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NEW YORK — Fashion designers and their beauty counterparts are doing more than just creating appealing clothes and products these days. Some are getting involved in politics, with fund-raisers, special design projects and other volunteer activities taking almost as much time and attention as their spring collections at the moment.

Jeremy Scott, for example, has been galvanized by the upcoming Presidential election. “Hell, yeah, I’m very anti-George Bush,” he says. “I’ve called my senators leaving messages. I’m extremely passionate and revved up about it.” Scott is involved with e-mail and telephone campaigns to encourage voter registration through MoveOn.org and has created screen-printed T-shirts with various political messages, including a “God Save New York” version that he gave to Boy George, Lisa Marie Presley and Madonna. The shirts are available on eBay or at People’s Revolution for the fairly democratic price of $50.

Meanwhile, Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy have forged a strong partnership with Downtown for Democracy. Not only can you register to vote in every Marc Jacobs boutique, including the new one on Boston’s Newbury Street, but Jacobs has also designed a line of witty and provocative products. The items include key chains, hooded sweatshirts and panties strategically detailed with the phrase “Remove Bush” in sign language, and all proceeds from their sale are donated to Downtown for Democracy.

You can always count on the Heatherette boys, Richie Rich and Travor Rains, to court controversy, and the election is definitely on their radar. While back-to-school at Heatherette High may be the theme of their spring collection, Rich and Rains have also created a “Democrats Do It Better” T-shirt. Madonna is slated to wear it during her concert on Thursday night in Paris — on the day, of course, that George W. Bush will accept the GOP nomination in New York. “Heatherette’s motto has always been ‘Look at me,’ and I always felt that, when you have Democratic blood pumping through your veins, you are much more receptive to that kind of attention,” says Rich. “I just feel like Democrats do it better.”

The beauty industry, for its part, is supporting voter-registration efforts. One Thousand Flowers is an organization started last November in a San Francisco living room by a group of citizens, including Deborah Moore, John Sellers, Martha Belcher and Lafcadio Cortesi, who were concerned about the participation of women in the voting process. The organization’s co-founder, Francesca Vietor, and volunteers have designed a beauty kit complete with emery boards, postcards and voter-registration forms, intended for salons and beauty stores.

This story first appeared in the September 1, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

This month, The Body Shop will begin carrying the beauty kit in 305 of its stores nationwide. Four DiPietro Todd Salons in San Francisco have been enlisted, as has the John Delario Salon in Manhattan. Closer to Election Day, volunteers and adopted salons will be hosting manicure parties and actually designating a “voting hairdo” for Election Day. “Twenty-two million single women didn’t vote in the last election, and 16 million of them were not even registered,” says Vietor. “We have to find a fun way to get them out there.” Visit 1000flowers.org for more information and to sponsor a salon in your area.

— David Yassky

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