Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fashion with a Cause

Where is fashion today? It’s in absolutely everything…just think about it. There isn’t one thing that you don’t wear that doesn’t have some kind of fashion statement about it. Fashion isn’t just for the runway, or the red carpet, or a gala event. It’s mostly about who we are, what we represent, how we feel, who we want to be perceived as and it is a basic need. I haven’t professionally studied fashion but I’ve been aware of it all my life. Its funny when you look back over your past and especially the pictures, the changes you see evolve from year to year, event to event, going back as far as pre-school through college and beyond.

Many of us have the opportunity to enjoy fashion through special events, celebrations, major life milestones, accomplishments and other great reasons. Often a special dress, suit, outfit, shoes, or other is obtained for wearing or enjoying as part of the activity. What is great about these times is that you will have those special moments memorialized by pictures and you have the opportunity to reflect on yourself, your image and how you felt as a result of it. During these times, the conscience thought process of fashion and fashion influences may not be an obvious area to think about, but I beg to differ. It is not self-centered, or diva-ish or selfish even to consider how you look, want to look, and if you want to change anything. This goes for not only what you wear, but how you see yourself on the inside and out. There are many studies that state when a person feels good about themselves, they tend to walk taller and stronger and exude a confidence that is not always obvious otherwise. This comes out also in how they dress as well. This is why these events are considered special because you get to display through fashion how you feel .

Unfortunately not everyone can actually say they have these moments though or are able to really make a change because their choices may be limited due to circumstances beyond their control. This is difficult to talk about as these individuals may be affected by homelessness, domestic violence, other physical abuse, abandonment, or so many other scenarios that can be tragic or of similar misfortune. I think for most of us, we are absolutely blessed to be able to choose what we wear, buy the clothing we need, make the statements we do by what we wear and how we feel. Beyond this though, there is a great need by many organizations to help those individuals feel the way we feel by just having a new set of clothes to wear that fit them and make them feel good whether it be for a job interview, going to school, finding a place to live, or just being able to wear something newer than the hand me downs they have or the only the clothes they have had on their back since they got kicked out or lost their homes.

Several organizations exist that are designed to actually help individuals going through crisis get back on their feet and start to move forward again. Many of these organizations have been affected as a result of the economic downturn which in turn has challenged them in supporting those most in need. This has been a result of the demand and needs being so high. There are three organizations, that come to mind that collect and use clothing and dare I say fashionable ones to help individuals get situated so they can not only feel better about themselves but also so they can find employment, transitionally housing, training and more.

Family Promise AZ - Family Promise – Greater Phoenix is one of 159 Family Promise programs throughout the country temporarily meeting the needs of homeless families. Family Promise has affiliates in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Altogether there are more than 5,000 congregations and more than 120,000 volunteers who have assisted 140,000 guests since 1988. The parent organization’s website is found at Kimberly Noe is a great working contact for them if you need to find out more information.

IHELP - Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program - Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA) in partnership with more than 30 faith communities, service clubs and businesses provides homeless individuals with hope and opportunity for a better future by offering shelter, meals and connections to community services.

Fresh Start Women’s Foundation Resource - Fresh Start Women's Foundation is an Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping empower women through the services of the Jewell McFarland Lewis-Fresh Start Women's Resource Center. This Center, the first comprehensive self-help center for women in the country, opened in October 2002 and currently provides resources to more than 2,500 women a month.

Each of these organizations is open to donations and clothing especially as this year has proven to be a tough one and the needs are high. So if you are looking to make a difference, you can with your fashion help these causes. They are always looking for quality clothing that can be used to allocate to individuals and those in need especially where they can be used for bettering the individual’s situation. Today, take that opportunity to see if you can help these causes with your fashion!!!

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