“Glamour and gravitas go hand in hand”, read a statement released by the Indian designer duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla for a fashion fundraiser earlier this year.
Fashion designers, celebrities, models, chefs, engineers, doctors, and many more are associating themselves with various organizations to help those in need. In the same way, some designers have done commendable work through the NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations) they are associated with by providing the audience with an awe-inspiring collection.
NGOs are keen on collaborating with designers as it gives them a huge platform to raise awareness about their cause and exposure to multifold opportunities in terms of donations and valuable connections.
In March 2017, designers Ashima and Leena pledged to donate 20% of their sales from their ready-to-wear collection La Vie En Rose to Savera Foundation, an organization dedicated to uplift Dalits and tribal men and women. Similarly, Anita Dongre, who has a successful fashion house called House of Anita Dongre, launched a craft-based clothing line called Grassroot in association with an NGO called SEWA that works with rural artisans. Payal Singhal formed an alliance with The Desai Foundation to support their cause of providing vocational programs to rural Indian women.
Maheka Mirpuri, who is a fashion designer, fitness enthusiast, philanthropist, and event planner, grabs any chance that she gets in helping those in need. She has helped raise funds for Mukti Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation. She has also run a marathon for autistic children and is actively involved in the Save the Tiger project. In addition to that, Maheka has also designed clothes for the Set Beautiful Free initiative, an NGO that helps the children of sex workers.
The much talked about fundraiser Mijwan Summer 2017 was organized by Shabana Azmi’s foundation Mijwan Welfare Society on March 5, 2017 where designer Manish Malhotra created a couture line using skills of artisans of rural India. This collection was celebrated by many superstars of Bollywood, thus supporting the foundation that strives to empower and educate girls of rural India.
In Feb 2017, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla showcased their collection The Golden Door at a fashion fundraiser organized by Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA). The designer duo created impeccable designs with stunningly traditional silhouettes, while parallely supporting a cause.
Fashion shows have been an instrument to collect funds that otherwise seemed impossible. Archana Kochhar, in association with Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, organized a fundraiser to fund surgeries of 100 less privileged children. Vikram Phadnis also designed an exclusive collection for Beti Foundation’s initiative called Be with Beti to support the girl child through education and support. This campaign turned out to be extremely successful and created a lot of buzz. Similarly, Sahachari Foundation organizes a fashion exhibition called Design One where burgeoning designers get to exhibit their collection and NGOs too, get to set up free stalls.
Every designer who is doing well wants to be associated with an NGO or a cause. NGOs have a lot to gain from the exposure and donations, but what makes a designer support a cause?
Reasons Why Designers Support A Cause:
Apart from doing the right thing by backing a cause, a designer gets a lot of exposure in terms of media attention. This exposure also helps build brand loyalty. Millennials today are more conscious about how charitable and sustainable a brand is. Joining hands with an NGO or participating in an initiative is a great way to show the causes a designer supports. This creates a positive image not only for the designer but also for the overall brand.
Limited collections created for a charity show lend the collection its uniqueness. Loyal customers love to buy clothes from their favourite brand, especially when they know that their purchase will help a cause. Through such collaborations, both, the designer and the customer, get to give back to the society.
Fashion shows are a fun way to get together for a cause. But, are fashion shows the only way designers can raise awareness about the causes that are close to their hearts? There are other types of events one can do to raise funds:
Charity Resale Boutiques:
A charity resale boutique is a store that resells designer wear donated or worn by celebrities and socialites at a discounted rate. In April 2017, ELLE Carnival for a Cause was held at Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi to spread awareness about breast cancer by selling designer wear and accessories at a discounted price. Some of the designers who showed their support to the cause were Pallavi Mohan, Alpana and Neeraj, and Sahil Kochhar.
Some websites also hold auctions for designer wear. One such website that held an auction of clothes worn by the likes of Deepika Padukone is Labelcentric.com. Another such site is Xstok.com which held an auction of luxurious designer wear for a cause called Weaves of Gratitude. Scheduled from October 27 to October 31, 2017, funds from the auction went towards helping families of fallen soldiers in the Uri terror attack.
Fashion designers, especially in India, can help make a charity fashion show spectacular with their embellished couture-wear and quirky western wear. The world needs people who are willing to give back to the society. Hence, such collaborations work both ways where designers and brands do their bid to uplift the community and in turn, promote their title while NGOs receive a significant amount of traction to their agenda, all in good cause.
Inputs and Edits by : MILI DOSHI