Wicked Lovely Fashion: Getting To The Root Of It

Whether suffering from it on a personal level or having it affect family and friends, no one today is immune. Human nature, however, has not allowed us to simply stand on the sidelines or sweep it under the rug. People are rallying against suffering and groups of all types are popping up to help fight the fight against these diseases. Races for the cure, educational events, informational seminars and even carnival festivals are held to help guide people toward a better understanding and to help raise money for research and aid.

Well, fashion is no exception. As most know, October was breast cancer awareness month, and hordes of pink ribbons graced everything from shoes, hair accessories, jewelry and clothing. Wonderful items like the vibrant pink Susan G. Komen for the cure limited-edition Timberland boots (www.timberland.com), or the subtle and beautiful Miracle Bangle from Twisted Silver (www.twistedsilver.com) that features a simple pink bead and their signature street chic style, and of which 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Children’s Miracle Network.

But what about the other months, other illnesses, other causes? And is fashion merchandise a good way to show support?

Many see this type of product as a shameless ploy to make money. Even when the proceeds are donated, many consider it a gimmick and in some instances perhaps it is, but not all gimmicks are necessarily bad. Gimmicks are designed to get people to pay attention. Every successful commercial in the world has a great hook, so is it a bad thing if the items do what they were designed for?

Merchandise can be a way of showing pride and symbolism, and to comfort and raise awareness. Pieces like the apparel sold by Spectrum Designs (www.shopspectrum.org/), made in part by and in support of those living with autism, or the Awareness Bears by MyWalkGear.com, are designed to provide joy and positivity to kids in need. Many might wonder why you wouldn’t just donate money directly to a cause and while that is always a wonderful idea, it doesn’t have to be the only one.

Most of the products designed for these causes are about more than the donations. They are about awareness. The idea is to reach people in a different way and to get them to wonder enough to take the time to learn more. It is a way to start a conversation and give back at the same time.

Take the red nose, sold at participating Walgreens for “Red Nose Day” in support of eliminating child poverty. It would be nearly impossible not to wonder more about a person in a red nose, right?

An interesting tidbit to consider is that while most people have been touched by one or more of these tragedies, very few are truly educated about them. The average person knows only what is on the surface. Typically, they know more about their favorite TV show than Alzheimer’s or about what is on a McDonald’s hamburger over diabetes prevention. So the hope of companies that promote “cause” merchandise is that it will inspire people to want to learn more and to get involved. Especially since showing support can be the best way to overcome some tragedies, especially in avenues like disaster relief, poverty aid and ending illiteracy.

Bullying, depression and suicide are also major issues in today’s world. I was ecstatic to come across a company called Thunder Moon (thunder-moon.com/awareness/) who posts a positive thoughts and prayers list along with creating inspirational pieces and donating part of the proceeds. The company’s beautiful anti-bullying bracelet depicting blue leather and a simple “Hope” adornment is a personal favorite. Especially since sometimes that is all that is needed, a talisman for hope.

I have seen firsthand the effects of cruelty toward those that are different. I have witnessed my sweet autistic nephew struggle to make friends, with some shoving him out and shunning him because they didn’t understand him. I also have had the privilege of watching other kids stand up to the taunts and take him under their wing. Their laughter was the greatest sound in the world, and it made me realize that ignorance is truly the largest epidemic and that sometimes it takes more than just words to bring people together.

Recently, I was proud to attend the LOVELOUD Fest, an event held to support our youth in many ways, including acceptance, anti-bias and suicide prevention. It was an unprecedented event held in the most unlikely of places, and I was proud to be a part of it. The turnout was staggering and the sense of unity was infectious. Spurred on by loss close to home for the organizers, the T-shirts designed and sold for this event (loveloudfest.com) symbolize more than just a way to give back, they are meant as a way to move forward.

Like many, I have been touched by the loss of several family members and friends to cancer and suicide, been hurt by the harshness of bullying, and watched people close to me struggle with mental illnesses, physical and mental disabilities and ongoing pain. To me, these T-shirts, bracelets, wristbands, boots and more are all reminders that symbols have power. The power to educate, the power to inspire, and hopefully the power to change. I encourage readers to give back where and however they can and as we head into the holiday season, consider giving gifts that mean more, consider giving gifts that give back and stand out for a slightly different reason.

If all else fails, go with the red nose. Rudolph eat your heart out.

Source : http://www.heraldextra.com/momclick/beauty-and-fashion/wicked-lovely-fashion/wicked-lovely-fashion-gift-giving-for-a-cause/article_62453d12-b879-5a3c-bed1-8bd6c3fbcff4.html

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