How The Fashion Industry Is Helping The Philippines

Typhoon HaiyanPhoto: WENN

A few weeks ago, Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines, wreaking havoc on the city of Tacloban. The damage was extensive–The Wall Street Journal called it “one of the most ferocious tropical storms ever to make landfall”–and they reported that, as of the weekend, the death toll was 5,235 with 1,613 missing. Around the world, efforts have been made to organize and send support and funds; even the fashion industry is doing its part to contribute.

The Philippines isn’t that far removed from the center of the fashion industry–WWD reports, it’s a “key manufacturing area for apparel, innerwear, accessories and lace and embroideries.” Josie Natori–CEO of Natori Co.–has made large strides in galvanizing relief efforts. The designer, who is from the Philippines, is working closely with the Philippine fashion industry and the head of the Red Cross in the Philippines through an initiative you can learn more about on her website.

The Rockefeller Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Phillip Brothers International have all donated funds through Natori’s initiative. She told WWD, “It’s been a real humbling thing to see…the images on TV were horrendous.…But it’s really heartwarming to see how many people from around the world are helping relief efforts. Even the Japanese have brought in tents that look like hospitals with updated technology, and doctors are coming in from Europe, as well as local doctors from all over the Philippines.” But there’s still a long way to go until a full recovery is reached.

Others who have donated through Natori include major brands such as Macy’s Inc., Oscar de la Renta, Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillard’s Inc., Barneys New York, Nordstrom Inc., and the Neiman Marcus Group, among others. Outside of Natori, Ralph Lauren made a direct contribution to the American Red Cross on behalf of all of their employees, and plans to match each and every employee donation as well.

The efforts mentioned here are by no means conclusive but do provide a glance at the compassion and care the fashion industry can provide when called upon to do so. Though at times fashion can seem a bit ridiculous, it’s a billion dollar industry that can come together and make considerable charitable change when the time calls.

For more details on the fashion industry’s involvement in relief efforts, see here. And if you would like to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the American Red Cross is accepting donations here.

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