Fashion industry brings giving into vogue

Robin Withall

With everyone bundled up in this season’s hottest winter wear, a Christmas tree in the Pit, a light-up nativity scene near the church, and the stress of finals hanging over our heads, it is evident the Christmas season is upon us. ‘Tis the season of giving (as reflected in our credit card bills that we won’t get, thank God, until after the holidays are over) and receiving.

Yes, being generous to friends and loved ones is great, but why not help someone less fortunate while you’re at it? Thanks to companies like Saks Fifth Avenue and Avon, giving to charity while doing your Christmas shopping is as easy as signing that credit card receipt.

Saks Fifth Avenue stores and are selling a variety of items (a Burberry bucket hat for $150 and a Marc Jacobs guitar tee for $78 are examples) of which a portion of the proceeds will go to VH1’s Save the Music Foundation. According to, Save the Music is a “non-profit organization which works to restore music education programs to America’s public schools and to raise awareness of the positive impact music education has on students.”

Avon, one of the country’s most well-known cosmetic companies, is now fighting to reduce the number of women who smoke in the United States.  The company’s “mark” make up line has teamed up with Circle of Friends, an anti-smoking organization, to promote the Circle necklace.  The necklace, a small silver sunburst on a black silk cord, costs $18, which goes to services for women who have committed themselves to quiting smoking and leading healthier lives.

Make up mogul Estée Lauder joins the fight against breast cancer with the release of their new Pink Ribbon Compact. The gold and pink compact costs $45 at major department stores, and more than 85 percent of the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, “the first and largest non-profit organization dedicated to funding innovative and groundbreaking research on the causes and treatment of breast cancer,” says one Estée Lauder public relations representative.

Lilly Pulitzer has also chosen breast cancer as its cause. In an ad campaign for a limited-edition brightly colored silk scarf, Lilly Pulitzer invites customers to “get tied to the cause.” The scarf is on sale at Bloomingdale’s and Lilly Pulitzer stores for $30. Worn by many celebrities, including Sarah Michelle Gellar and Helen Hunt, it is meant not only to fund breast cancer research, but also to raise awareness of the cause. A Lilly Pulitzer representative proudly noted that the sale of this scarf has already raised over $1 Million dollars toward the fight against breast cancer.

With gifts of every type and cost available, giving the gift of charity is both easy and affordable this Christmas season.