American designer Michael Kors tells us how fashion can combat the food crisis
Named one of the 100 most influential people of 2013 by Time, Michael Kors is of the opinion that designers can help change the world. Educating clients and creating a platform for humanitarian issues to be brought into the limelight is something that Kors firmly believes in. Specifically, he intends to eradicate what the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has deemed “the world’s most solvable problem” – hunger. In February 2013, Kors partnered with WFP to launch Watch Hunger Stop, a campaign that involved a special- edition watch and events at his stores worldwide. With the help of campaign ambassador Halle Berry, Kors has managed to deliver three million meals to poverty-stricken areas. A year on, we talk to him about the philanthropic side of his brand.
ELLE: Why did you launch Watch Hunger Stop?
Michael Kors: Travelling really opens your eyes to what’s going on in the world, and it can be incredibly inspiring and humbling at the same time. When you travel, you can’t help but see that there are people everywhere who are struggling to feed themselves and their families. I wanted to tackle the hunger crisis on a global scale, in a way that lets my fans around the world learn and get involved.
ELLE: How has the response been?
MK: It’s been overwhelming. We’ve received positive feedback from our fans on social media, we had a great turnout or our in-store events on World Food Day 2013 [October 16] and the watches are selling out. It’s amazing.
ELLE: How do you think fashion and the luxury market help to combat hunger and poverty?
MK: I think with the platform that designers have in today’s world, it’s important to use our influence for good. We should educate our fans and create something that makes a difference. That’s how we’re going to change the world.
ELLE: Is there anyone whose humanitarian efforts made an impact on you?
MK: I think anyone who recognises a problem and makes a real effort to change it – whether it’s in a city or a country or the world – is inspiring.
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THE CAMPAIGN IN NUMBERS
Number of children fed:
Cost of one meal:
25 US cents/day**
A 100 series watch priced at $295 feeds:
*At the time of going to print
**According to WFP
FASHION FOR A CAUSE
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