Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Can fashion be socially relevant?

Usually, this question is asked of countries that can afford to be concerned about world issues, other than what goes on domestically. America is now joining the "save Africa" bandwagon with Hollywood celebrities leading the pack. It seems that it's not enough to have the latest Balenciaga anymore, an African baby is the new "It" thing. Being from the 3rd world, this leaves me amused and a little frustrated at the pretentiousness and ignorance of 1st world citizens. With the world looking to save Africa, other nations that need funding are left to come up with more aggressive ways of raising money. It is no secret that the major driver of the Philippine economy is the retail business. Are Filipino consumers ready to part with their hard earned money to take part in a cause? Would you buy a lipstick knowing that it would help economically disadvantaged Filipino women afflicted with breast cancer?

I am hoping that the answer is yes. The time for looking after our own is so important, as the west becomes embroiled in world issues that are more relevant to their own existential issues. Local retailers can take their cue from Bono who launched RED, a business model where companies create slick products with proceeds to help fight AIDS in Africa. I think if local retailers become more involved in these kinds of campaigns, Filipino consumers will surely respond in kind. I can already see it "Shop and save...a life."




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