H&M and Designers Against AIDS (DAA) are launching a Fashion Against AIDS collection for guys and girls that will be available in H&M’s Divided departments in February 2008. 25% of the proceeds from the collection of message T-shirts, tank tops and hooded sweaters will go to HIV/AIDS-prevention projects around the world. This will be coordinated by DAA and YouthAIDS, Population Services International’s (PSI) HIV/AIDS prevention initiative which reaches more than 600 million young people in 60 countries. "Every fifteen seconds someone in the 15-24 age group contracts HIV/AIDS. Shopping has never been more important," notes Kate Roberts, the founder of YouthAIDS. Every garment sold makes a difference."
The artists backing this worthy project are participating free of charge and include Ziggy Marley, Chicks on Speed, Good Charlotte, Henrik Vibskov, Timbaland, Jade Jagger, Katharine Hamnett, My Chemical Romance, Rufus Wainwright, Scissor Sisters, The Cardigans, Tiga, Timbaland, and Rihanna, who explains:"Supporting YouthAIDS through the Fashion Against AIDS campaign was a great way to encourage my fans to join me in the fight against HIV/AIDS. I love that H&M is providing a fashionable and easy way for young people all over the world to get involved in this worthy cause."
Designed to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS, which affects so many young people all over the world - 12 million young people in the 15-24 age group are now infected with the virus - the initiative for this collaborative venture was taken by Designers Against AIDS (DAA), a non-profit organisation that seeks to mould public opinion through collaboration with fashion designers, musicians and other artists. "Fifty per cent of the people newly infected with HIV are aged between 15 and 24," says Ninette Murk, the founder of DAA. "There's an urgent need to do something in this target group. By combining fashion with music in this way we hope to get these young people to ‘stop and think’, as Katharine Hamnett puts it on one of the garments in the collection."
Everything in the collection features a special print and the neckline label carries the name of the print designer. Some of the prints are low-key and subtle, and whisper that this is important. Others raise their voice. Katharine Hamnett's print in big, black, block lettering on a white background shouts USE A CONDOM!, while Tiga's check all-over print calls for quiet reflection. Some of the squares have a different colour and represent all those who have the virus, as summed up by Henrik Vibskov's print: Be aware - it is still happening. "It's a collection that's rich in colour, with considerable commitment going into every garment," says H&M's head of design Margareta van den Bosch. "The artists have created personal prints with a strong sense of style."
Prices vary from $13 to $35 (£8 to £20). All garments are made from 100 per cent certified organic cotton and carry a special hang tag that reads: This might be the most important piece of clothing you’ve ever had your hands on.
- Lesley Scott
(photos of Ziggy Marley, Rihanna & Chicks on Speed - all by Daniel Jackson courtesy of H&M)
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