By Valerie Chen, 1st year, Pre-Haas
The “Big 4” fashion weeks occurring in New York, London, Milan, and Paris attract worldwide attention annually. Major fashion houses such as Chanel, Balmain, Christian Dior, and many more are all common names tossed around. Journalists, photographers, editor-in-chiefs, buyers, and many more diligently take note of the newest and latest trends. Pictures of young supermodels such as Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid strutting down the illuminated runway in the latest spring/summer 2016 collections are splashed across every major news source.
Now, bringing it back to the seemingly contrasting and confusing title “The Big 4 Fashion Weeks & Microfinancing.” How could the elite fashion houses relate to the microfinance – the financial service for low-income entrepreneurs and organizations? Tory Burch, a well-known American designer, is one of the many major fashion names displayed during the New York Fashion Week. Unlike other designers, Burch started the “Tory Burch Foundation” to empower female entrepreneurs through microfinance. As a mother of three, her goal was to support other women entrepreneurs, specifically mothers who are struggling to provide for their children. After months of working with relief organizations and conducting research, Burch founded the Tory Burch Foundation.. The Foundation lends out various amounts, some as high as $5000, to entrepreneurs domestically. In addition to providing capital to female entrepreneurs, the Foundation also provides a network and education for the fellow individuals.
In her interview with Fortune magazine, Burch mentions: “I like microfinance in particular because it isn’t charity in the traditional sense. It’s about investing in people who might otherwise not have the chance to pursue their goals.”
Through her experience in launching her own business, Burch recognized the many challenges that female entrepreneurs constantly encounter, whether it be self-confidence or financing.
Although fashion and microfinance seem to be an unlikely couple, it is important to recognize that microfinance allows for individuals and organizations to improve their small businesses in various industries, ranging from fashion apparel to establishing schools to provide education to other young adults.
And so, when considering customizing a t-shirt, EthiCAL Apparel is truly a great example of the budding popularity of microfinance throughout the world. Our custom designs ensure each customer’s satisfaction, while a 100% of our profits are lent to entrepreneurs throughout the world, allowing us to support the many individuals to pursue their dreams and to provide for their families.