In Good Fashion: Rachel Roy on OrphanAid

THE DO-GOODER: Designer Rachel Roy
THE CAUSE: OrphanAid
THE MISSION: OrphanAid Africa is a non-profit organization supporting orphans and vulnerable children in Ghana through programs in care reform, education, and development.

Lauren: How did you get involved with OrphanAid?
Rachel: My dear friend Lisa Lovatt-Smith founded the organization over a decade ago. Lisa strives to keep families together who are dealing with poverty, disease and lack of security. Her work is truly inspiring. A couple of years ago, I visited Ghana with my daughter Ava because of Margherita Missoni – she and her mother work very closely with the orphanage … It was an emotional trip for me. All of these children were in need of major care – it broke my heart.

Lauren: And what do you do with them?
Rachel: After our trip, I decided to keep my commitment to the children; among other activities, I sponsor children through school, and each holiday season my team and I wrap books together and send them to the children.

Lauren: What is it about this particular organization that speaks to you?
Rachel: I’ve always focused on what I can do to improve myself and the world around me. OrphanAid supports vulnerable children, which enables me to to go beyond the scope of my passion for just dressing women to feel their best, by becoming a part of giving these underprivileged women and children a voice around the world.

Lauren: Can you describe the work that you do with them?
Rachel: The spirit of the children I met was beautiful; I will never forget their hope and kindness. My “Kindness is Always Fashionable” clutch is part of my ongoing commitment to them, and the design captures the hope, inspiration, and creativity that I see in their souls. I’ve always believed fashion is an incredible platform for giving back. My team and I fell in love with this phrase (by Amelia E. Barr) and I think it truly embodies what we are trying to do. Plus, the proceeds directly benefits the women and children of OrphanAid.

Lauren: What’s been your most memorable experience with OrphanAid?
Rachel: My trip to Ghana was the most humbling and most memorable – it was there that I met orphans who were given a better life through OrphanAid Africa. I brought my daughter Ava; she bonded with the children, and the experience allowed her to appreciate what she has in her life. My work with OrphanAid has been ongoing since, but I will never forget this special bond with my daughter.

Lauren: How can others get involved?
Rachel: You can visit OrphanAid Africa to take the first step! And see what my team has done, here.

Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.

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May 31, 2012