Very often the fashion industry is compared to the wild west, where a few and the only most talented designers can survive and be successful. But once on top they have the power to influence and shape the future of this industry and also influence consumers. Having the power of influence, is not only used to make consumers look beautiful but some have used it to put forward their own personal conviction such as animal rights by using no animal products or ethical production standards by using no child labour in making their clothing. Others have taken it further by supporting campaigns, NGOs and/or have their own foundations to influence the causes that they strongly believe in.
We narrowed it down to five fashion designers who today show an amazing dedication through their foundations to support meaningful projects and are truly inspirational.
Kind Luxury’s top five designers that give back:
1. Donna Karan
With her motto „I have spend decades dressing and addressing”, Donna Karan creates, connects, and collaborates to raise awareness and inspire change through The Urban Zen Foundation in the areas of preservation of cultures, well-being, and education.
To help maintain culture’s natural essence and identity in the face of globalization the foundation creates sustainable programmes that assist communities in preserving their artistry and spiritual values. For health care the mission is not only treat the disease but to treat the patient by training health care professionals on eastern healing techniques that is added to western medicine to treat the patient holistically. This includes training members of the healthcare and yoga communities in the five core healing practices including yoga therapy, Reiki, essential oil therapy, nutrition and contemplative care. Having such an approach allows the foundation to address symptoms of pain, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, constipation (PANIC) and exhaustion. In education the focus is in collaborating with organisations focus on children to create yoga, art, nutrition and meditation programmes to empower mind, body and spirit. Along with projects globally, a strong focus by the foundation over the past years has been in Haiti.
2. Diane von Furstenberg
Just as she recognised the power of a simple wrap dress, style maven Diane von Furstenberg also understands the power of a single female voice. Von Furstenberg works with Vital Voices, an organisation that discovers influential women around the world and helps bring visibility to them so they can transition into potential leadership roles. The Vital Voices website describes the organisation as “the preeminent non-governmental organixation (NGO) that identifies, trains, and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the globe, enabling them to create a better world for us all.” During International Women’s Week, 10 percent of all DVF sales, both online and in-store, were donated to Vital Voices.
3. Ralph Lauren
The iconic fashion designer has been very generous and even founded the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation to support higher education and programmes which provide healthcare in medically-underserved communities.
In contrast to his present lifestyle, Ralph Lauren comes from a working-class background. Lauren is as generous as he is successful. In 1998, his company donated $13 million to the Smithsonian Institution to preserve the original American flag that inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner”. In 2001, in cooperation with Sloan-Kettering, he established the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care & Prevention in East Harlem, New York. Assisted by Polo Ralph Lauren designers, the interior of the Center features African-American and Latino art. Lauren also established Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC) in 1990, after his dear friend and fashion editor of the Washington Post, Nina Hyde, died of breast cancer.
4. Michael Kors
Before becoming an ambassador of the UN World Food Programme in 2012, Michael Kors has been a corporate partner to raise awareness and funding for those suffering from hunger and malnutrition in impoverished countries, through its Watch Hunger Stop campaign.
The Watch Hunger Stop campaign proceeds from the sale of the brand's popular watches have helped provide over 13 million meals to school-meal programmes in Cambodia, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Uganda.
5. Zac Pozen
Zac Posen doesn't take his wunderkind success for granted. At just 33, he is one of the most respected and coveted designers in fashion. He is also involved with multiple charities. Through DonorsChoose.org, he gives money to help local classrooms stay in stock with much-needed art supplies. He is also involved with TeachersCount, which works to create a permanent culture of teacher appreciation in the United States. Along with Oscar de la Renta, Posen supports New Yorkers For Children, which works to provide positive relationships for foster kids and create stable paths to adulthood.