Harper’s Bazaar China Leads the Fashion of Charity
When you hear about Fashion Magazine, you probably think of gorgeous ladies and gentlemen in luxury attires who have nothing to do with poverty. However, Harper’s Bazaar China has started “BAZAAR Stars’ Charity Night” and has proposed to “let the charity become a kind of fashion.”

Hosted by Harper’s Bazaar China, a famous international fashion magazine, BAZAAR Stars’ Charity Gala is an annual fundraising gala for Chinese celebrities who support charities. It collects money through an auction and the funding is used for charities that support causes for impoverished children, medical aids, disaster recovery and many others.

In 2003, a year when SARS spread in mainland China, BAZAAR Stars’ Charity Night was established due to the social responsibility of journalists in Harper’s Bazaar China. With the whole society threatened by an incurable disease, fashion journalists felt powerless in helping by merely advertising luxurious lifestyles and beautiful attire. Thus, under the suggestion from a famous Chinese singer, Na Ying, the journalists in Harper’s Bazaar China started fundraising through auctioning used items owned by celebrities to financially support people in need.

Through live telecast, the charity event has gained a lot of attention. Singers and dancers voluntarily perform at the event and movie stars dress up in glamorous outfits. The event is a good opportunity to advertise charity.

The first session of the gala collected 168,000 RMB, which made a hit in Chinese society. Thus Harper’s Bazaar China decided to maintain this program and try to develop it into a more influential social and charitable event. In 2004, the team came up with the idea to “let charity become a fashion” and encourage Chinese stars to support charities.

In 2012, the tenth anniversary of the charity night was held in Beijing. More than 600 entrepreneurs and stars such as famous actress Zhang Ziyi, martial arts star Jackie Chan, pianist Lang Lang and popular singer Jay Chou attended the charity event. During the auction, a painting by famous contemporary Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi was sold for 17 million yuan, the highest price of the night. Participants who didn’t auction any items were also encouraged to donate 100,000 yuan. The event raised a total of $6.3 million.

According to the organizers of this event, all the funding raised in 2012 was donated to several projects for poverty alleviation, medical aid for children and craniofacial cleft lip and palate treatment. In 2013, funds were donated to the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation and the Zhonghua Siyuan project to financially support the economic development of poverty-stricken areas in China.

In an interview, the Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar China, Su Mang, said, “People usually think Fashion has nothing to do with charity. Sometimes they regard charity merely as our strategy to gain attention, but I want to say that, if behind the glamorous dresses, there is a true willingness to help others, we should also applaud for them.”

Shengyu Wang

Sources: Baidu, CNTV, Youtube
Photo: Mod Bad

The Bazaar Stars Charity Night (BSCN) is the first charity auction party in China and also goes far in illustrating a new model of charity in China, which integrates fashion, charity, celebrities and the media while doing fundraising in the form of auctions.

Many national celebrities, including famous singers, actors, entrepreneurs and artists, attend the auction party and bid on luxury items each year, the funds of which go to those in need. The media and merchandise brand names are also very supportive.

Over the last 10 years, BSCN has collected about $25 million, sponsored 13 charity organizations and supported people and families in need. Moreover, in 2007, this event was the only charity event awarded with National Charity Award in China.

As more and more celebrities join the event, BSCN has become the biggest and most influential, non-governmental charity event in China.

Mang Su, the executive publisher of Harper’s Bazaar, initiated the event in 2003 and organizes it every year. In fact, Su is a leader in Chinese fashion and one of the top philanthropists in China. Her idea, “Making Charity Fashion,” has, moreover, created a new approach to philanthropy.

Su explained that philanthropy is not about living frugally and saving money for others, but about creating a more valuable society as a whole. “I want to contribute to charity in an innovative and fashionable way,” Su said. “Just like pursuing fashion, such as a gorgeous hairstyle or a beautiful lipstick. Everyone asks, ‘have you given to charity?’”

The purpose of the BSCN event is to help people to understand the importance of advancing society while creating their fortunes. “Not everyone can help others at the cost of his (or her) career, but everyone has a kind heart,” Su stated. “I hope this event can encourage people to express their kindness while fighting for their career and dreams.”

Xinyu Zhao, an investor of Gold Palm Club, bought a Dior sweet-smelling perfume for about $7,246.38. “I would never buy perfume for this amount normally, but this time it is for the charity. I feel very happy,” Zhao said.

Furthermore, Bingbing Li, a Chinese actress and singer, explained that the ten-year persistence of philanthropy is also a form of attitude.

At present, BSCN is not only an auction but also includes in its bag of delights, an evening banquet with dancing, which make the event even more fashionable. “With the development of society, more rich people are emerging. They have their own lifestyle,” Su said. She considers charity activities an elegant lifestyle and exclusive entertainment for the wealthy.

As more and more fashionable activities are related to some form of charity, Su believes charity events similar to the BSCN can bring wealthy celebrities closer to the idea of charity and bring them a deeper understanding of it.

“Some day, behind the rich lifestyle, people will find that it’s only by offering their love and generosity that they can realize their true class,” Su said.

Compared to China’s past charity activities, which were low key and mainly held by private individuals, current charity activities, such as the BSCN, have allowed the rich and famous of the Chinese nation to personally get involved to give back some of their fortunes openly and freely. More and more Chinese philanthropists are emerging, thus representing a new class of Chinese citizens who are on the way to understanding the concept of sharing.

Liying Qian

Sources: Harper’s Bazaar, SINA, Trends, Women of China