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Giving Compass' Take:
• Rachel Roy explains how Kindness is Always Fashionable combines design and philanthropy through a corporate social responsibility effort.
• How can funders support social enterprises and companies with philanthropic missions? Is CSR an avenue to achieve your philanthropic goals?
• Read about five elements for corporate social responsibility.
When heavy flooding ravaged parts of Pakistan in 2010, destroying communities and leaving thousands of citizens homeless and displaced, designer Rachel Roy decided she wanted to do something about it.
Until then, Roy, who had been running her eponymous fashion line for six years at that point, hadn’t put much thought to philanthropy. After bringing the idea for a social enterprise program to her team, together they built Kindness is Always Fashionable, the brand’s charitable arm that sells products from women in developing countries around the world and donates portions of proceeds to nonprofit organizations.
Below are selected parts of an interview with Roy:
How did you bring the rest of your staff onboard to add a charitable arm to the company?
I went to my office and went to my executive team — which has always largely been women, we’re 95 percent female — and we brainstormed around what we could do. The idea of giving back shouldn’t make your business plan fall apart. The idea that I could make a product, and still benefit different natural disasters and devastations was something that really spoke to me.
Now that you’re working with the U.N., how do you hope to merge your own philanthropic efforts with a governmental entity?
I found that in speaking to different people that work at the U.N., the private sector is an asset to them. We don’t have the red tape that you have working for the government or working for an organization like the U.N. When companies like my own come in and focus the discussion on developing businesses through innovation and marketing across different markets, they find it’s a helpful way to accelerate the work they’re trying to achieve.
Read the full interview with Rachel Roy about philanthropy in fashion by Bethany Biron at Glossy Assets.