OP-ED: Using Fashion to Promote Global Issues
by ATFDC Contributor Kelsi Zimmerman
It started out as all companies wanting to “Go Green” on behalf saving the world from global warming. Then everyone wanted to wear pink for Breast Cancer Awareness, where proceeds from collections of pink items would go to the Susan G. Komen foundation. All aspects of the retail market were joining in. Whether it was the NFL Shop selling pink gear or purified drinking water brands claiming their packaging was the most eco-friendly containing the least plastic- the marketing tactic to persuade consumers that their company is the most in touch with the problems of the world to gain a competitive advantage is a craze being used by all sorts of retailers.
Now, the fashion industry, at the local and national levels, is really starting to take this marketing tactic and run with it, or should we say design with it. H&M alone has their “Conscious Collection”-a line whose garments’, season after season are made up of sustainable materials. The mass-market retail store also introduced their “Fashion Against AIDS” line, whose garments are inspired this season by tribal patterns. H&M partnered uop with international artists and illustrators to create a custom clothing collection to raise money and bring awareness to the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Other fashion retailers who have decided to join the support of global issues trend include, The GAP who carries the INSPI(RED) logo on various garments to raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, founded by humanitarian and U2 singer himself; Bono. Another popular example is footwear brand TOMs. With every purchase of a pair of TOM’S, a pair will be donated to a less fortunate child in Africa.
This movement within the fashion industry to support global issues is even being strongly implemented at the local fashion industry level. Washington, DC is home to the charitable organization Fashion Fights Poverty, whose mission is to alleviate poverty through trade, skill building and community empowerment through the fashion, textiles and design industries. FFP held their annual gala this past March, and will host a special night of shopping at Sheyla’s Boutique of Georgetown tomorrow, Jun.20.
A 21 year old Maryland Native and Senior Fashion Merchandising major at Stevenson University fashion has consumed Kelsi’s life from a young age and continues to as she travels to experience the fashion scenes from various cities across the world. Kelsi is thrilled to be back in the DMV and help bring to light the rising fashion scene right here in DC.