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The fashion industry isn’t just filled with talented designers, but also designers who care about the communities around them. The same can be said for fashion lovers around the world; they are in tune with the latest social movements and are eager to participate in supporting good causes.
For many designers and fashion brands, their fame and success are instruments to use in promoting causes like sustainable fashion, women’s rights, and much more. They also have unique ways of conveying the key messages they want to get across.
Runway with a Cause
The runway is a fantastic way for fashion designers to raise awareness for causes they support. There have been many runway shows where causes like breast cancer awareness and support for local women became the highlight of the events.
Indian designers Shivan & Narresh, whose brand is one of the best-selling brands in India and other parts of Asia, launched a line of mastectomy blouses as a way to raise awareness for breast cancer. The line of blouses is also made available for free to underprivileged women who have had a mastectomy.
In another occasion, Women’s March co-chairs were invited to Mara Hoffman’s runway show in New York. The show featured Hoffman’s Fall 2017 collection, which was designed to convey one key message, “it’s not about the clothes the women were wearing, but about the women wearing the clothes.”
Another common way in which designers can support different causes is through the fashion pieces they produce. Sustainable fashion and eco-friendliness are the most popular causes supported by designers through their fashion lines.
The most popular example is Stella McCartney, who set up her entire luxury fashion brand around the concept of ethical and sustainable fashion. She is known for looking fashionable and stylish without sacrificing her moral or personal codes and beliefs.
As part of her main message, McCartney uses only sustainable materials, including organic cotton and recycled nylon. Her entire collection of beautiful fashion pieces is also skin- and fur-free as part of her support for animal rights. She even had a replacement material for wool developed, all while partnering with organizations like Fashion Positive and supporting their causes.
The Indie Fashion Scene
This type of support for a cause doesn’t just come from luxury designers and mainstream brands. Indie designers from around the world are also helping communities and important causes gain more awareness and complete their missions more effectively.
Accessories like custom prints and tees are not uncommon. Designers also hand out lapel pins, custom bracelets, and other accessories in support of different social movements. Accessories are particularly good for raising awareness, because they can be mixed and matched with different fashion pieces.
Other designers create custom products for a specific cause, usually in limited numbers, as a way to raise funds and awareness at the same time. We often see a line of black dresses, custom shoes, or off-shoot labels designed for a cause.
Social Media for Better Reach
To top it all off, there is a big shift among fashion designers towards using their social media accounts to promote the best causes. Many fashion designers and labels have millions of followers who will support the causes they promote, making social media an integral part of today’s best social movements and campaigns.
Kate Spade, for example, empowers women from around the world to help with their off-shoot label On Purpose. The move is then posted on social media to raise awareness for the challenges – personal and financial – faced by women around the world.
This shift, combined with the other actions we discussed in this article, means fashion designers – and the fashion industry as a whole – have more power in supporting movements and making a difference. Fashion and philanthropy will continue to be inseparable for years to come.