The fashion industry’s most precious possession is its air of luxury and exclusivity. They can give us new trends, fill our Instagram feeds with enviable photos, but we’re never truly apart of their world. What isn’t being reported on enough are the projects and platforms models take on, bridging the gap between fashion and activism.
Many of the models making waves today come from countries facing serious unrest. Even those that may not come from such tough backgrounds are doing what they can to help. Here are just some of the models doing this incredible work.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Naomi gathered the fashion industry under the first Fashion for Relief show. This charity organization is still going strong, providing funding and assistance for victims of natural and other disasters.
She’s involved with the #Togetherband campaign which helps work towards sustainable development. With TO.org, she worked on their Shadowman Van initiative to help build a public bathroom and community center in Uganda out of recycled plastic bottles.
Along with Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, these supers support the Knot on My Planet, a charity working towards elephant preservation.
The Fashion for Relief organization is still going strong after their creation in 2005.
Adwoa has taken the fashion world by storm. While she may have a lucrative career, she’s also working towards breaking down the mental health stigma.
To do this, she created Gurls Talk– an online platform aimed to discuss issues such as mental health, sexuality, how it relates to race, and how to help a friend if they are going through certain situations.
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A few weeks ago we sat down with award winning singer songwriter Emeli Sande @emelisande ahead of the release of her new album Real Life and Candice Carty Williams @candicec_w author of bestselling novel Queenie to talk all things resilience, where they find their strength and inspiration, mental health, their experiences as women of colour and so much more! @gurlstalk, filming @bambi_paradise, @emelisande @candicec_w
Despite the name, it isn’t only for women. She’s held live events that feature mental health workshops and others on sexual assault from ‘the male perspective.’ All of this is aimed to feel as if you’re talking to your best friends. Adwoa has been very vocal about wanting to make sure everyone following Gurls Talk has someone they can relate to.
On the runway, she’s joined other activists to protest the Grenfell Tower fire in London that killed 72 people. Survivors and families of victims have still not been compensated.
Adwoa’s next move may be trying to get Gurls Talk, or at least their principles, in schools.
Tasha’s humanitarian work began in 1996 as she worked with Nelson Mandela in South Africa. She’s worked extensively with UNICEF and UNAIDS. In 2006 she founded AMOR. This organization’s goal is to help reduce mother mortality rate and help children across the world through health care and education. They have a heavy focus in Africa.
In 2009 AMOR opened its first maternity hospital in Kasese, Malawi. In 2014, its third maternity hospital was opened. Her organization has helped open schools, deliver medical equipment, and other medically related resources.
These aren’t the only models doing humanitarian work ‘behind the scenes’. Coco Rocha created a jewelry line back in 2011 that supports victims of human trafficking in Cambodia. Adriana Lima has worked at Paths of Light Orphanage in Salvador as well as donated winnings from a game show to fighting leukemia in an Istanbul hospital.
The work these models are doing deserve to be spotlighted. Not for praise or celebrity, but to bring awareness to these causes that we are far removed from. We’re blessed to be living in a developed country. If we can help, whether that means monetary donations, spreading the word about these organization doing hard work, or volunteering to help do that hard work, then we should absolutely be doing so.
Fashion and activism may still seem far removed from our situations, but it’s just one aspect of social change that needs attention. Not only from media but from those who are able to help in some way.
Image courtesy of Elle