In the wake of last week’s devastating tsunami in Japan, the fashion world has started to mobilize to support the relief efforts. Gilt City has partnered with Global Giving to help give aid to on the ground organizations providing emergency services. The e-commerce site is facilitating donations on its website and matching them.
In addition, Uniqlo, which is based out of Japan, is donating approximately $25.6 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society. The contribution includes $17 million in cash and $8.6 million in clothing ($12 million of the cash donation is coming directly from CEO Tadashi Yanai’s pocket). The vast retail chain is also setting up donation boxes in all of its stores.
Many in the fashion community took to Twitter asking what they could do to help, encouraging donations and offering prayers. Diane von Furstenberg tweeted, “The images we get from Japan are devastating! How can we help?” Prabal Gurung wrote, “Please continue to help Japan. Every penny, thoughts and prayers.” Vera Wang wrote, “I am so deeply saddened for the Japanese people, unable to stop watching.” It wouldn’t be surprising if in the coming days the fashion community organized more formally along the lines of the CFDA supported ‘Fashion for Haiti’ effort to aid in this current tragedy.
The fashion industry itself is likely to be seriously affected by the Japanese tragedy. Japan fashion week is supposed to kick off next Tuesday, March 22, in Tokyo, but remains in limbo. Meanwhile retail stocks (including Tiffany & Co. and Coach) have started to tumble amidst fears of how Japan’s spending power would be affected in the tsunami’s aftermath.