When you think about the Fashion industry, what springs to mind? Big award shows like the recent Golden Globes, for one. Couture and Ready-to-wear shows where designers debut their seasonal collections amid major fanfare. We love it all - and talk about it over Instagram and Twitter as it happens and the next day continue to dissect who wore who, what, and when ad nauseum.
Don't get me wrong. As a fashion blogger, I love what I do. We're not curing cancer but what if fashion can do more than simply determine what will appear on store shelves a couple months from now? What if it can bring to light some of the simplest struggles that other human beings with whom we share this planet are experiencing? And what if fashion can take it one step further and be proactive?
Obakki, a fashion house based in Vancouver, Canada, is the perfect example where the power of fashion can improve the lives of ordinary citizens. Ordinary citizens who could never afford Obakki's gorgeous clothes - not that they'd care - but would instead give anything for pure drinking water. It's a simple request. But for the majority of those in South Sudan, drinking water is a mirage.
Obakki's Founder and Creative Director, Treana Peake (@treanapeake) launched the Obakki Foundation in 2009 as a way to give back. Peake knows first hand what it's like to receive help as she and her family were provided with monetary support when she was very young by an anonymous donor who would stuff money in a white envelope for the family under their front door every December. This gesture stayed with Peake and affected her so profoundly that while growing up she was involved for many years of development work in war-town and resource-depleted areas of the world. She sold her car to fund her own trip to Africa at the age of 18 and it just continued from there.
Peake's Obakki line absorbs the administrative costs of the Obakki Foundation, allowing 100% of public donations to be sent directly to its humanitarian projects. Since 2009, the Foundation has provided 600 water wells for South Sudan, created 12 schools in Cameroon, and supported numerous orphanages.
There are a number of ways to get involved with the Obakki Foundation and more specifics can be found on their website here. One simple way is by purchasing one of their Scarves for Water, where 500 scarves purchased (at $29 each) will build one clean water well for a village in South Sudan. Each scarf provides information on the specific village that will benefit.
Bravo to Obakki and I look forward to seeing others in this industry follow suit.