F4D founder Evie Evangelou will map out the specifics at the group’s first Breakfast at Tiffany’s event. Geared for international designers, though they do not necessarily have to be sourcing from emerging or underdeveloped countries, ModaCares’ mentors will receive guidance from more established designers, industry executives and financial specialists. Ending poverty, ensuring healthy lives and attaining gender equality are among the U.N.’s 17 sustainable development goals.
First up is Goldman Sachs’ Nikisha Alcindor, who will offer business advice to a female European accessories designer training refugees and battered women in various countries in the Middle East. Evangelou plans to identify the first recipient, as well as the second one – an African woman who is relying on victims of genocide to help produce her collection – next month.
Essentially, ModaCares is looking for individuals who can compete in the global market with products that “aren’t crafty,” according to Evangelou. By being selective, F4D aims to help them “become designers and brands that can compete in the global marketplace and then expand economic development in their village, their region, their countries,” she added.
Having traveled to Indonesia, Lebanon and other countries with F4D’s Global Goodwill Ambassador Franca Sozzani in search of fashion resources, Evangelou already has the experience of helping to introduce them to executives at Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. “What we’re finding is that what they’re designing is not as amenable and attractive to retail stores. We need to mentor them to focus on developing businesses that are sustainable, that can employ people, bring water and proper sanitation to their villages through the fact they are providing jobs and that there is money flowing,” Evangelou said.
While F4D Foundation is supporting the initial launch, Evangelou hopes that major companies like Goldman Sachs and individuals will help fund the initiative, have trunk shows for them, and finance a fashion show or exhibition during fashion week. “What we’re trying to do is to get key people out there and to get the right people go see them,” she said. “What would be interesting would be to partner with top stores, whether that be Bergdorf’s or Saks.”
Through alliances made through the F4D First Ladies’ Luncheon, Evangelou has spoken with some first ladies about the prospect of providing space, workers’ training, adequate lighting or in some cases running water to up-and-coming designers in their respective countries. “We’re looking forward to seeing these designers in stores, creating and doubling the number of people they already have working for them. With all the luck of next year, we really hope to change lives, create self-esteem and give people back the dignity they may have lost because they are living in poverty, have been battered or life has not been very kind to them,” Evangelou said.