“Vanity Kills,” but it may save the world too. The upside to the down economy has been the growth of charitable companies, mostly of the fashion variety, that donate part of their profits to impoverished nations worldwide. Two companies immediately come to mind - Toms and Feed - but there are many others out there that are making the world a brighter place. Here’s a list of five fashion companies that are doing their part to change the world and showing us that vanity isn’t all that bad after all.
One hundred percent of the proceeds from this high-end jewelry line goes to charities chosen by you! Over 800 charities have been gifted with each buyer deciding where they’d like their money to go. With a BA from Harvard and an MBA from Columbia, Joan told herself at a young age that she would make enough money by the time she was fifty to help others in need. And her dream came true two years earlier than expected. Currently on the Board for FIT and with collections that have been shown at Paris Fall Fashion Week, Joan Horning Jewelry is making a difference one fashion statement at a time.
Three hometown snowboard buddies with big hearts started crocheting hats to keep their heads warm on the slopes. Realizing a demand for their crafts and wanting to mix in their passion to help others, the guys came together to create a company that helps people in need. After a trip to Uganda, their mission became clear – to teach and enlist people of Uganda and Peru to crochet pieces to sell and help sustain economic growth and well-being. Non-profit Krochet Kids International was born. Each piece is signed by the maker to show authenticity. The company has ballooned into men, women, and children’s clothing and accessories. That’s something to wrap your head around.
Started by high-school sweethearts, Eric and Leigh Fleet, Threads for Thought uses organic cotton and fibers constructed from recycled plastic bottles to create fashion lines that benefit various humanitarian groups globally. With celebrities such as Jamie Fox and Gavin Rossdale sporting their first line of tees, national retailer Urban Outfitters soon came calling. What once started as an idea for charity-charged graphic T-shirts has turned into full men and women collections and an overall lifestyle brand. Shirts to dresses, Threads for Thought continues to produce eco-friendly and people-friendly pieces.
Eyewear savants know this brand well. Named after two characters etched in Jack Kerouac’s personal journal (that’s deep), Warby Parker makes limited edition eye glasses and sunglasses for men and women. With their motto, “buy a pair, give a pair”, each purchase directly funds or gives a pair of glasses to people in developing countries. So far they’ve gifted half a million people in need with glasses, in over thirty-six countries. Another bonus to the brand – they ship you up to five pairs of glasses to try before you buy. Shipping is always free. Now we can see the light.
Supermodel, Goodwill Ambassador, and Ethiopian native, Liya Kebede started Lemlem as a means to help her country become more economically sustainable by encouraging the crafts of weavers and embroiders – the cultural cornerstones for the region in Africa. Handspun cotton and handsewn embroidery have been a part of Ethiopian culture since ancient times (think Queen of Sheba) and now the world gets a chance to experience the quality and beauty first hand through the women and children’s collections. Lemlem means “to bloom or flourish”. And they are doing just that.
If you know of a fashionable company giving back in big ways, please contact Miss A’s Fashion Editor Brandy Sebastian.