8 Fashion Designers on How They’re Giving Back
This Mother’s Day, it’s all about getting creative.
Mothers around the world have instilled a valuable lesson in all of us from a young age: the importance of giving back. Mother’s Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the unconditional love of a mother, is the chance to give back to our mothers what they have forever given to us. Though this year there will be a lack of extravagant brunches, and family traditions will be replaced with Zoom calls, carefully delivered florals, and handwritten notes, there is certainly no absence of appreciation for our mothers and the joie de vivre of Mother’s Day.
As the fashion industry has taken the past few weeks to pivot brand strategies and refocus company missions, their plans for Mother’s Day have also shifted. We’ve asked a few of our favorite fashion designers how they plan on spending Mother’s Day this year and unraveled a common thread woven amongst them, which is the significance of giving back while celebrating the inspiring women in their lives. For these designers, fashion is not just their brand DNA or creative outlet; it has become their voice during these times, and their vehicle to make a difference. As each of these designers have discovered unique approaches of expressing themselves this Mother’s Day, ultimately, deepening the community connection is what matters most. From exquisite digital bouquets to mommy-and-me face masks with a charitable initiative in mind, the below designers are getting creative when it comes to honoring mothers this year.
Jonathan Cohen, who happens to be quarantined with his mother, is feeling fortunate to be spending unique quality time with the woman that continually inspires him. A few weeks ago, Cohen launched Our Flower Shop with six digital floral arrangements, as well as a custom design offering, with the goal to spread positivity and joy to the community. For Mother’s Day, they are offering three new arrangements with 30 percent of the donations going to Futures Without Violence. “Our Flower Shop really came organically and out of need. Everyone is going through such a difficult moment right now, and it can really impact your mental health. Even as we transition into what will be the ‘new normal,’ we will have to come together to rebuild, and that also means emotionally. You can really feel how scared everyone is, and that is why we started Our Flower Shop. I started to just sketch some flowers to send to family and friends who I couldn’t see as a way of connecting with them and just sending them a little bit of love during such uncertain times. If I felt a friend was having a bad day or I just wanted to say thank-you, I started to send these digital bouquets. It was a simple gesture, which I quickly saw meant a lot to the person receiving it. We started discussing how great this idea could be for people outside our circle to regain that sense of community and connection while still maintaining distance. There is no anxiety or fear with deliveries—you can just send the card to the person you ordered it to through email or text and start a conversation to regain connection. It’s been really beautiful writing everyone’s messages on the cards and seeing that people just want to connect again. It’s amazing to me how, in such a dark time, there is always a lot of love and beauty. It’s also why we called it Our Flower Shop; we wanted it to feel like a community, even if it lives in the digital world. It’s also why we decided to choose various organizations that meant a lot to us, but that were also a part of our day-to-day community, such as The Bowery Mission, which is across the street from our studio, and A Common Thread, which helps the fashion community,” explains Cohen.
“The pandemic has forever changed the course of the world, and I think this is a time for re-evaluation and introspection, but it is also a time to celebrate our health and unity as a family. This year we will be making protective mommy-and-me face masks from recycled materials in our workshop in Barranquilla. These will be sold online, and all proceeds will go towards Every Mother Counts, a nonprofit founded by Christy Turlington that works towards making pregnancy and childbirth safe for women around the world. With our Mother’s Day initiative, we hope to inspire other designers to do the same, if they are able to do so. I think no effort is too small. As a brand, we have tried to allocate help and resources to every country we have a strong relationship with: Italy, the United States, Spain, and of course, Colombia. We chose Every Mother Counts because the organization caters to women worldwide. For over 10 years, we have been working with a remote indigenous community in the Guajira region of Colombia, in particular with the women there—many of them mothers themselves. We recently delivered face masks and groceries for them, and we continue to be in close communication with them in order to ensure their well-being. This Mother’s Day is looking out to be a little bittersweet, given the unprecedented global situation we all find ourselves in. I feel very fortunate to have both of my kids, Mauricio and Sofia, healthy and in Miami with me. My mother, who lives in the building next to ours, will also be able to join us, which I am very grateful for.”
“This Mother’s Day, we’ve photographed some of our special #humansofrixo community, from friends of the brand, such as Monikh Dale, to genuine customers with their families all wearing RIXO in their own way—from mothers and daughters to mothers with their newborns, as well as grandmothers with their grandchildren or all three generations of women together. We will be sharing this imagery with our community to celebrate the day. We photographed these before the outbreak of COVID-19; I think that’s what makes these images more poignant and also a lovely memory to cherish at this time for those who took part. The current climate really reminds us how important family and friends are, to always look after each other, and [to] celebrate special moments, like Mother’s Day, in whatever small or simple way we can. And that the happiness and health of our loved ones is paramount above everything else! To bring our community together and allow them to give back while they are shopping with us, not only are we donating 10 percent of our profits from rixo.co.uk to Age UK, but we also launched our ‘Stay at Home’ t-shirt, of which 50 percent profits will go to NHS Charities COVID-19 Urgent Appeal. In the coming weeks, we will be launching a pink version of the t-shirt, of which 50 percent profits will be donated to Carers Trust, as we want to continue to spread positivity through our community and help other important causes in need at this time.”
This Mother’s Day is an extra-special one for Jack Erwin designers Lane and Ariel, as they are both new parents, respectively. “We’re grateful to be able to spend the holiday safely at home with our families and new babies and want to make it easier for others less fortunate to do the same. This year we are donating 10 percent of net sales to Food Bank for New York, an organization that provides food to those in need. Food Bank for New York—and organizations with similar missions—are critical each and every day, but are especially top of mind during the holidays, when families often gather around a shared meal. We also will be having a Mother’s Day sale, which entails 15 percent off sitewide with code: JE15.”
“As a brand, it’s so important for me to help the women who help create my pieces. Many of our garments are hand-produced by mothers, and we like to celebrate our artisans on this special day, too. Thankfully, our Indonesian artisans already work from home in their remote villages, which is no different to pre-COVID-19. The autonomy our artisans have enables them to better care for their families and provides freedom for mothers to schedule time to look after their children. This Mother’s Day, we are proud to be partnering with the not-for-profit organization Bumi Sehat. This organization runs three community health, education, and childbirth centers across Bali, Indonesia, with a mission to offer pre- and postnatal care and holistic healthcare. We will be donating 100 percent of proceeds from Mother’s Day sales to Bumi Sehat. In developing countries like Indonesia, access to safe healthcare and child birthing centers for local women is already difficult. Add in a global pandemic, and the already limited resources of these centers is completely depleted. Now more than ever, it’s important for She Made Me to do everything it can to protect the health of our artisans, their families, and their communities.”
“For me, Mother’s Day is a time of reflection and gratitude. Yes, circumstances are challenging for everyone at the moment, and there are so many women out there facing unprecedented obstacles—whether it be women on the frontlines, in isolation, or those experiencing heart-wrenching loss. While many of us can’t physically be with our mothers this year, we want to create a space for people to share stories of the women who inspire them, so we can honor their spirits together. Yes, I’m a designer and we make clothing, but for me, and for us as a brand, it’s much more than that. Design has been a way to tap into people’s lives and stories...their dreams, aspirations, and hopes. Through the years, our work has brought us into the hearts of many towns, communities, and cities through visits with our stores, buyers, and boutique owners. But, above all (and a personal favorite), our work has connected us with our amazing clients. It has been a privilege to learn, in an intimate way, about their lives, their work, their struggles and concerns, and best of all, their dreams. To reflect their values has been a way for us to form a community, and I think the most important thing we can do right now is create connections with one another so everyone feels a little less alone. For Mother’s Day, we’re asking our team and our social media community to submit images and stories of those cherished memories and especially humorous moments, as we want to use our platform to spread a little joy and warmth.
“Additionally, through our site, we are continuing our charitable initiatives. With our Rosie Assoulin collection, we are donating to a charity of each client’s choice, and with By Any Other Name, we are donating to Good+—a foundation that provides low-income families and frontline workers with food, personal hygiene items, diapers, and more—and Fuel the Fight, an organization that purchases food from small and local restaurants and delivers to frontline workers in hospitals. Everyone has a part in this, and we can all find ways—big and small—to contribute. [It’s] good to feel your contribution is purposeful and meaningful.”
“Since Gaia is the goddess of Mother Earth, it’s a special day for us as a brand. This year we’re partnering with brands we admire to provide moms a little extra love for the holiday. We are launching an exciting charitable campaign and are looking forward to highlighting the incredible women in our [lives]. I’m constantly inspired by women in my life—they are the backbone of the brand—so these campaigns mean a lot to me and will be a constant in the Cult Gaia world,” explains Hekmat. The brand also recently launched #CultGaiaLetsDance, which they will continue into Mother’s Day, encouraging mothers to dance with their children. “The inspiration behind our #CultGaiaLetsDance initiative, which donates $25 to No Kid Hungry for every video with the hashtag that occurred throughout the month of April, was actually my mom! While growing up, anytime we were feeling down, we would start dancing together—I cherish these memories and wanted to replicate this joy with our community. The overwhelming response we received from our customers and network surrounding #CultGaiaLetsDance has been incredible. Cult Gaia aims to lift spirits in their styles that are made to move. Collectively, we’ve donated over 250,000 meals to No Kid Hungry, which has ignited us to keep giving back.”
Let’s not forget the dog moms celebrating the holiday. “In times like this, there are certain things that make getting through the day that much easier, and one of those things is our pets. Our little friends love us unconditionally and bring us that extra ounce of irreplaceable joy. How many times have we glanced over at our pets and it has brought a much-needed smile to our face? To celebrate our furry extended families, and in honor of Mother’s Day, we are offering a hand-painted portrait of your pet on select classic handbags or sweatshirts, and 10 percent of proceeds will benefit Muddy Paws Rescue. Either to wear or simply stare at all day, we hope this will bring you or someone you love a lot of joy.”
Want more stories like this?