Moved by the rising death toll and the violence in Sudan, Mal Sirrah designer Malcolm Harris and model Lydia Hearst-Shaw organized a fundraiser for Darfur as the Fashion Week finale. Models, who worked for free, hit the runway in clothing and accessories donated by more than 70 designers.
Shoe-maker Steve Madden provided shoes, bags and clothes. Aveda provided hair and makeup.
So, how is this a fundraiser? Clothing and accessories featured in the show are being auctioned on eBay (www.ebay.com) to benefit the Save Darfur Coalition.
All of the profits are going to the coalition. The auction ends Thursday.
Designers used four colors, those often associated with Africa: red, yellow, green and black.
Among those contributing were Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Carmen Marc Valvo, Chado Ralph Rucci, Tracy Reese, Catherine Malandrino, Costume National, Heatherette, L.A.M.B., Rachel Roy and Nanette Lepore.
But still, I applaud Harris, Hearst (daughter of Patty), Madden, Aveda and all those involved.
Like George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey, they’re using their power and influence to shine a light on a very dark corner of our world.
A friend asked if I really thought buying a designer dress would make a difference in Darfur?
Yes, I truly do.
A dress, a T-shirt, a necklace, a pin, a scarf can send a signal of awareness.
If the message isn’t clear or universal, hopefully and ideally, the wearer can explain the crisis or the cause.
Back in the office, during a meeting Tuesday morning, I noticed that a male co-worker was wearing a yellow “Live Strong” rubber bracelet.
Since 2004, millions of those awareness bracelets have been sold at $1 to benefit Lance Armstrong’s foundation for cancer research.
That’s just one example of many.
The fashion industry as a whole has raised millions for the fight against AIDS/HIV, to help the 9-11 recovery, to benefit tsunami relief and to aid Hurricane Katrina survivors.
The money from DesignersForDarfur goes to a coalition leading the effort to help end the violence (www.savedarfur.org).
Since 2003, more than 400,000 Sudanese have died. More than 5 million people in the Sudan have been displaced and are struggling to survive.
If a dress or a wristband helps even one person — or inspires someone to come up with a workable solution, it’s worth it.