We can talk about politics, healthcare, women’s rights, but literally every topic feels like opening a can of worms. What are we style blogger to do? Blissfully ignore and post half-baked trend reports and vacation selfies, or actually roll up our sleeves and use our skills for good? I challenge you to the latter. Not only that.
I expect you to join me. As a community of creative, artists and curators that appreciate beauty and self-expression, we need to be the biggest champions of diversity in these times of unrest. Because let’s be honest—without people of color, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and people with disabilities, our beloved fashion industry would be one boring place. Here’s the low-down.
Donate, Donate, Donate
With all the travel bans, deportation and midnight raids in the news, now is the time, more than ever to show financial support to important organizations such as The Southern Poverty Law Center, Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American Civil Liberties Union, International Rescue Committee, Planned Parenthood, and the National Disability Rights Network.
If you don’t have spare money, try donating just a small chunk of what you get out of your next sponsored campaign. And if that’s not an option, take a look at your stash of disposable products and freebies. You can donate essential clothes and gently worn business wear to the Ali Forney Center, committed to helping homeless LGBTQ youth, and household items to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. I guarantee you there’s lots in your wardrobe that can go a long way.
Advocate for Responsible Brands
As an influencer, you have been given the power and responsibility of by your audience audience, and like it or not, every time you link to a brand or product, you are supporting the ethics and business values of the company. Before agreeing to any glamorous content, investigate the supply chain of the brand and consider what it cost to make the pieces you’re being gifted. We all need to do a better job of aligning ourselves with sustainable, fair-trade & ethical brands as often as possible. And let’s just agree not to shop Zara?
Do a Google search for any local sustainable & ethical brand and do a complimentary blog post for them. It will go a long way and set an example for other influencers, and most importantly your whole audience.
Next time a PR person reaches out to you, ask them about the manufacturing process. Demand transparency and go out on a limb for something greater than your own blog. Everyone will appreciate it. And check out Fashion Revolution and their awesome #whomademyclothes campaign coming during the last week of April!
Volunteer Your Services
As a blogger, we all wear many hats and we’re constantly on the lookout for the next big trend or platform. If you’ve been meaning to go into freelance consulting, styling, social media management, photography or video, why not volunteer your services to a local non-profit. A lot of these organizations do amazing work, but don’t have the budget, time, knowledge or vanity to worry much about design and hashtags.
Luckily, we know the importance of good visuals and popularity. Why not help them out with a campaign or project by volunteering? They will really appreciate your artistic ideas, and you get in some portfolio work without the pressure of making it perfect for your blog.
Write About it, Duh
A lot of designers at this season’s fashion weeks made political statements with their work that resonated beyond the industry. It’s very powerful when artists use their platform to command change and affect the opinions of the public in one fell swoop. Why not channel that with a blog post about a cause dear to you?
I recently collaborated with a friend on a project to raise awareness for Black and Pink, an amazing organization that serves to help LGBTQ+ people in prisons through an arts newsletter, activism and a pen pal system. Last year, Tatiana von Furstenberg issued an open call for arts submissions by the prisoners and curated an exhibition in New York City to raise awareness about their plight in the prison system. When I first learned about the organization, I was so impressed that I knew I had to let more people know about it. My project is still in progress, but watch this space…
If you want some inspiration on how to blend your fashion content with activism and politics, look no further than the TeenVogue.com, led by Digital Editorial Director Philip Picardi. And don’t say your readers don’t want to see you get political. The 7.9 million US visitors on the Teen Vogue website last month don’t seem to mind.
And Finally… Be Supportive and Mindful
This is the easiest step to do, so it’s last. Being an ally to any of these organizations and causes can be confusing and non-intuitive. Remember to always be helpful, supportive and aware of what help they need.
You never want to hijack the conversation or come in with a big plan to help everyone. If you are not a member of the community, you sadly will not know what is appropriate, but your support is always appreciated. There are many ways to help your local community, just show up and ask what they need.