Style File: Clothing for a cause

Gemma McFarland

It’s the season of giving. But as holiday wish lists begin to grow and trips to the mall become more frequent, it’s easy to forget about the less fortunate. Worthy causes should not be disregarded, especially during this time of year.

But who’s got the time? For those who are lucky enough to celebrate, it is important to acknowledge those with hindered holidays.

But when retail rabbles have completely taken over, is it possible to give and receive at the same time? Fortunately for the fashionista it is.

“(RED),” an initiative striving to raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is teaming up with iconic brands and creating desirable products. It’s simple, when the consumer purchases a product that is sponsored by (RED), a portion of the profit is donated to the Global Fund.

Participating brands include Motorola, American Express, Apple and Emporio Armani. Gap offers a line of limited edition clothing and accessories that donate 50 percent of its profits to the Global Fund. T-shirts, hoodies, hats and tote bags, to name a few, detailed with (RED) phrases and words such as “INSPI(RED),” and “BO(RED)” are both sharp and enlightening.

Converse is also a supporter, offering Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers in a variety of colors that support the (RED) project. Consumers can purchase these sneakers at Gap stores, or design their own online at

It’s cool to be kind and designers like Ralph Lauren are following the trend as well. Polo Ralph Lauren’s, “Pink Pony” campaign is a philanthropy project for the fight against breast cancer. Ralph Lauren successfully combines preppyness and patronage, as 10 percent of proceeds from Pink Pony products benefit the Pink Pony Fund. The attire for both men and women varies from t-shirts to polo shirts to hoodies and tote bags, all incorporating the “polo” horse and the color pink.

Also, like Converse, customers have the option of creating their own “Pink Pony Classic-Fit Polo.” More information can be found on the Ralph Lauren Web site.

For the more globally concerned shopper, “Threads 4 Thought” is a clothing brand that produces apparel with a worldly message. The company donates a portion of their proceeds to charities that focus on three main causes: Africa, peace and the environment. Some select styles, for men and women, include t-shirts with phrases like “Support your local farmers market!” And, of course, the attire is made from 100 percent organic and eco-friendly fabrics. To shop online visit, where the products are benevolent and trendy to boot.

Whether it is a gift for someone else, or a little self indulgence during the holidays, clothing that contributes to a cause can transform any average shopper into a philanthropist. With t-shirts, polos, tote bags, sneakers and hoodies, it’s now possible to dress from head to toe in meaningful attire. The goal of being both charitable and chic has never been more attainable. Who says all shoppers have to be shallow?