Fashion’s Social Consciousness

To add to the discussion in previous posts regarding the emergent social consciousness of the fashion industry in this post-September 11th moment, I wanted to mention these three events. While cynics have sneered about Designers for Darfur that “Like AIDS before it, Darfur as become the shibboleth one clueless celebrity whispers to another to assure themselves that they aren’t shallow and callous,” I’m abstaining from any judgment. Whatever the intention is, if there is a real political and material effect, I applaud these efforts. So far, though, there’s no report (that I can find) on how much money was raised and to what use it has been put. I’ll keep looking . . .

Designers for Darfur, a fashion show and auction created by Malcolm Harris, designer of Mal Sirrah Inc. and model Lydia Hearst and sponsored by Steve Madden raises awareness and funds that will end the genocide in Darfur, a small region in Sudan where 400,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have been displaced by the Sudanese government in an attempt to quash rebel groups like the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) that are challenging decades of governmental neglect and oppression. All of the clothing created for the event on February 9, 2007 featured Africa’s colors: red, green, black, and yellow.

Fashion for Relief is a fashion show and auction created by super model Naomi Campbell. Proceeds from ticket sales and the auction will be donated to Americares for the purpose of aiding the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The fashion show, which closed New York Fall Fashion Week 2007 on September 16 featured celebrities on the catwalk wearing two looks by top designers like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Zac Posen, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, and Donna Karan.

Closing London Fall Fashion Week 2007 on September 22, Campbell’s Fashion for Relief raised money for the Rotary Flood Disaster Appeal that will assist English communities affected by this summer’s floods, damages which are estimated to be 3 billion pounds ($6.1 billion).

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