Without a doubt, there is stigma towards the arts—declaring them as cultivation for the spirit and taste, but otherwise useless. Of course, unlike politics which directly affects societal functions or the medical industry which saves lives, art doesn’t outright display the same sort of overarching impact. Yet at the same time, art and fashion are equally key components of our daily function. Because we wear clothes every day, with different styles for different occasions, we will always be involved with fashion, whether it be consciously or not. With so much of our money going towards fashion companies, wouldn’t it be even better if that money got us clothes, while also helping someone else out? Although not enough, there are a few fashion brands that create fashion for a cause, setting the ultimate fashion-forward trend of giving back.
Toms is a fashion brand that initially began as a charitable shoe company. Since they started, Toms promoted a one for one theme, pledging to donate one item for each product sold. Now, Toms has branched out in the products being sold, with sunglasses, boots, apparel, and bags, while still maintaining their one for one promise. Now, not only do they donate footwear, Toms also provides sight, water, safe birth and bullying prevention services to people in need. Toms was able to set a precedent as a company that sells internationally popular products, while helping those in need with their profits.
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘pay it forward,’ but not many of us know how to tangibly implement it into our lives. The Giving Keys is a fashion jewelry brand that labels themselves under the ‘pay it forward’ motto. They sell keys on necklaces, bracelets, earrings and keychains, and on each key, there is a word, such as strength, courage, and hope. With the ‘pay it forward’ mentality, the company promotes that each consumer eventually passes their jewelry on to someone who needs a reminder of the engraved word more than they do. The consumers embody the “giving keys” name the company has coined, as well as the company itself, who uses their profits to transition people out of homelessness. The Giving Keys offers jobs to homeless people and provides them with benefits, such as paid time-off for housing and education. By wearing a key, people will not only be reminded of the word engraved on it, but also reminded of the many people they have helped.
The best feeling about purchasing products that go towards charity is that when you are complimented on that bag or that necklace, you can proudly say, “This provided a year’s worth of meals for malnourished children.” With products from the company FEED, this can be accomplished. FEED is a fashion company that produces under fair-trade conditions and employs many artisans. The main mission of their company; however, is to provide meals to people around the world. Each product sold provides either a number of school meals, micronutrients, mother-child nutrition, food aid in America, vitamin A, or emergency relief. By explicitly indicating what would be donated if you were to purchase each product, FEED is another great charitable company.
Pala Sunglasses has also developed a charitable business model to learn from. With each pair of sunglasses bought, the proceeds go towards funding vision centers and eye care projects in Africa. Those vision centers will in turn provide a pair of glasses to someone in need for each pair of sunglasses sold. The sunglasses exceed the aesthetics and style standards of most fashion brands and even the sunglass cases are made from a recycled material by weavers in Ghana. With this collection of charitable fashion brands in mind, perhaps you may find many of your fashion needs met, while also making a great impact on many lives across the globe.