Gujarat based Fashion Labels Raising Funds for Covid-19 Relief

Gujarat based Fashion Labels Raising Funds for Covid-19 Relief

Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words “We must become the change we want to see” have taken the shape of a philanthropic movement kickstarted by the fashion labels in India in the wake of prevalent health crisis plaguing the country. Otherwise perceived as a superfluous domain by most business communities, fashion fraternity this time stood up to the heart wrenching medical crisis in India with firm determination. Social media influencers left aside their usual broadcast of fashion and lifestyle updates in order to amplify requests for beds, medicines and oxygen for all those who reached out to them while many others collated data to provide ready reckoners when in crisis. 

Meanwhile, few fashion labels came forward to pledge a part of their sales, complete sales or part of their profits for a limited period to create fund-raisers. This corpus was built to help NGO’s get more money to help lesser privileged.  Advaeita Mathur, from Studio Metallurgy, an accessory label known for its artistic value, started this movement on 25th April by pledging 100% of her sales proceeds to Hemkunt Foundation for free oxygen cylinder drive and MCKS Food for Hungry Foundation for providing free meals to underprivileged affected by Covid 19. By 1st May, her Instagram gave an updated figure of having raised Rs 2 lacs via this fundraiser and the entire proceeds were donated to the charities as pledged for. 

Olio Stories, another statement accessory label helmed by Aashna Singh and Sneha Saksena, did a similar fundraiser pledging 100% of their sales proceeds to selected NGOs. What started as a humble target of Rs. 2 lacs within 3 days snowballed in an astronomical figure of Rs 12.5 lacs with patrons buying from far and wide to support the cause. The donations were made to Hemkunt Foundation, Enrich Lives Foundation, Khanna Chahiye, Mission Oxygen and MCKS Food. 

These two Fashion accessory labels inspired many other small businesses to join the movement and pledge either full sales, part of their sales, full profits or part of their profits to pre-identified NGO’s that would help those in need. 

From the land of Gandhi where philanthropy is in the blood of most people, many upcoming designers stepped up to help others through fundraiser. This despite the fact that these are still small businesses where every hard-earned penny matters. The community is standing up for humanity while owning up their business fronts to be fair to their artisans as well. 

Silver choker

Aarjavee Shah, Founder Designer – Aarjavee, a fashion and accessory label from Ahmedabad, announced a Fundraiser for six days in which 100% of their profits will be donated to Give India. Talking about what prompted her to step up and announce a fundraiser despite the fact that they are a very young label, Aarjavee comments “A few day ago, I had inquired about oxygen cylinder rates for a friend and I learnt that it costed in the upwards of Rs.45000. In a friendly interaction with my artisan the next day about how health insurances are important and how much a cylinder costs, the lady replied that in such cases, she might not survive as she won’t be able to afford such high-priced medical support. It hit hard and made me do what I am doing now.  I am just acknowledging my privilege and doing my bit like everyone else.” 

Sahiba Arora Couture
Sahiba Arora Couture

Sahiba Arora, a Fashion Stylist and Founder Designer – Sahiba Arora Couture, from Ahmedabad has been an active part of the volunteer group that was formed to amplify distress calls and connect people to right sources for hospitals, beds, medicines and oxygen. Her Instagram feed that is otherwise a visual delight of designer wear styles was replaced by humanitarian efforts of connecting people. In a bid to raise money for charity, her eponymous label Sahiba Arora Couture pledged 30% of sales proceeds to be given to Hemkunt Foundation. “We have been supporting our team and their families for medicinal aids but we also felt the need to reach out to more people, if we could. Hence, we announced this pledge and we have been quite happy with the way our patrons are supporting us and many others in this noble cause. We announced the sale for the weekend but will be extending it for 2-3 more days looking at the fabulous response to get more funds” shares Sahiba as she explains about the response received for her pledge. 

Last year lockdown has been a testament to the fact that people who actually make our clothes, jewellery and footwear need our help first and foremost. The plight of artisans, weavers and craftsmen isn’t unknown to the fashion fraternity. This time while their work might not be as affected since there is not a complete lockdown and business is going on as usual, even if slow, what might be a matter of concern would be access to resources for medical help for them. 

Chambray & Co
Chambray & Co

Esha Agarwal, Co-founder Chambray & Co., a sustainable label from Ahmedabad, has pledged 100% of their profits for one week to Hemkunt Foundation to procure oxygen cylinders. Known for her ethical work and mindful approach towards her business and entire ecosystem, this pledge doesn’t come as a surprise.  Talking about what kind of response is she expecting, Esha gave the real picture as she shared, “Getting people to shop right now is not the easiest thing. People are not in the mood to shop while they are struggling with medical crisis. But we intend to put this out for all those patrons who wish to make a difference in these trying times. The intent is to be useful in whatever little way we can and support all our stakeholders including the team, artisans and our customers”

While brands like Olio and Studio Metallurgy did raise big funds, what matters eventually is the intent with which the brand intends to use the money generated through sales. It may or may not culminate in huge numbers and that is normal because consumer sentiment isn’t very conducive for shopping in the current times. 

If you Slow from Surat, Pooja & Keyur, Hyperbole, Sagaa by Vanita, Manmaaya, Hairdrama Company and Asa are few of the other brands from Gujarat that have pledged either a part of their sales or profits to charities in order to help in Covid-19 relief work. 

Ravina Parikh, Founder & Designer – 7th Avenue Jewellery, had been mulling over the launch of her latest collection of multipurpose chains. The chains can be used as mask chain or sunglass chain or simply as a statement chain.  In the wake of this grim situation around and with personal connects in Mission Oxygen India, she felt she could make a difference by linking sales of this new collection with a verified charity that is working towards Covid 19 relief in importing oxygen concentrators and donating them to hospitals. Titled as “Chains for a Cause”, 7th Avenue Jewellery has pledged 100% of their profits from the sales of these chains to Mission Oxygen India and Hemkunt Foundation. Commenting on the response to the pledge in terms of sales, Ravina shares “It has been a great response till now. It’s not even one full day yet. Besides these chains, priced at Rs.1800, are a great gifting option for Mother’s Day too. I am expecting more response in the coming days”. 

7th Avenue Jewellery
7th Avenue Jewellery

As the young designers are joining the philanthropic movement in the fraternity, it becomes imperative to note that brands with a conscious and purpose will be leading the way in coming years. The key question that will differentiate brands will be, beyond selling the products, what more can a brand offer? Will it stand up for its people and community when need be? Is there a humane side to doing a business?

If nothing more, the fashion fraternity is definitely leading its way out from mere superfluous territories and walking towards ethics and humanity. 

Falguni Patel

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