Philanthropy in Fashion: 10 Causes to Know About

Photos: Patrick McMullan

Rachel Roy (left) and Tory Burch (right).

There are few things we love more than philanthropy. And fashion, it so happens, is full of wonderful people working to help raise awareness and funding for a variety of causes.

To highlight the good deeds of our industry, we're launching a Philanthropy in Fashion column, starting today. First up, an introduction to 10 fantastic causes and the brands and designers involved in them. After all, doing even just a little can make a big difference.


Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS is holding its 15th annual Dining by Design tour with five days of events, kicking off in New York on March 22 running through March 26. DIFFA is honoring Ralph Lauren's Alfredo Paredes this year, and the installation includes designs from Richard Chai, Jonathan Adler, Isabel and Ruben Toledo and more.

Jeffrey Fashion Cares

Established by Jeffrey Kalinsky, Jeffrey Fashion Cares raises awareness to the issues of people living with HIV/AIDS and members of the LGBTQ community. Jeffrey Fashion Cares has raised over $9 million for this cause, with over 90 percent of the money going directly to beneficiaries. This year, the event, held on March 26 in New York, will be chaired by actress and fashion muse Chloe Sevigny.

Rachel Roy

Designer Rachel Roy has made it her mission to use her reach as a designer to help people in need. Through her Heart of Haiti designs (in conjunction with Macy's), Roy helps create new opportunities and jobs for artists in Haiti. Her Kindness Is Always Fashionable clutch benefited OrphanAid Africa, a non-profit that supports orphans and children in Ghana.

Urban Zen

Donna Karan's Urban Zen foundation raises awareness on well-being, empowers children, and preserves cultures. To that end, they've worked with artisans in Haiti and to rebuild the country; they've helped pioneer integrated health programs combining Eastern and Western medicine. And they work with children's organizations to enhance spiritual, emotional, and physical growth.

CFDA Foundation

The CFDA is already a driving force in fashion, helping young designers develop their brands, but did you know they also promoted good health? The CFDA Foundation raises funds for various initiatives, including Fashion Targets Breast Cancer and the CFDA-Vogue Initiative, which raises money for organizations providing care, services, and advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Burberry Foundation

The Burberry Foundation is dedicated to helping young people realize their potential, helping them gain confidence, build connections, and reach new opportunities. The Foundation encourages employees to volunteer and work with charity partners to help achieve these goals.

Save the Garment Center

A cause near and dear to the fashion industry's heart, Save the Garment Center aims to promote and preserve New York as the fashion capital. In 1960, 95 percent of clothing sold in the U.S. was made in New York. Today, it's just 5 percent. That adds up to significant job losses as well as making it more difficult for younger designers to get started in the field. The organization strives to bring attention to the cause to preserve what's left of the Garment District.

Estee Lauder Breast Cancer Campaign

Estee Lauder has been at the forefront of Breast Cancer Awareness. The brand is celebrating its 19th year helping to fund research, prevention, and find a cure for a disease which millions of people (men and women) a year. BCA has partnered with retailers world-wide to raise funds for this very worthwhile cause.

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs teamed up with the NYU Cancer Institute to raise awareness of and benefit research for skin cancer. The designer created tees featuring nude celebrities with the slogan, "Protect the Skin You're In." All proceeds from the sales go to NYU.

Tory Burch Foundation

The Tory Burch Foundation strives to empower women by giving them access to financial tools and mentorship programs. The Foundation utilizes microfinance and works with microfinance organizations to encourage female entrepreneurs.