It’s not everyday you get to have an intimate breakfast on the sixth floor of Bloomingdale’s surrounded by racks of DKNY clothing, but that’s exactly how yesterday began. But despite pretty platters of pastries and all the shopping a girl could want, we were there on a serious note to discuss world hunger with our gracious host Lauren Bush Lauren of FEED.
FEED has partnered with DKNY on a small capsule range called The Survival Collection that keeps with FEED’s ‘measurable donation’ strategy. The range includes a diaper bag that provides a mother and child one year of micronutrient powder; a tote that provides 100 children with vitamin enriched emergency food, and rain boots that provide 25 children with emergency food. The items combine Lauren’s signature utilitarian look with DKNY’s urban, NYC edge and retail between $115 and $220.
Lauren was among the first to adopt the idea of social entrepreneurship in the fashion realm having launched FEED back in 2006 after growing frustrated with the old model of donation. “Throwing galas and asking for money just didn’t feel sustainable,” Lauren explains. “It was so frustrating because young people would always ask me what they can do, and I really wanted to engage them.” It was then that she had the idea of creating a product that gave back, and the signature FEED tote bags were born.
"Many of the people that I've seen and met throughout my travels live off less than a dollar a day. It’s hard to reconcile when we are surrounded by such luxury," Lauren says. It's true, world hunger can be such a daunting issue that it can often feel like it’s too big to do anything about. That’s exactly why Lauren’s model of building the donation into a consumer product works so well. It encourages people to get involved in a fun and tangible way.
Photos: Courtesy of FEED
“When you start doing the math with everything you buy, it’s overwhelming. It’s like, how many kids could I feed for the cost of this cup of coffee? Why not build that cost into a product?” says Lauren. “A lot of young women who might not have a lot of money for charity donations, but still like to shop from time to time and this gives them the perfect opportunity to give back.”
In a way, charity is the new luxury, and it’s recently become fashionable to show off a Tom’s tag or FEED logo. It gives people a story to tell and a sense of accomplishment. In fact, Tom's and FEED partnered a few months back creating a shoe that not only provides a new pair of shoes for a child in need, but also tackles world hunger by funding 12 school meals (it's still sold on the Tom's site).
Fashion and philanthropy is a collab that we hope continues to build momentum. Seeing gorgeous young fashionistas and actresses (like Olivia Wilde) use their influence for social awareness is inspiring. To date, FEED has donated over six million dollars and 60 million meals. Keep up the good work, Lauren!