Marc Jacobs is not a skateboarder and his business partner, Robert Duffy, hasn’t been one for years, but that didn’t deter them from helping the skateboard crowd in Savannah, Ga.
The pair were hosts at an event for more than 600 people at their Marc by Marc Jacobs boutique to benefit the Savannah Skate Park Project. All sales of $35 limited edition Savannah Skate Park T-shirts — a total of $18,000 — went to fund the park’s ramps, rails and such.
Jacobs said he made the trip South because, “It’s something that is very important to Robert, and what’s important to him is important to me — and vice versa.”
Duffy said they weren’t motivated by how such a gathering might make guests look at the brand differently. “That’s not why we do it,” he said. “We do it because we have always felt it’s important to give back.”
Ideas for in-store charity events percolate from employees in their stores and the Savannah unit’s manager and assistant manager are both avid skateboarders. In addition, having recently bought a house in Savannah with his husband, Alex Cespedes, Duffy had seen firsthand how much skateboarders in town needed a place to ride beyond the historic narrow streets. Just don’t bank on him riding the rails. “I’m 56 — I don’t want to break a hip,” Duffy said.
Jacobs and Duffy also used the occasion for another philanthropic effort. Photographer Brian Bowen Smith signed copies of his book “The Men and Women of Marc Jacobs,” with all proceeds benefitting the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Later, the gift-giving continued with Miley Cyrus, staffers from the Savannah College of Art and Design and 100 other well-wishers celebrating Duffy’s birthday at his new digs. The keeping-it-local theme called for in-town caterer Elizabeth on 37th. Once the birthday candles were lit and the singing began, Cyrus piped up with the rest of the crowd.
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