NEW YORK — In a move that is bringing the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign full circle, Ralph Lauren is designing the shirt to kick off the Council of Fashion Designers of America/CFDA Foundation Inc.'s new global partnership with Net-a-porter.com.
Lauren founded FTBC after a plea from Nina Hyde, his friend and Washington Post fashion critic, who died of breast cancer in 1990.
"In 1994, I challenged the fashion community to support Fashion Targets Breast Cancer when it was first getting started," Lauren said in a statement. "What began as the answer to one woman's request has become a global initiative that has raised millions of dollars for breast cancer charities."
For the global link with Net-a-porter, Lauren has created a limited edition shirt that will be sold exclusively on the e-tailer's site. It will go on sale at the beginning of September, and will be the first in a series of exclusive designer pieces to be made available on the site in the 12 months following the launch. All net profits from the sale of the items will benefit FTBC.
"We just celebrated our seventh-year anniversary, and we have not, to date, done anything that involves charity," said Natalie Massenet, Net-a-porter.com's founder. "FTBC seemed like a perfect [program] for Net-a-porter, because of the element that celebrates American design, and the fact that it will be a global initiative for the first time. Breast cancer is something that touches all women in one way or another, and we speak to over a million women all over the world on our site. We thought this would be a great opportunity to do something that was wildly important and meaningful to our customers."
As part of the partnership, Net-a-porter will introduce a "fashion closet" on a special FTBC portion of the site. It also expects to offer informative materials on breast cancer and well-being. "We want to have a section of work/life balance, preventative care and any information about the disease and coping with it, including when you have a loved one who is going through it," said Massenet. "We will also be linking to all of the various global partners of FTBC."Steven Kolb, executive director of the CFDA, said this is the first unified program that benefits all international partners. "Natalie's commitment enabled us to do this," he said. "We were looking at designers that could launch this program at the level it needed to be, and it made sense to go to the person who initially started it. Ralph's presence as an iconic American designer around the world, and his genuine commitment beyond wanting to create a shirt, made him a perfect fit."
The shirt will be unveiled at a luncheon hosted by the CFDA and Diane von Furstenberg in honor of Massenet at the DVF Studio today. The price of the shirt is still being determined.
Net-a-porter is already working on recruiting international designers to create items for the duration of the 12-month partnership.
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