American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other charities have organized numerous donation campaigns to supply the Japanese with food, blankets, clean water, and other necessities.
However, less traditional efforts include sales of Japan relief-themed graphic t-shirts. Many different companies and designers, including such high end labels as Tory Burch and Gryphony, have designed graphic tees specifically to raise funds and awareness for the relief effort in Japan. They range from about $15-$35, depending on the specific label. If you were looking to buy one, some suggestions are the $22 Hide and Seek tee and the $29 Tory Burch tee. Both companies are donating 100 percent of shirt proceeds to the American Red Cross.
This is not the first time the fashion industry has shown its social conscience. Many fashion designers and companies routinely release clothing whose proceeds are designated, at least in part, to charity. Take, for example, the Product Red line sold at stores such as Gap. This line includes graphic tees, jackets, and accessories, and has been sold alongside Gap merchandise since 2007. Half of all proceeds go directly to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The fashion industry supports causes around the globe by doing what it knows best: creating and selling clothes about it.
Other companies use fashion as a fund-raising tool (rather than the other way around). One example is the shoe company TOMS. For every pair of TOMS the customer buys, another pair is made and sent to a child in need. TOMS also uses its company's exposure to promote fundraising events such as A Day Without Shoes. This event's premise is to spend a day barefoot in order to appreciate what it is like to not have shoes at all. However, without the growing fashion trend towards TOMS, this social effort would have very little backing or exposure.
Whether a company is focused on charity work or fashion, clothing has proved to be an invaluable tool in raising money for people who need help.
Teen Board Member Rachel Scaffe is a junior at Augusta Christian Schools.