Of all the charitable companies I enjoy writing about here, TOMS has got to be one of my favorites. Since their beginnings, they have been a big name bringing awareness about those less fortunate to the fashionable masses, and have set a model example for other companies with the same initiatives. Just about everyone is familiar with their One for One® campaign, where for every pair of shoes purchased, another pair will be sent to someone in need. Throughout the years, they have had other campaigns for fresh water in developing countries, to help shelter dogs find homes, to support endangered animal species, to give the gift of good eyesight, to promote safe birth for women in need, and so much more. I also love that they support artisans around the world! For their latest collection, TOMS has partnered up with a group of artists for their Haiti Artist Collective.
I am so excited to find more and more of these hidden gems that are small companies with true passions to help others. As time goes on (and my talents for digging for such things improves), they begin to see more abundant and it makes me so happy in this world of fast fashion and self-serving overconsumption. I always like to feel that fashion shouldn’t ever be just for me—since my dollars will be going somewhere, they might as well go to those who could truly use them the most, right? Win win! What impresses me about these small charitable companies is how most of them began…by an independent creative like me who one day had an idea, or just found his or her passions leading them to an opportunity to give back. I’d like to think one of these days I could follow in these footsteps!
My heart shines every time I see an ethical apparel brand! This is what I gravitate to, and this is what I put first and foremost above denim itself when I am looking for new posts. When I find both of them in one happy package, it’s even better! Brands that donate to charities are indeed honorable, but I’ve seen something something a bit different lately: brands working directly with those who these charities assist, themselves (and thus becoming a sort of charity as well). I recently wrote about Mitscoots, a sock brand that employs the transitioning homeless among us, and now I’ve found a denim brand that does something very similar, and also for a very important cause!
Like many of you out there, I love charitable causes…but I also understand how difficult it can be sometimes to actively contribute to charities while we all try to keep our heads above water in this big old rat race as it is. It’s been so great to see big brands doing their part by contributing a portion of sales to various charities, and making it easy for shoppers to get involved. The concept of “buy one, give one” is one of my favorites, like the One for One® campaign by TOMS, which provides a product to someone in need for each one purchased. I’m excited to say I discovered another brand that does something similar, with one extra (and awesome) bit!
Mitscoots Outfitters is an outdoorsy brand that produces socks, beanies, scarves and gloves (as well as logo tees) for men and women, but there’s something honorably different that sets every product apart. The brand was founded in 2012 after its founders were volunteering along the streets of Austin in 2008 and noticed that after food and water, the biggest requests from the homeless population were quality gear and a clean pair of socks. This inspiration led to the creation of a brand that not only works through local and national charities to send an equal quality item for every item sold to someone less fortunate (on your behalf), but also employs the transitioning homeless, through shelters and placement agencies, to package up and send your orders to you! Providing employment opportunities helps with increasing confidence, skill development, motivation, and network building. How great is that?! In addition, everything is made right here in America. Mitscoots calls this noble mission “Get + Give + Employ”.
While Mitscoots has the image of an adventurous, outdoorsy brand, their products are perfect for the commuter, the professional, lazy days or nights in or just anyone who enjoys the luxury of feeling both stylish and cozy. The additional good feeling of giving back is an awesome icing on the cake…but really it’s the foundation which made this company possible in the first place!
“While volunteering along the streets of Austin, Texas circa 2008, we discovered that right after food and water, there was no greater request among the less fortunate than for a clean pair of socks and some quality gear.”
“Mitscoots Women’s Socks are meant to stand out and be bold. They represent the heart of a girl who does more than just wear something that looks good, but chooses to wear something that means good.”
“So, for every item purchased, we give an equal quality item to someone in need and take pride in employing the transitioning homeless to get each and every style packaged up and ready to go.”
“Mitscoots Men’s Socks are meant to stand out and be bold. It’s time for fellas to step up their socks game, help others in need and go to bed having done something awesome.”
“Mitscoots makes GEAR with a Mission: Get + Give + Employ”
Mitscoots Outfitters is also running a Kickstarter campaign to launch a collection of men’s and women’s hats. “The Cause Cap” will work the same way the brand’s existing products do and are guaranteed for 5 years!
Read more about Mitscoots Outfitters and shop their huge collection of stylish, comfy products here.
View and support The Cause Cap campaign on Kickstarter here.
RESQ/CO for Shelter Animals at TOMS Marketplace
We’re all pretty familiar with TOMS‘s excellent business model…it definitely puts a wider smile on your face when you’re not only shopping for yourself, but also knowing you’re helping someone who needs it far more than you do! I’ve written a lot about the initiatives of this great company, including their Animal Initiative to shop poaching, sunglasses and an optical line for World Sight Day, the TOMS Roasting Co. for clean water, and bags to provide safe births and maternal health. Now it’s time to help out another kind of small voice amongst us, the tremendous amount of homeless and rescue pets in shelters all across the country! TOMS has partnered up with RESQ/CO, an online pet boutique that donates 5% of all profits to shelter and rescue animals, to help spread their reach and offer RESQ/CO products through the TOMS Marketplace! Within this collection you’ll find USA-made (handmade, actually!) leashes, collars, and a cute reversible chambray bandana for your beloved pet. The TOMS Marketplace also includes many other products charitable organizations, so while you’re at it, peruse what else is available to help better humanity and the world around us!
Building Hope with Sole Hope
Is it just me or is there a huge influx of charitable brands popping up everywhere lately? I absolutely LOVE it and I am so happy to do my best to get the word out there! When we think of charities, there are the obvious ones…cancer, AIDs, PTSD, ending hunger, etc…but there are so many others that don’t seem to gain as much awareness as they should. I’m so happy to see organizations coming out to address these issues, and I am extremely happy to introduce Sole Hope! Created by founders Drü and Asher Collie, Sole Hope works to provide shelter, food, education, medical assistance and shoes to children in Uganda to end the epidemic of jiggers. Jiggers are parasites that lay eggs in bare feet, which leads to horrible infections, paralysis or even amputation once those eggs hatch. In order to make these shoes, Sole Hope takes donations of many kinds, including old denim, plastic bottles, any shoes, or monetary donations. Sole Hope encourages anyone to host collection parties through schools, churches, or any other civic-minded group, or even shoe cutting parties (packets are available on their website) to cut the materials needed for Ugandans to sew the shoes, also creating jobs to help care for their families and create pride for their skills within their communities! How amazing is this? In addition, Sole Hope offers internship opportunities, the ability to sign up for recurring donations every month, opportunities for Sole Hope speakers to attend your event or function, donations through Amazon, an opportunity to become an advocate, and many more ways to get involved.
Luxury Denim for the Stylish Nomad by Diego Milano
Most of the denim I cover is within the $40-$250 range, all created with the utmost of care and attention to detail…through trials and errors of testing and design for the ultimate fit before being handcrafted and finished to perfection, and quality assessed for a product to be proud of that will leave you confident you are getting your money’s worth. I am always finding all sorts of fascinating concepts and examples of a neverending variety of creative minds in the industry, and usually price ranges stay in the contemporary premium range rather than into the $400 or $500 range you’d expect to find in the land of high couture. High couture is definitely interesting, in a good way, and I love the awesome spectacle of runway shows and view it mostly as art, since it’s not always totally relatable or reasonable for everyone. At Denimology we just began working with an incredible brand that still might be out of that price range for most, but I just HAVE to share it here! Diego Milano, from what I can see, somehow accomplishes going all out with their denim pieces without worrying about the end-consumer expense, and without the scent of high couture wafting off of them. They appear to be within the premium denim world that I already know and love, but I get the feeling they are on the humble side about the creative genius behind the brand.
Buy One Give One Underwear at Too.Apparel
One of the best and easiest ways to give back is to gather up any clothing that’s been hiding in your closet from past attempts at fashion risks or old tastes (and sizes for that matter), and donate them to your local homeless shelters or thrift shops. Obviously there’s some items you wouldn’t dare (I hope) try to donate, like undergarments, but have you ever considered that because of that, there might be a decent lack of underwear available in shelters? Of course you could always purchase and donate, but for many of us, we might only be limited to do such things on special occasions such as holiday drives or any kind of charitable occasion made just to gather such items. Cincinnati-based Too.Apparel has created a pretty fun way of closing in the gap for the rest of the year, using a buy-one-give-one business model similar to TOMS. In fact, founder Sara Goryl’s husband was inspired by them when shopping for a pair of shoes. The couple had lost a family friend to addiction, and vowed to somehow create a cause to help others who might be struggling from addiction as well. A quick internet search of “things to donate” brought up “underwear,” and Too.Apparel was born. Sara Goryl is an expert in the field as an apparel technical designer, with experience working for May Company and Under Armour.
Today is Denim Day 2015
The year was 1992, someplace in Italy. A 45 year old driving instructor was convicted with the rape of his 18 year old student, and sentenced. However, in 1998, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction. Why? The victim happened to be wearing tight jeans…so tight, that she most have aided her attacker in removing them in order for this assault to take place, thus making it consensual. In protest, the women of the Italian Parliament wore jeans to work the next day. For 15 years, Peace over Violence has run a campaign in response to this incident every April (for Sexual Violence Awareness Month) on a Wednesday, titled Denim Day, asking participants around the U.S.A. to wear jeans in support against destructive and wrong attitudes towards sexual assault. This year, this important day is TODAY, April 29th. I’m a big fan of jeans obviously, and tight ones at that, so you could say every day is Denim Day for me. You can bet I’ve got mine on today! Rock those babies proudly, gals, and guys too! You can also donate and register your participation at the Denim Day website.
A Love for Animals and Vintage Denim by AMO
On one side of the denim industry coin we’ve got raw denim, a staple favorite of die-hard denim fans who want to break jeans in to fit their own life’s story and adventures, and on the other side we’ve got fans who are just as die-hard about styles that already have that vintage touch, well-broken in and slouchy with heavy distressing which keeps successful companies like RE/DUN, who repurposes old, worn out Levi’s jeans, successful. I can appreciate both sides, as denim covers a such a fascinatingly wide spectrum and it’s all interesting to me that a jean just isn’t necessarily just a jean anymore! But it’s jumped into an other awesome realm lately with companies adding charity to their list. AMO, a company founded by Kelly Urban and Misty Zollars, two great friends who call themselves “denim soulmates,” was founded on the principles of both vintage denim and charity. AMO was founded in 2014 when the two girls realized their love for vintage jeans just wasn’t very well fulfilled in the existing market, both in fit and comfort. But the passions of the two girls also lie in animal welfare, using AMO as a catalyst for helping the cause of the growing problem of stray animals. A portion of AMO profits are donated to SNP LA, the Spay Neuter Project of Los Angeles, which has fixed over 100,000 cats and dogs in the Los Angeles area, preventing millions of unwanted animals from ending up on the streets! AMO also encourage shoppers and fans to donate directly to the organization through the AMO website. Check out these ultra comfortable looking vintage styles from AMO below!