“Raise money through fashion?” you say. Surely that doesn’t work? After all, fashion is about spending money on yourself, whereas charity is giving money to a good cause. Opposite ends of the spending spectrum. But you might be surprised at quite how connected the worlds of fashion and charity actually are. As Fashion Week 2018 ends, we investigate how fashion and philanthropy can be the perfect combination. Plus, we’ve got 5 big ideas for turning sartorial style into fabulous fundraising opportunities for your cause.
How fashion and fundraising go together:
It begins right at the heart of fashion design, with several of the leading designers supporting various causes close to their hearts. Gucci’s support of UNICEF, and Ferragamo’s regular auctions of celebrity-signed handbags for Global Giving are just two of the big name fashion design partnerships with major charities. Retailers too are showing off a sense of community, with ASOS, Top Shop and H&M all showcasing charity designs with a percentage of profits going to causes they support. And then there are ethically produced clothing ranges that support communities establishing themselves in disadvantaged parts of the world.
So the worlds of fashion and philanthropy aren’t so far apart after all, and you too can leverage that relationship to raise money for your charity. Here are 5 great ways you can use fashion on a local level to fundraise for your cause:
1. Host a catwalk show:
- For last year’s Fashion Week children’s charity Barnardo’s partnered with Charity Fashion Live to recreate the catwalk looks using only items bought from charity shops. Even though Fashion Week is over, this could still be the basis for a fun fundraising event. Challenge your style gurus to come up with this year’s replica outfits, then hold a fashion event of your own, with guests bidding to win outfits, or donating to guess the overall cost of each look. You could boost fundraising by selling drinks and food for a party atmosphere, and even ask local retailers if they’d like to have a stall at the event, and donate some of their profits to the cause.
- For schools and other children’s organisations, a popular event is Kids on the Catwalk; children get to model clothes during their own catwalk show with parents buying tickets to watch their budding supermodels! Organisers often give a percentage of outfit sales to your cause, and you can also serve refreshments to raise more on the night. Search the Internet for a service in your area.
2. Create your own fashion label:
- It may sound like a stretch, but if someone in your community has a creative streak, it’s entirely possible to create a product to sell, with proceeds going to charity. Whether it’s simple jewellery, the very current slogan-tee, or homemade knits, there’s lots of inspiration to get you started. We love the FMLY Store’s ethos of creating an income, as well as a multi-stream charity funding from their business.
- If your fashion passion is about changing the world through ethical production, you could even create a business which supports marginal communities, like this clothing range from Mutha.Hood, which uses only sustainable materials and fairly paid workers, and is climate neutral.
3. Make and sell for charity:
If your supporters are crafty, why not create your own product to sell at gift fairs and online? There’s a real interest in custom made clothing and accessories in the fashion world right now, so if you can produce a quality handmade item, you could establish a regular income stream for your cause. Hold a one-off sale, or set up a website for online sales. Here are some ideas (see our Christmas guide for seasonal makes):
- Hand-sewn items – tote bags, hats and simple clothes, or home design accessories like quilting, cushions, bunting etc. You’ll find lots more ideas for things to sew at craftsy.com
- Knitted or crocheted baby clothing and blankets
- Winter hats and scarves
- Beautiful children’s outfits
4. Fashion Challenges:
Mount your own fashion challenge like this one from Knickers Model’s Own. Caroline started raising money for Cancer Research UK by dressing herself in charity–shop clothing for an entire year, posting her outfits on social media and asking for donations to her Just Giving page. She ended the year with a book deal, having raised thousands of pounds for charity. Why not recreate her initiative for your cause?
5. Thrift sales
One of the easiest ways to stage a fashion fundraiser is to hold a bring-and-buy sale for your supporters. You could even put items together to style a look so that people are tempted to buy the whole outfit! Make it sociable and serve refreshments to raise more money from the event – you could even combine it with a bake sale!
We predict that the worlds of fashion and philanthropy are set to collide even more often in the future, with big initiatives like the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange gaining much acclaim. So now is the time to think about how you can make fashion work for your cause!
Let us know about your fundraising fashion adventures, and send pictures so we can share your work with the rest of our community here.