A fashion brand supporting one charity is already admirable enough, but what about a brand that helps to fund raise for eight? It’s a charity and style dream-come-true, so we couldn’t resist chasing after a certain philanthropic designer when we heard she was visiting San Diego.
After over a decade of success with her mariechavez jewelry line—worn by the likes of Hollywood celebrities such as Julia Roberts and Anne Hathaway—founder and Creative Director Julie Chavez was ready to give back. The problem was that she found it too difficult to pick just one charity to support. So, she chose eight and founded Chavez for Charity.
With a family legacy steeped in the service of helping others, coupled with a strong desire to make a difference, Chavez selected charities that focused on separate—but equally important—humanitarian issues. Each is then represented by beaded bracelets of a specific color: yellow for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a foundation for childhood cancer, gold for the Fisher House program, which provides support for the military and their family members during times of medical need, black for Little Kids Rock, a program revitalizing music education in public schools, multi-color for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, an anti-hate advocacy for equality, tolerance and compassion, purple for Partners In Health, a movement for world-wide health equity and social justice, red for V-Day, a global organization fighting violence against women and girls, blue for Water.org, a nonprofit working to provide access to clean water and sanitation, and green for Whole Planet, a foundation established by Whole Foods to provide micro-financing for the self-employed poor.
The bracelets vary in both material and style. From vibrant coral beads to multi-faceted crystal, or dainty charms to clever color-play, their mesmerizing display results in what Chavez coins the Bracelet Bar. Hard to miss, the Bracelet Bar provides customers with a unique shopping experience and further engages them with the idea of giving back. A generous twenty-five percent of gross proceeds from a customer’s bracelet purchase goes toward the corresponding charity.
Featuring multiple Bracelet Bars, the designer meet-and-greet was hosted by Mixture, a contemporary home furnishings and accessories store in Little Italy. Crowds of women looking to accessorize for a good cause flocked to the posh and spacious, 1940’s warehouse, where designer Julie Chavez greeted them.
At first sight, Chavez was all smiles and exceptionally chic in a black and white ensemble. Her genuine enthusiasm radiated through everything, from taking pictures with fans, to untangling bracelets for customers, to even scooping up her little daughter for a quick hug. Energetic and friendly, the designer spoke candidly about her start in jewelry.
“It was never intended,” Chavez admitted, “I was actually a teacher!” A fateful first visit to a gem fair changed everything and Chavez found herself hooked soon after. It wasn’t long until she was selling her designs to friends and family and eventually she started mariechavez in 1999. Then late last year, she founded Chavez for Charity to raise awareness for and make a lasting impact on causes close to her heart. Tying in the idea of bracelets to represent each charity was natural.
“Everything lines up,” Chavez exclaimed, in-between helping customers stack on their wrist candy, “I love the way people stand [at the Bracelet Bar] and take their time, picking their colors for a cause that’s special to them.”
With wrists adorned by her own creations, we asked Chavez about the last piece she put on. “These turquoise skulls are so playful,” she said, looking down at her stack of bracelets, “I just threw it on!” Playful indeed, extremely on-trend and, since it’s blue, a conscious promotion for Water.org.
And now it’s your turn! Which color and cause will you choose?
Shop to support one of the eight causes or learn more about Chavez for Charity by clicking here.