Acknowledging the trend of socially conscious fashion, Mo?t Hennessy-Louis Vuitton Chairman Bernard Arnault hinted to the Wall Street Journal Magazine that his corporation may “invest in a fashion company with ecological and ethical goals founded by a global celebrity.”
Vogue hypothesized in a related article that Arnault was referring to Edun, the fashion line behind the ONE campaign’s T-shirts.
Those involved with the clothing label deny the claims, but Vogue said, “No matter how you do your fashion math, that adds up to Edun.”
Founded in part by Bono, the ONE campaign is, according to their Web site, “committed to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.” The revenue of the T-shirts, designed by Edun, go to fight “global disease and extreme poverty and bring fair trade and AIDS treatment to Lesotho, Africa,” Edun’s Web site said.
Other companies are also becoming more socially conscious.
The Gap’s Product Red collection include a variety of clothing types that contributes 50 percent of profits to “finance health and community support programs in Africa,” their Web site says. These programs include providing HIV medication in Swaziland, Rwanda and other countries.
TOMS is another company dedicated to an ethical cause. When you buy a pair of TOMS shoes, a child in need receives a pair as well. “Since its inception in May 2006, TOMS has given more than 10,000 pairs of shoes to children in Argentina and 50,000 pairs in South Africa,” their Web site said. Celebrities have come on board to help with the “TOMS drops.” Hanson, the ‘90s pop trio, joined forces with TOMS to bring awareness to a younger generation. Rugby by Ralph Lauren also has a TOMS shoe line that is targeted towards the youth market. They are designed to fit the Rugby style and like regular TOMS aid children in need. Larger department stores, like Nordstrom, also carry the shoe.
Through Match Rugby, half of the money you spend on a specific polo will fund social entrepreneurs. The fund is currently deciding which of six social organizations is going to receive $25,000. These organizations include two organized by former Teach for America alumni along with ones dedicated to low-income children.
A local non-profit, Fashion Fights Poverty, “rewards and recognizes designers and organizations who embrace the powerful potential of creativity and design to address issues of poverty by adhering to such principles as fair trade, equitable compensation and the use of environmentally-sustainable materials,” according to the non-profit’s Web site. They also promote responsible branding and more responsible ways to shop. “Project Runway” star Jack Mackenroth is one of the contributors. He is both an advocate for socially conscious fashion and HIV/AIDS awareness.
A prevailing aspect of the trend toward socially-conscious fashion is the prevailing interest of the youth and young adult market. To supplement this growing interest, Nate Berkopec, a freshman at New York University, founded The Factionists. Their business philosophy is to let consumers display their worldview on their clothing. Of the seven T-shirts designed for the collection, each focuses on a different world issue such as climate change and HIV/AIDS. Their clothing is also environmentally friendly. For every T-shirt sold, $1 will be donated to Global Goodness, a non-profit that builds literacy in Ghana, according to collegemogul.com.
This shift toward responsible fashion choices is proof that, as the Factionist philosophy states, “Style and substance are not mutually exclusive.”