Years ago the wife of a famous (now retired) basketball player wore what I considered a very fashionable shirt to a game that was being televised. She caused a bit of a fuss with members of the media because they could not show her on live television and had to blur her shirt in photos because it had an expletive written across the front of it. At that point in my life I really didn’t understand why it was such a big deal; in my eyes it was such a snazzy shirt, regardless of that bad word. But as the seasons of our lives change, so often do our perspectives on things and now, as a parent, I can empathize with those who argued that young children were watching and probably shouldn’t be privy to this shirt’s bold statement, no matter how trendsetting it was considered.
What we wear, especially in today’s world of fast fashion with its whopping 52 “micro-seasons” per year, speaks about who we are as a person and can influence those around us, whether that is our intention or not. That influence can be negative, positive, or polarizing, as we saw most recently when the First Lady wore a jacket that drew international attention. That influence can also spread far beyond our closets and circles, making waves in the lives of people we’ve never met, or benefiting organizations and causes on the other side of the world. For some designers it has become much more than feeding into the latest trend; it is about feeding those in need. It has become about more than someone wearing their latest shoe design; it is about providing shoes, free of cost, to those who desperately need them. Now more than ever when we purchase a shirt (or a pair of shoes) we have the ability to find out how our purchase can benefit another. We can be fashionable and philanthropic!
My husband and I have been proud to wear our apparel from 901 Collection, knowing that we are not only supporting a Memphis-based company but also supporting its efforts in giving back to local organizations such as Youth Villages, Mid-South Spay and Neuter, West Cancer Center, the Mid-South Food Bank, and Shelby Farms Park Conservancy. Founded by Memphians Jonathan and Emily May, 901 Collection donates 10% of every sale’s proceeds to these various causes. We ran into Jonathan at a local fundraiser several months ago and he shared with us the thought that goes into designing and creating each piece of clothing. It was important that everything be made of high-quality materials because it was a representation of the city- his city. Yes, Jonathan takes pride in his work but is most proud when he’s out and about and sees fellow Memphians wearing items from the 901 Collection. It is an indication, to him, that they appreciate the city and the clothing’s craftsmanship and causes as much as he does.
There are numerous other companies and organizations here in the Mid South, including our very own cityCURRENT, who are using our fashion-conscious society as a means to give back and improve the lives of others. We know that what we wear makes and sends a statement: it is a primary reason why we wear what we do. Why not uplift those in our community while doing so?
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