LONDON — Sofia Sanchez de Betak, creative director of the brand Chufy, is mobilizing some of the biggest names in the fashion and film industries to raise funds for the charity Doctors Without Borders.
Having amassed a long list of limited-edition fashion pieces, artworks and experiences, she plans to stage a silent auction called “A Little Something” that will launch online on Wednesday. Lots include a Rimowa x Dior handcase; a sketch by Alber Elbaz; a tennis racket signed by Maria Sharapova, and a Norman Reedus self-portrait offered by his partner, the actor Diane Kruger.
Alexa Chung, Gabriela Hearst, Jacquemus, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, Kate Bosworth, Nicky Hilton-Rothschild, Gaia Repossi and Fabien Baron are among the long list of donors.
“As I kept knocking on my friends’ doors, I soon realized that they were all so happy to contribute and do something to support in such crazy times, that it gave me confidence to start widening the spectrum. I also found that quite a few of them wanted to help me find more people to donate,” said de Betak, whose Mango Met Gala also features in the auction.
“This is a community project, with all of us working together for a bigger cause.”
De Betak also wanted to ensure that the auction offered exclusive experiences, and enlisted The Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine to offer an Instagram Live session; polo player Nacho Figueras to open his stables for a private tour; Jacquemus to donate a front row ticket to the brand’s spring 2021 show, and The Misshapes to play a private DJ set to the winning bidder.
“I tried to push the idea of donating time, especially as some of us have more time on our hands than normal these days. With product there is a price and as long as you can meet that price the product is yours, but with an experience there’s also various questions relating to accessibility, and that’s the charm,” added the designer, who has also had to navigate the challenges of running her label Chufy during this time, from dealing with order cancellations to finding ways to keep her team motivated from afar.
“I already knew that one cannot rely on just a handful of ‘big’ clients to run a business. Now, though, even the opposite scenario is becoming a challenge and blurry: Small boutiques are struggling, too, and we all have to adapt.”
The opportunity lies in shifting the focus to collaboration, charity and more mindful practices, according to de Betak.
“I can see many of us — hopefully myself included — becoming real hippies, activists or volunteers, spending more of our days focused on helping others and working collectively to create a better world for our kids. I hope that talent and vision will rise above the influence of celebrity culture and stardom,” drown out the noise and a create “a cleaner playing field for real talent to flourish as it deserves,” she said.
The auction will run from April 15 to 19 on 32auctions.com, with all proceeds going toward Doctors Without Borders’ fight against the pandemic and the charity’s long-term humanitarian causes.
“When you read shocking statistics like 5.3 million children under the age of five died from malnutrition in 2018, and see the situation getting worst with the arrival of the coronavirus, you tell yourself you can’t just sit at home and be scared. You have to get up and do something,” she said.