In February 2014, students from the American Embassy School (AES) in New Delhi, India will be hosting their 2nd annual Fashion Show to raise funds for WORK + SHELTER, an Indian NGO that creates safe spaces across India where women in need can live and work.
Here two of the organisers, Selena Everitt and Zoe Schodder, tell us a little bit more about the event and how living and travelling overseas has inspired them to give back to their local community.
globetotting: Tell us about the AES Fashion Show
Benefits of Fashion: The Benefits of Fashion show is a charity event, which will take place on February 22nd 2014 in New Delhi, India. The show is run by AES students but is not considered a school event. The show was established by four seniors and will feature three collections designed and modeled by AES students, as well as other entertainment. All the proceeds from the show go to charity and this is the main goal of the show, to raise as much money for WORK + SHELTER as possible.
globetotting: What motivated you to organize the event?
Benefits of Fashion: This event was first organised last year by two AES students as a direct response to the Delhi gang rape that occurred in December 2012 and the subsequent death of the victim. The organisers were shocked by the story and owing to this tragic event became increasingly aware of rape occurring all over Delhi. They resolved to contribute to the fight against gender-based violence and decided to use their skills and interests to gain money for a charity devoted to this. The Benefits of Fashion show was created and, with the cooperation of around 30 high school students, US $10,000 was raised and donated to the NGO New Generation Trust.
globetotting: Where will the proceeds go this year and whom will they benefit?
Benefits of Fashion: This year we decided to donate to a new NGO in order to contribute to as many different aspects of the fight against gender based violence as possible. Therefore this year all proceeds will be donated to the NGO WORK + SHELTER. WORK + SHELTER focuses on empowering women by giving them a safe environment to work and develop critical life skills.
globetotting: How has living in India/abroad helped shape how you see your place in the world?
Benefits of Fashion: Living in Delhi has made us all more aware of the high levels of crime and gender-based violence within Delhi, India, and the world. It has helped us appreciate how lucky we are, as well as how many opportunities we have. In Benefits of Fashion, we can truly use that privilege to help others.
globetotting: How can people/contribute or donate?
Benefits of Fashion: Anyone who would like to donate to the Benefits of Fashion can go online and donate money.
- A $20 donation provides a week of paid on-the-job training for one woman in need.
- A $50 donation provides a three-day group sewing course.
- A $100 donation supports the purchase of a new hand-crank sewing machine, or partial purchase of a professional-grade machine.
globetotting: What tips would you give to other students looking to do something similar?
Benefits of Fashion: Plan as early as possible! Our event is in February, but we want all the clothes to be ready by December so we have enough time to organise catering, find accessories, hire hair stylists, rehearse etc. Also, never be shy to ask for help, you will need all you can get. All your friends, and your friend’s parents, and your friend’s parent’s friends have possible connections and acquaintances who could help you, and make your event successful. Be aware of this and don’t hesitate to ask anyone who could possibly contribute.
globetotting: Tell us a little bit more about yourselves and your roles in the event.
Selena Everitt: My role in this event is as a designer. I am working collaboratively with two other designers and we are creating a collection. It is also my responsibility to get and work with sponsors to get money for fabric or the show as a whole. The collection I am designing for is highly influenced by different cultures; this is shown in the fabric, construction of the pieces, and accessories. My designs are very colorful, with patterns. The men’s designs focus on patterned shirts and the women’s designs include accessories inspired by India and Indonesia.
Zoe Schodder: I am one of the nine student designers of the 2014 Benefits of Fashion, and am designing a collection together with two other students, one of whom is Selena. Our theme is cultural fusion; we are using many different, bright colours and patterns, especially ones that are Asian and Central American inspired. In my designs I am trying to combine aspects of European design (straight, simple cuts; one-colour pieces) with elements of Asian design (shades of pink and orange, typical of India; origami accessories; Bollywood prints etc.) which I feel have been greatly inspired by my trip to Japan in 2012, and my life in India. Below are scans of two of my designs, as well as a photo of Selena and me.
How You Can Help
If you are impressed with the efforts of these enterprising students and would like to support their fundraiser event, you can do one of the following:
They’ve raised US $700.00 to date and we need to help them reach their target of US $20,000.
Donate money online here:
You can also contact one of the fashion shows administrators at the following e-mail address:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help spread the word!
This won’t cost you a penny and will help Zoe, Selena & the team reach more donors and potential sponsors.
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More About WORK + SHELTER
WORK + SHELTER is a Delhi-based NGO established to create safe spaces across India where women in need can come to live and work. WORK + SHELTER encourages self-reliance amongst its female stakeholders while promoting hands-on training and capacity building. At WORK + SHELTER women are taught to use the skills they have or develop new ones, and contribute to the success of the organization by effectively filling their role within the larger production process. Apparel and accessories produced by the women are then sold to overseas markets.
Why Women? Why India?
According to the World Bank, India is home to nearly 1/3 of the global poor. In some Indian states as much as 70% of the population suffers from lack of access to health and education services and low living standards. Furthermore, women comprise 70% of the world’s poor (ILO).
Where your money will go
Money raised would be invested in better sewing equipment and training for the marginalized women at the Delhi shelter. They would also like to invest in establishing new shelters in the West Bengal area where poverty rates are high and margnialised women struggle to get fair wage jobs. Their dream is to house approximately 25 women in each shelter. Future goals include creating a second shelter in Kolkata.
Photo Credits – Designs by:
Ali Dominguez, Anja Durston, Claudia Masegosa, Anjana Sripal, Kulveen Sarna, Sam Rynearson, Johnny Evans.