worn by Hilary Clinton, Melania’s husband's rival, during the 2016 campaign. It has become widely accepted as a form of empowerment, and something of an anti-Trump uniform.
Since women lobbied for the vote less than 100 years ago, the fashion industry has been behind both social and economic philanthropy. Here are a few examples of Fashion foundations that are proactive in causes that effect society at large:
- Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS is holding its 15th annual Dining by Design tour with five days of events in New York. They are honoring Ralph Lauren, along with a host of new design talent this year.
- Jeffrey Fashion Cares raises awareness to the issues of people living with HIV/AIDS and members of the LGBTQ community. The organization has raised over $9 million for this cause. This year, the event will be chaired by actress and fashion muse Chloe Sevigny.
- Designer Rachel Roy has made it her mission to use designer contacts to help people in need. Through her Heart of Haiti designs (in conjunction with Macy's), Roy helps create new opportunities and jobs for artists in Haiti.
- Donna Karan's Urban Zen Foundation raises awareness on well-being, empowers children and preserves cultures. To that end, they've worked with artisans in Haiti to help rebuild the country.
- The CFDA Foundation raises funds for various initiatives, including Fashion Targets Breast Cancer and the CFDA-Vogue Initiative, which raises money for organizations providing care, services, and advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS.
- Cosmetic giant Estee Lauder has been at the forefront of Breast Cancer Awareness. The brand is celebrating its 19th year helping to fund research, prevention, and finding a cure for the disease, which afflicts millions of people annually.
- Designer Marc Jacobs teamed up with the NYU Cancer Institute to raise awareness of and benefit research for skin cancer. Jacobs designed nude t-shirts with the message, "Protect the Skin You're In." All proceeds from the sales go to NYU.
- 3Strands Shop, a for profit company, works with artisan groups to provide employment opportunities for survivors of sex trafficking and those at risk in communities around the world. 3Strands Shop markets, sells and distributes bracelets, bags, scarves and other accessories created by survivors with a powerful message of freedom.
- 3Strands was founded in 2011 and started with work in Cambodia, in partnership with Agape International Missions (AIM), an organization dedicated to prevention, rescue, restoration and reintegration initiatives. A portion of the profits from product sales are donated to AIM. 3Strands has expanded its work in Haiti, Nepal, Vietnam, India and Romania.
- Cambodia’s Sandalwood tree produces a colorless pod that dries up and falls to the ground. Inside each pod is a brilliant, glossy red seed, hidden unless it is freed from its shell. To the young people 3Strands support, the red seeds represent the beauty inside every survivor, and those waiting to be rescued. Every 3Strands Shop product features this red seed, with a red bead or red mark symbolizing the power of the seed.
- In Benicia, many businesses and individuals give back to the community through fundraising, benefit fashion shows, auctions and selling merchandise with a cause. We are all survivors who appreciate the beauty of the red seed and giving back. Wear your cause!