A little retail therapy now and then never hurt anybody, but what if we told you that you could help others while you shop for yourself? When it comes to philanthropy, these fashion brands are at the top of the social change game so you can feel great about filling your closet with them.
By now you’ve probably heard of this one-for-one shoe brand that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need with every purchase of their shabby-chic, canvas slip-ons, wedges, sneakers and booties. But did you know that TOMS has ventured beyond footwear and into new product categories like eyewear, handbags and even coffee? And in true TOMS fashion, each of these new product lines benefits a different inspiring cause.
A TOMS Eyewear purchase can help restore an individual’s eyesight through sight-saving surgery, prescription glasses or additional medical treatment; buying coffee from TOMS Roasting Co. supports clean water systems in seven countries in the very same regions where they source their coffee beans; and purchasing TOMS Bags helps to provide training for skilled birth attendants and vital supplies to help women safely give birth.
Inspiration often comes from the most unlikely of places. In the case of The Giving Keys’ founder Caitlin Crosby, hers came from an old hotel room key. Realizing that humans can be like keys — unique, flawed, scarred, and sometimes discarded by others — she sought to give these keys new life as uber-cool jewelry with a mission. The purchase of each key, engraved with an inspiring word, helps to provide homeless people in Los Angeles with employment and a new sense of purpose. The company’s Pay It Forward initiative encourages customers to pass along their key if they come across someone they deem to be more in need of the love and encouragement that the key provides.
The Rialto Jean Project, founded by creative director Erin Feniger in 2008, sources rare, American-made vintage denim and hand paints each piece, giving customers a unique, fashion-forward experience. Proceeds from the Rialto Jean Project support innovative art therapy programs at children’s hospitals in Los Angeles and New York. Oprah wore a pair of RJP jeans on the April 2015 cover of O, The Oprah Magazine, and if that’s not reason enough to check out these funky jeans, we don’t know what is.
In need of a new tote bag to take you from your morning spin class to the grocery store to the carpool line? Look no further. Not only are FEED’s wide array of bags trendy and fashion-forward, you will never forget all the good you did for someone else while toting it around town. FEED’s mission is to fight world hunger in a tangible way, so each one of their bags is adorned with a number on it signifying the number of meals or micronutrient packets you provided to a child in need somewhere around the world.
DIFF Eyewear is the latest and greatest fashion line to follow the charitable one-for-one model. Perhaps you’ve seen them plastered on your Instagram feed, worn by reality TV stars from “The Bachelor” and “Real Housewives.” DIFF prides themselves on selling designer-quality sunglasses for a fraction of the cost by forgoing retail storefronts and traditional marketing tactics, instead relying on a small team of committed employees and using more nuanced social media marketing strategies. For every pair of DIFF sunglasses bought, the company donates one pair of reading glasses to Eyes on Africa, a nonprofit organization that provides eyeglasses at no cost to Africans in communities with no access to vision care.
There are few pieces in a woman’s wardrobe that can make her feel more empowered than a perfectly tailored blazer. With no formal fashion experience, a small budget and a newborn baby at home, Two Penny Blue founder Marie Whitney set out to create the ultimate collection of classic yet modern jackets, while also pursuing a strong social mission. For every Two Penny Blue jacket purchased, a school uniform is donated to a young girl in need in Africa so she can get the education she deserves.
Visit Two Penny Blue’s flagship store in Chicago to get fitted for your own blazer.
If you’ve never heard of Sevenly before, make a mental note to check them out ASAP. Widely recognized as one of the world’s leading “social good companies,” Sevenly gained traction through their seven-day campaigns, where they would create a product, get people to buy it and then donate $7 from every purchase to that week’s chosen cause. Sevenly now runs daily, weekly and even monthly campaigns selling cute and trendy graphic tees that benefit — go figure — seven main causes including autism awareness, education, social justice, the environment, cancer, international organizations and the military.
Have you ever looked down at the new blouse you just purchased and wondered where it came from? Who sewed it? What’s his or her story? Della is a socially responsible fashion brand, producing items ranging from dresses to purses to tech cases, that answers those questions and more. Woman-owned and woman-run, Della works directly with a community in West Africa to provide women with jobs, education and skills training to help empower them to lead more successful lives. Della offers their African employees literacy classes and money-management training and sets up recreational programs for working women and their young children. Della has 55 full- and part-time employees working in Africa, but they estimate that their presence and influence has impacted the lives of more than 200 men, women and children in the community.
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