Do you see fashion as a force for good? As consumer preferences shift favourably towards brands that have a positive impact on people and the planet, more and more luxury brands are fostering community and making meaningful connections with our wider society. Among the brands working towards a greater cause, there’s an exciting new initiative to talk about.
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Positive Luxury recently teamed up with Grassroot Soccer (GRS) – a non-profit organisation that empowers young people to live healthier, more productive lives – and luxury menswear label POAN (Peoples Of All Nations) on a limited-edition hoodie to raise awareness of HIV prevention among young people. Responsibly produced in water-resistant fabric, each POAN hoodie features hand-printed inspirational quotes and signatures from celebrities such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Anastacia, Ronan Keating, and DJ Black Coffee. It has been supported by a host of famous faces too – Calum Best, Quinton Fortune, Leebo Freeman, Jack Ellis, and Lilly Becker have all proudly sported the design.
The HIV/AIDS virus was first identified in 1984 and while we’ve seen huge advances in treatment, there are still an estimated 36.7 million people globally living with the disease. It has grown to become one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, and much needs to be done in furthering its prevention. Until HIV has been eliminated, the priority is to educate on prevention and reduce the stigma faced by those living with the condition.
Through the dynamic medium of football, GRS works directly with adolescents, in turn, breaking down cultural barriers. As GRS Ambassador, Robert Pirés, states, “Grassroot Soccer uses the language and beauty of the game to break down barriers, build trust and educate young people to adopt healthy behaviours. Soccer becomes part of the solution.”
In support of World AIDS Day, I was honoured to attend GRS’ star-studded annual Gala in London. Kindly sponsored by trusted Positive Luxury brands, Belvedere Vodka and L’Oréal, the event brought together over 300 celebrities, footballers, philanthropists, and leaders in business to support the charity’s mission to educate, inspire, and mobilise young people.
Image credit: Positive Luxury. Image: POAN limited-edition hoodie.
Positive Luxury brands to trust Luca Jouel, Okapi, and Lisa Franklin donated items for auction, and GRS launched its #NoHoodiNoYoni (“no glove, no love”) campaign to communicate the importance of practicing safe sex. As HIV is a preventable disease, the hoodie advocates the message to all communities that it’s ‘cool to be careful’ – proving that fashion has the ability to save lives.
Founded by Georg Weissacher, former Vice Head of Menswear at Vivienne Westwood, POAN encompasses the root of multiculturalism, aesthetics and education – a purposeful identity reflected carefully into each crafted piece. As Weissacher explains, “When something is so strong in identity, feels right and a clear vision of the future, then it is always the right time.” This vision of optimistically looking towards the future bridges fashion with a deeper societal meaning, using innovative design to achieve a greater cause: improving young lives.
It’s evident that brands are becoming more mindful of playing a positive role in bettering our world. Through initiatives, like this, that connect communities and industries, fashion can address important causes in a multitude of innovative ways and make a real impact on the world. For example, with every £100 the POAN hoodie makes, four young people receive health and life skills education, a GRS caring mentor, plus access to life-saving health support. Uniting considered design with responsible production to make an impact, the hoodie is showing that fashion can truly make a difference.
Change is in the air, and it’s becoming evident that doing good is good for business.
Cover image credit: Positive Luxury. Image: Lilly Becker and Jack Ellis wearing the POAN limited-edition hoodie.