Fashion Industry Reaches Out to Japan

Find out how the fashion industry is working together to help Japanese relief efforts

Japanese Prime Minister, Naota Khan, is calling the recent devastation the country’s “worst crisis since World War II.” In the days following the earthquake and tsunami, and now the ongoing nuclear crisis, in Japan, fashion and entertainment industry have been reaching out to fans and customers in support of relief efforts. Find out how you can help below.

Only hours after the earthquake hit, Lady Gaga took to her Twitter to encourage all of her “little monsters” to purchase a “Japan Prayer Bracelet” relief wristband from her official website. They’re only $5 and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to relief efforts. (In only four days, donations have already topped over $300,000.)

Jewellery designer Alexis Bittar will donate 100 per cent of all sales made on his website next week to the Catholic Relief Services for Japan. And on March 24, 100 percent of proceeds from retail sales at all of Bittar’s boutiques will be donated to relief efforts. This is not the jeweller’s first foray into philanthropy: Last year he raised $60,000 towards aid in Haiti.

Fashion designer Steven Alan will be donating 15 per cent of all sales made (both in-store and online) between March 14 and March 17 to the International Medical Corps, an organization currently on the ground providing supplies.

Japanese billionaire and owner of Fast Retailing (Uniqlo, Theory, Comptoir des Cotonniers), Tadashi Yanai, has pledged $1 billion yen of his own money to relief organizations like the Japanese Red Cross. An additional $400 million yen will be raised through monetary and clothing donations from Uniqlo and various company employees. Uniqlo stores worldwide are also taking customer donations now.

Many luxury brands are using social media to help spread awareness and encourage donations. Bergdorf Goodman has updated its Facebook page to act as a “Charity Navigator,” providing links to the American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and Shelter Box. Visitors can donate directly via their iTunes accounts. David Yurman is likewise urging donations through its Facebook page, while brands like Gucci have opted to utilize Twitter.

Along with the major news outlets, which have been providing round-the-clock coverage, Japanese Streets, a highly respected local street-style blog, has likewise stopped its usual fashion-related content to focus on earthquake and tsunami updates. Photojournalist and founder, Kjeld Duits, has been reporting live from the streets of Sendai, posting updates on his public Facebook page.

Rogers, FLARE’s parent company, has set up a text-for-donations program. Rogers and Fido wireless customers can text ASIA to 30333 to donate $5 to the Canadian Red Cross Japan Earthquake – Asia Pacific Tsunami Fund. Another worthy charity is the Toronto-based GlobalMedic, which delivers emergency medical services and supplies.