WASHINGTON — Fashion Delivers for Haiti has raised $20 million of donated apparel and home furnishing goods for the people of the earthquake-ravaged country.
Donations came from many companies such as American Apparel Inc., Armani Exchange, Forever 21 Inc., Free People, Hanesbrands Inc., Joseph Abboud, L.E.I., Perry Ellis International and Rocawear.
“Companies of all sizes, big and small, retailers and vendors, have been magnanimous in their generosity,” said Allan Ellinger, chairman of Fashion Delivers.
The organization, founded after Hurricane Katrina, coordinates donations from the apparel and home furnishing industries to help victims of natural disasters.
Ellinger said Fashion Delivers hopes to exceed $25 million in donations before it concludes its efforts. Items especially needed include lightweight men’s and women’s apparel, and basic items like underwear, socks, sheets, towels and blankets, he said.
On Feb. 16, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, announced a government initiative, Plus One for Haiti, to encourage U.S. apparel brands to shift 1 percent of their total production to Haiti to help rebuild the country’s apparel industry. Under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity Partnership Encouragement Act, or HOPE, and its successor, HOPE II, apparel manufactured in Haiti gets duty free access to the U.S. market.
Prior to the disaster, Haiti’s garment exports to the U.S. increased 24.5 percent to $513.3 million in 2009, according to the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel.
USTR also announced that it will establish a task force under Gail Strickler, assistant USTR for textiles, to work with brands, business leaders and government officials to smooth the way for garment and textile exports from Haiti.
Companies that would like to donate to Fashion Delivers’ Haiti effort can do so by clicking on a banner at fashiondelivers.org or by calling 212-629-6700, ext. 221, to get a donation form.