Once in a while something or someone touches your life. This may not always be someone you know, or something you have a connection with. It may consume you in a way you didn’t think possible, but once it takes hold, you know that you have to everything you can to try and help.
On Tuesday, January 12th 2010, an earthquake registering at 7.0 on the Richter scale hit the island of Haiti in the Caribbean. This was one of the worst natural disaster (some have said THE worst) of all time and over 250,000 people were killed in under a minute. There are still over a million left homeless.
When I became aware of this, it affected me in a way I cannot describe or that made any sense. The impact of seeing the news with the daily reports and scenes of devastation ensured that the desperation of the situation hit home. Since that day, I have been determined to help in any way I could. There is no quick fix; it will take time to repair.
Within a space of a couple of months, I had given up my job, raised money and volunteered to go to Haiti for a month to help in the aftermath of the earthquake. I did everything and anything that was required of me, including teaching English classes, repairing schools, shovelling rubble, assisting with medical treatment, and, most profoundly, giving lots of cuddles and love to those who had had their families taken away from them.
Since that day, I have been determined to help in any way I could.
I started Frontline Fashion (www.frontlinef.com) after spending time volunteering in a disaster zone (Haiti) and realized that people don’t need to shun the glamour and highlife of the style industry in order to make a difference to others, and that everybody can be style conscious with a social conscience! Through my Zanmi range (Haitian for friends) I strive to raise awareness about humanitarian issues and funds to support dedicated projects.
Frontline Fashion’s core value is to help individuals be socially responsible whilst remaining stylish; this project is made truly unique by the fact that they are committed to donating Frontline Fashion’s profits towards their foundation projects, which, to begin with, will be the construction of a dormitory and an orphanage in the earthquake-destroyed country of Haiti.
Knowing that every little bit done each and every day is helping to make a difference!
I still tear-up every time I think of Haiti. Going there was the best decision I have ever made in my life and I consider myself very lucky to have found something that I have become so passionate about – the circumstances in Haiti, the people I have met and work with and the help that we can provide, even from afar are never far from my thoughts. In fact, the experience I had over there, and the possibility of continuing to help will keep me focussed and determined whether in business, through the activities of Frontline Fashion, or in life generally.
The ‘Humanity’ line in Frontline Fashion’s ‘Zanmi’ clothing range (‘Zanmi’ is Haitian for friends) has been an absolute success and we have raised thousands of Dhirams through on-line and in-person sales. Our campaign images were absolutely stunning, thanks to the efforts of the amazing Martin Beck (photography), Kat Sumners (hair & make-up) and Bareface Model Agency.
All of that money has been sent to our partner on the ground in Haiti and we are looking forward to going back to Haiti this year to witness first-hand the ‘brick-by-brick’ progress of the construction of an orphanage on the outskirts of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
My Haitian children inspire and motivate me constantly. There is no quick fix solution, this project will take as long as it needs, 20, 50 years if necessary but I can’t imagine doing anything else. Our philosophy of Humanity is Always in Style resonates throughout everything we do.
To find out more about Frontline Fashion’s quest to marry style and philanthropy together, please go to www.frontlinef.com – where you can find details of current activities, beauty, fashion and style tips and trends, and, of course, the stunning ‘Humanity’ clothing range, the profits from which will help to complete the construction of an much-needed orphanage in Haiti. Frontline Fashion also has Facebook and Twitter pages (@Frontline_F), which you can also support and which will keep you up-to-date. So there’s no excuse – ‘looking the part is only the beginning!’