Charity : Style

Why Your Apparel Desperately Needs a Purpose In Life

According to an ancient North American legend, there once lived a man in Queens that made an astounding discovery about the known Cosmos.  Having postulated several theories of quantum physics and expounded upon Einstein's work by age 13, Kenneth Bixby was one of the greatest minds of his time.  All was splendid. Until one Tuesday morning, Kenneth was awakened suddenly as the result of a startling revelation.  As he rushed to his chalk board to check his calculations, he became undoubtedly sure of his discovery--He, in fact, was not the sole center of the universe!  More surprisingly...neither was anyone else!

Insatiably excited about the prospect of sharing his new found revelation with the world, Kenneth threw on his bathrobe and hurried down the stairs of his apartment building and out into the street.

Blinded by the glorious sunrise and its reflection off the billowing columns of industrial air pollution, Kenneth unfortunately failed to see the strategically placed orange cone.  He also failed to see the open man hole directly in front of his building.  

Kenneth, along with his realization that no one person is the center of the universe, tragically never reached the rest of the world.   
Colin Firth, Oxfam's "Dumped" Campaign
After a few World Wars and the invention of satellite television, most Americans can now at least begrudgingly admit the possibility that there is life in other parts of the world.  Of that population, however, very few have come to any sort of revelation that these theoretical, improbable life forms that exist on continents other the "Da US of A" have any bearing or real significance to their individual lives.  For those of us in the minority of the minority who understand that our brothers and sisters all around the world do impact our lives and desperately need our help, the audience to which we attempt to express our passionate resolve are more interested in saving half a year's salary to invest in the newest Gucci key chain than feed, clothe, and provide education for a starving African child for a year.

Fortunately, many grassroots campaigns of all religions and specialties have arisen in the last few years to bring both awareness and aid  to those in need around the world.  I am NOT, mind you, speaking of such superfluous, yet overly-funded causes such as "Save the Spotted Sea Owl" or "End Poaching of the Gangrenous-Speckled Hornet."  Rather, I wish to draw attention to those campaigns such as Oxfam (pictured in both above), and more importantly for this blog, apparel campaigns which seek to bring awareness and aid to those in need around our globe.  

Thus, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite designers and organizations that seek to affect the world for the better rather than just sell their products to brainless Sex in the City drones for prices that would dumbfound the CEO of an Arabian oil company.  This is charity style:

#1: The ONE Campaign
As one of the largest culminations of aid organizations in history and with a spokesman of none other than Bono himself (yes, I know, not pictured), has become perhaps the most recognizable aid campaign in the world.  As if that weren't enough, the ONE Campaign has a wicked cool arsenal of t-shirts, hoodies, and bracelets to help get the word out.  Hey, you were planning on being a billboard for Hollister why not step up your style a notch and actually have your apparel mean something.  Seriously, how many guys do you know that sport Africa on their chest?  Fight poverty.  Look blasted cool doing it.

#2: TOMS Shoes 
Without a doubt, these shoes have been the staple of my everyday wardrobe since I bought my first pair in the London airport 3 years ago.  The idea is incredible:  Buy a pair of shoes, and TOMS gives a pair to a child in need, One for One.  Since the company began, TOMS Shoes under the direction of Blake Mycoskie (it's a good name, what can I say) has given away thousands of pairs of shoes to kids in need all over the world.  Check out the video below for a glimpse of this company's life-changing story:
  But besides that, these shoes are some of the most comfortable things your feet will ever experience.  And if you've been keeping up with the modern gentlemanly spring trends, they're the perfect shoe to throw on with those slim-fit khakis and show some ankle in the warmer months ahead. 

#3: Join(RED)
If you're like me and require more than t-shirts and shoes to get you through the day, Join(Red) has revolutionized retail aid campaigns by partnering with dozens of companies and using portions of the profits to fund AIDS awareness and treatment in Africa and other parts of the world.  Apparel wise, Gap has produced some of the most stylish pieces to date, such as tees (pictured right)  and button-downs.  They also have a superior selection of scarves during the cooler months that are both soft, bold, and easily make the statement that your clothing can be about more than just yourself.  

Other Efforts to Look Into

While I would never suggest buying these products simply for the aesthetic value alone, I hope that by looking into some of these efforts, you and the people that notice your stylish statements really grow a heart for these issues and for the beautiful people around the globe they represent.  Give your wardrobe a shot of purpose, and be the gentleman that's out to change the world of style--and the world at large. 

Any campaigns or efforts I missed?


  1. Love ONE, but a little more hesitant about the others.