Fashion With A Cause

By Chelle Cordero

March 4, 2011 5 min read

This spring and summer, look for the return of classic '60s and '70s styles. Women's clothing will showcase curves and femininity. Men's suits will feature broad shoulders and a slim tailored look. Floral colors will be among some of the more popular color schemes this year, and so will a collection of shiny fabrics.

Keeping up with the height of fashion can be a lot of fun, but it also can be a wonderful opportunity to help others.

Rekha Krishnamurthi, the designer and founder of Divine dZigns, has made it her personal mission to "help better the lives of women, children and communities locally and globally by donating 10 percent of sales to various nonprofit organizations that support global entrepreneurship and provide individuals and groups the opportunity to develop skill sets and attain financial independence, which in turn will improve living standards and create a more sustainable future."

She has two collections, Divine Living and Home, which features a collection of made-to-order pillow covers, and Divine Clothing, a newly launched small collection of dresses. Divine dZigns supports many organizations, including Lighthouse International, the American Foundation for the Blind, The Seeing Eye, and Guide Dogs for the Blind. Krishnamurthi is also in negotiations with L.I.B. International, which reaches out to the impoverished villages of the world and improves the living conditions of the disadvantaged.

The fashion company Philanthropy also donates 10 percent of its sales to several projects. Two of its current campaigns are the Southern Sudan Project, which is turning a small village into a self-sustaining community, and the Hands and Feet Project, which is helping to provide a caring and loving environment for orphaned children in Haiti and other Third World countries.

Bold Girlz is a division of Bold Brands Inc. and is a new teen fashion and accessory brand. Bold Girlz donates 10 percent of its net proceeds from sales to nonprofits founded by girls that support causes for women and girls. Some of the causes it has supported include the Women's Sports Foundation, PROUDgirls, Girls Take Charge, R.Evoluci?n Latina, and One is Greater than None. Founded in 2010 by Cheryl Beck, "Bold Girlz strives to promote girls' talents, as well as their inner beauty -- and to give them fashion choices that show the world who they really are and what they stand for."

Various organizations host their own fundraising events using fashion as a draw.

Animal Samaritans SPCA holds an annual fashion show, "Men of the Desert," to raise funds. Ticket proceeds help provide veterinary care for the animals, spaying and neutering services, and air conditioning and heating. The fashion show features male models and pet canines.

The Wilfrid Laurier University Students' Union hosts an annual dance and fashion and modeling extravaganza, called "Fashion N' Motion," to raise charitable funds for St. Mary's General Hospital's Regional Cardiac Care Centre and other organizations.

Jewelry and other accessories are just as much a part of fashion as they are a means to benevolence. Artist David Yurman designed amethyst pendants in cooperation with London Jewelers to benefit the Lustgarten Foundation's fight against pancreatic cancer. The Open Hearts by Jane Seymour jewelry collection, exclusive to Kay Jewelers, helps to support the Open Hearts Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit charity established to raise funds to enrich the lives of children in the areas of health, arts, sports and education.

While you are making room for the latest fashions in your closets and dresser drawers, don't forget to recycle last year's outfits. Using the telephone book or contacting local nonprofit agencies will help you find charities that can use your hand-me-downs for compassionate purposes. Some charities, such as The Salvation Army, host stores where used clothing is sold and profits support their missions. Other charities will pass along your donated clothing, towels and linens where it will do good, for example, helping new moms clothe their children in donated baby clothes or helping women dress for success as they look for work.

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