8 of the Most Philanthropic Fashion Brands in the Middle East

Related Article
Fashion
Let's Talk About This Season's Sexiest Celebrity Fashion Trend
Read Article
Photo: Courtesy of @babyfistcollective

"Every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want." - Anna Lappe

“Sustainable” and “ethical” have successfully attained the status of buzzwords in the trillion-dollar fashion industry, but they have been largely misinterpreted. For many of us, sustainability directly translates to environmentally-friendly products. However, the sustainable nature of products only makes one part of the bigger picture, which includes transparent business practices, fair-trade manufacturing, workplace inclusivity, and a purpose-driven approach.

As consumers, we hold tremendous power in terms of making or breaking a brand, thus making consumer behavior the focus of marketing strategies for virtually any company. As the disposable income of the younger generation increases, the impact of their shopping habits can no longer be ignored. With the tech-savvy cohort’s ability to hit “buy” from anywhere – whether at work or on their morning commute – brands are attempting to refocus their strategies around this demographic.

We can all agree that cost and worth are two very different things – unlike previous generations – the latter is what drives young consumers to reach for their wallets. Research has concluded that rather than defining worth in terms of utility or cost-per-use, young consumers tend to value sustainability, authenticity, and more importantly purpose-driven products.

These value-conscious shoppers are reportedly willing to spend more on brands that allow them to spend money for a cause or a greater societal good. While luxury giants like Gucci have declared carbon-neutrality, some brands like Stella McCartney have gone a step further by incorporating charity efforts into their business mission.

In an industry driven by capitalism, bridging the gap between the large labels and underprivileged labor, who work at the root of the supply chain, is increasingly important. Whether or not you fall under the generational category of conscious consumers, being mindful is vital. To reinforce awareness around the subject of ethical fashion, we at Savoir Flair have put together a list of fashion brands in the Middle East that believe in making a difference with their products.

The Giving Movement

Born during the pandemic, The Giving Movement is a sustainable gender-neutral athleisure label. Aimed at supporting local communities, every product is ethically made in the UAE from certified and sustainable fabric developed from recycled water bottles and organic bamboo.

Committed to creating a positive impact and – as their name suggests – giving back, proceeds from every sale at The Giving Movement are donated to local charities. One of their philanthropic beneficiaries is Dubai Cares, a non-profit which works towards providing quality education to children in developing countries. They also contribute donations to Harmony House, an organization that supports underprivileged children in India by providing education, food, and healthcare facilities.

Realizing that sustainability goes beyond ethical fabrics, the brand has chosen to produce styles in limited quantities, with each piece labeled with a representative number in the series.

“I created The Giving Movement as I wanted to change the way fashion is consumed. I wanted to create a new model, a movement. A disruptive brand that was not fast, frivolous fashion but deeply meaningful apparel. A brand that was sustainable, that was made ethically in the UAE, and a brand that could have a positive impact with every purchase made”, says founder Dominic Nowell-Barnes.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Giving Movement (@thegivingmovement) on

Eurthlin

Driven by the belief that animals are here with us and not for us, Eurthlin creates luxurious leather handbags and pouches made from cruelty-free vegan leather. PETA-approved vegan leather eliminates the need to exploit animals and the use of land to raise them. The inner linings of the bags are made from certified organic cotton (raised without the use of chemicals), and the dust bags are made from recycled plastic bottles. That’s not all — even the packaging is completely compostable.

Not only are the brand’s faux leather products ethically made in the UAE, but the brand is also assisting in the reforestation of the Amazon by planting a tree in exchange for every product that is sold. With animal protection being central to the brand’s mission, Eurthlin also supports local animal rescues and rehabilitation centers.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by EURTHLIN (@eurthlin) on

BLSSD

BLSSD, the brainchild of Lama Riachi, was born out of her desire to create a label that went beyond aesthetics and produced fashion that truly matters. The UAE-based brand embraces avant-garde streetwear style, and combines it with functionality and luxury. Riachi – having survived cancer – founded a support group, Blessed (together), dedicated to helping individuals whose lives have been touched by cancer.

While Blessed (together) welcomes everybody, its primary focus remains on the needs of the underprivileged migrant workforce in the region. BLSSD is the key revenue driver for Riachi’s support group, which facilitates treatments for those lacking funds, and logistics for patients that need to travel for treatments. BLSSD also works to reunite terminal cases with loved ones. Riachi strives to break down the societal stigma surrounding cancer in the region.

Gratitude and giving back are at the heart of the brand, which is reflected in their tagline, #PretAGratitude.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by BLSSD (@___blssd___) on

BabyFist

Born in Ramallah, Palestine, BabyFist is a fashion movement that challenges gender-based and political oppression. Understanding that self-identity is a complex issue, the brand strives to defy gender stereotypes and deconstruct beauty norms. Each of their pieces is aimed at sparking conversations about social change, with their best-selling design being a t-shirt that reads ‘Not Your Habibti’.

BabyFist believes in generating income for local artisan communities. All the clothing is manufactured in a family-run factory in Gaza, while the jewelry is handmade by a women’s cooperative based in Beit Duqqu village, in Jerusalem.

The brand’s fight for female empowerment doesn’t end with design. In order to expand young girls’ access to menstrual education, BabyFist has launched a ‘Menstrual Education Campaign’ that holds workshops to educate Palestinian girls and challenge the taboos around menstruation. They also provide women with essential supplies like sanitary napkins. Ten percent of all proceeds go towards funding the campaign.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by BABYFIST © (@babyfist_) on

Ohoy Swim

Founded by Scandinavian expats, Henna and Anna, Ohoy Swim is a UAE-based sustainable swimwear brand that echoes the duo’s home country’s philosophy of simplicity and responsibility. Ohoy Swim’s products are made from 100% ECONYL yarn, which is spun using discarded nylons, including fishing nets collected from the sea. 

ECONYL collaborates with Healthy Seas, an organization founded by Aquafil to support volunteer divers in the extraction of fishing nets from the seas. Once the nets are extracted, they are sent to Aquafil’s regeneration plant in Slovenia. One percent of all sale proceeds are donated to Healthy Seas to facilitate waste recovery from the oceans.

Ethically manufactured in a small family-owned factory in Sri Lanka, the seasonless swimwear label has been tested and proven to be twice as resistant to chlorine and sun creams as compared to most fabrics.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by OHOY SWIM (@ohoyswim) on

Darzah

Darzah – which means “stitch” in Arabic – is a nonprofit label established to preserve the ancient Palestinian “tatreez” embroidery technique. All of their products – shoes, handbags, and homeware – are 100% hand-embroidered by female artisans in West Bank, Palestine. Created with a goal of empowering women, each product that is sold helps Darzah in generating income opportunities for refugees and marginalized communities, thus helping them provide for their families.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Handcrafted in Palestine. (@darzahdesigns) on

uSfuur

USfuur translates to “bird” in Arabic, and the bird stands as a powerful symbol for peace and freedom for this UAE-based jewelry brand. The contemporary jewelry brand features delicate necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings made in gold and handcrafted in Dubai.

The brain-child of Syrian-born Yara Tlass, uSfuur has partnered up with a Syrian grassroots organization called Watanili, with a percentage from all sales going towards helping refugee communities in need.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by uSfuur (@usfuur) on

SEP Jordan

SEP Jordan stands for (Social Enterprise Project), and is a fashion and lifestyle label with noble aspirations to bring thousands of refugees above the poverty line through training and employment. SEP is the first Jordanian private company to set up in the Jerash “Gaza” Refugee Camp in Jordan, where it works with the camp residents.

The Jordanian label gives you the opportunity to shop a story – the story of the hands that embroidered the piece you bought. The brand not only employs refugee women, but also facilitates their training at the SEP-Tamari Foundation Academy, thus ensuring sustainable economic stability for the artists. SEP, which currently employs over 560 refugees, has a weekly payment system where the artists are paid (above the market rate) for every creation they deliver.

That’s not all. The brand also promotes a work-life balance and prioritizes the health and well-being of its employees. Artists have a four-hour limit per day put in place to preserve the health of their eyes and hands. SEP is also committed to protecting refugees from the ongoing pandemic. With every product that is bought online, $20 goes towards providing healthcare, disinfectants, hand sanitizers, and medicine in the camps.

The accessories are hand-embroidered with geometric patterns, inspired by Islamic architecture and the keffiyeh designs – a symbol of Palestinian culture. Further, SEP allows artisans to decide on the colors and patterns that they want to incorporate into the product, thus giving them the freedom to explore the art.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by SEP (@sepjordan) on

Be in the know.
Every day, receive Savoir Flair's top articles straight to your computer or smartphone. It's never been easier to stay up-to-date on the latest fashion, beauty, and lifestyle stories.
Click to get the latest news on your device
You can stop notifications at any time.
Unsubscribe from our notifications
Click to unsubscribe from notifications on this device.
Be in the know.
Every day, receive Savoir Flair's top articles straight to your computer or smartphone. It's never been easier to stay up-to-date on the latest fashion, beauty, and lifestyle stories.
Connect using Facebook Messenger