The first Fashion Fights Povertyin 2005 was an amazing experiment in fashion, charity and (according to our first press clip) "slight chaos". Attempting to answer the following questions: a) "what is the role of the multi-billion dollar fashion industry in addressing global issues such as poverty, the environment and worker's empowerment?" and b) is it possible to be ethical about one's fashion choices without sacrificing style (to "do good while looking good" as it where). Having great passion for both fashion and fighting poverty, Michael Dumlao, Kadrieka Maiden and Sylvie Luanghy (each with deep experience in design, public relations and event planning) recruited friends and colleagues in fashion and entertainment to put together a fashion show in less than 6 weeks!
When over 200 people showed up at our first model call, and a steady stream of designers from around the DC area begans to express interest in our catwalk, we knew we had struck on an untapped opportunity for innovative charity concepts that challenged the notion of another "typical, stuffy" DC gala. Working with the United Nations Association and embedding the event as part of the 60th Anniversary of the UN, we were also provoking questions from both the fashion and philanthropic communities about what one had to do with the other. Our goal, therefore, was to prove our thesis: that fashion can, indeed, fight poverty.
Since that first year, FFP has grown leaps and bounds. In a few years, FFP has benefitted a number of non-profits (UNDP-USA, BeadforLife, Aid to Artisans, Nest, UNA-Miami, Dress for Success, and Conenant House to name a few) and showcased the work of well over 60 designers and artists (in many cases, debuting entire collections and fashion houses for the first time in the United States). Most importantly, we've been honored by the help and generosity of people and organizations that have become close colleagues and life-long friends.
With our talented volunteers, we've expanded our "concept" from fashion show to the "Dress Responsibly Lookbook," the Ethical Fashion Forum, and now the Fashion Swap. In 2009 we secured our non-profit status and began to develop our community programs. FFP continues to grow - and we do so because we believe whole heartedly in the role of creativity in fighting poverty.