It has long since ceased to be just an ivory tower of designers burning their creative energies out to reach absolute purity of shape. With time, fashion has grown ever more comfortable with its business side, but also become increasingly aware of its spin offs into the social – not only cultural and economic – realm. High fashion has become more human and more humanised. It employs ever more people and faces ever greater and more complex ethical issues. And it touches upon ever more wide ideas and conceptions on style and the world, while succeeding to focus into a more coherent global voice for good.
Tory Burch, designer and second youngest self made female billionaire in the US, greatly values the qualities of micro financing as a dream accomplishing tool, potential fulfilling mechanism and cornerstone of the economy with, moreover, real fundaments of sustainability.Tory Burch Foundation gives out loans from USD 500 up to 50 000 and enjoys the excellent successes of the over 100 endeavours financed so far. Beyond success, they have proven a return rate of over 90%.
Jessamyn Rodriguez created Hot Bread Kitchen – a social enterprise bakery where inexperienced chefs break in their skills over bread recipes from across the globe, while having a job with generous social effects. Jessi Walter from Taste Buds Kitchen has a children’s cooking school, Faizun Kamal brings, through sourceFK, Bangladesh artistry to the world, while sisters Stephanie and Noel Pietsch have come up with a mixed Mexican, Brazilian and Asian menu for their restaurant, Wahoo’s Fish Taco Hawaii.
A different approach to fashion social involvement is the one made full advantage of by Fashion 4 Development, in line with United Nation’s ambitious Millennium Development Goals. First ladies from countries around the world lobby for awareness and fundraising, while the fashion industry, as pointed out by Ray Chambers, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s special envoy for malaria, provides the latest and most efficient model of focusing the world’s attention on key-matters, but above all, an influential power to inspire.
Just as proved by Gucci’s huge humanitarian undertaking, Chime for Change, the world of fashion is fully aware of the intricate tools at its disposal and is continuously perfecting its ability to manage them as constructively as possible. Be it a matter of corporate social responsibility or of social leadership, it has and we still have a long way to go.