The fashion industry may have a reputation for vapid self-interest, but every so often an issue surfaces that’s so pressing even the fashionistas take notice.
Liberty United: jewelry against gun violence
With the launch of Liberty United, the fashion industry has turned its attention to the issue of gun violence. Liberty United’s new line of jewelry is aimed at reducing gun violence and increasing awareness. Each piece of jewelry featured is made of materials that come from recycled guns. What’s more, the proceeds from each sale will be donated to anti-violence nonprofits and grassroots programs.
The socially aware marketeer
Peter Thum is founder of Ethos Water, an idea that began in 2001 with Thum’s vision of helping communities that had little or no access to potable water. It was sold to Starbucks in 2005. Like the jewelry of Liberty United, Thum believed that a brand of bottled water could raise awareness and funding for programs that provide safe water.
While the proceeds from Ethos Water are mostly retained by the company itself, six million dollars have still been donated toward support, sanitation, and other education programs.
The fashionable join the battle
For Liberty United, Thum has rallied the support and talent of some of the hottest names in the fashion industry. The first designer in this capsule collection: Giles & Brother, a sibling design team featuring the talents of Courtney and Philip Crangi. The duo’s popular metal-based jewelry has an earthy quality that’s a nice match for the recycled gun material they’re working with.
Thum is hoping to reduce gun violence without writing to Congress or lobbying lawmakers. Instead, he offers people an opportunity to express themselves visually. The funds that come from the recycled guns will be used to stop gun violence, just like the money from bottled water sales was used to fund clean water programs.
Many of the project’s participants are excited about making a difference through fashion. Actually saving lives, they say, isn’t something they usually have an opportunity to do.
Society steers a fashionable course
Socially conscious fashion is just one way jewelers are changing with the times. From raw-cut diamonds that have never been a cause for bloodshed, to recycling and up-cycling, where social interests go, fashion inevitably follows. Using reclaimed materials and incorporating elements from nature (like plants, and naturally acquired animal bones) are all the rage, and the Internet makes selling and shopping easier than ever.
Reaching people is exactly what the Liberty United line intends to do. So far, the outlook is good.