Getting involved has never looked so good.

When he’s not introducing some of the most fashion-forward and innovative clothes in the industry, fashion icon Kenneth Cole is promoting Awearness.

A careful reader, or spelling-stickler, will surely be screaming right now about a typo in the previous paragraph.  But “Awearness” is actually a pun and the charitable vision of Kenneth Cole: “wearing” Kenneth Cole clothing promotes awareness of the many issues championed by the fashion label.  From HIV/AIDS advocacy to Disaster Relief, Cole’s Awearness foundation has supported many laudable causes.

One of the organization’s greatest achievements is the Kenneth Cole Haiti Health Center (KCHHC).  The Center opened in 2012 and functions as a critical source of medicine and advanced health care in the region.  The KCHHC has treated 6,000 patients each year since its opening.  It is also a base for the continuing effort of providing relief in the aftermath of the earthquake from 2010 that left the country reeling.

Cole is also the chairman of the board for amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.  A notable accomplishment during his tenure at amfAR is the introduction of four new anti-HIV drug treatments.  Using his role as chairman, Cole routinely partners his fashion line with amfAR to raise funds for HIV/AIDS research.  For instance, all sales of the specially designed “amfAR Watch” will benefit the organization’s research.  A battery-free skeleton watch, wrapped with a rose gold frame and the AIDS Awareness ribbon on the watch’s back, makes for both a wonderful gift idea during the holiday season and a great way to fight for HIV/AIDS research.

Kenneth Cole has always prided himself on being a bit of an iconoclast in the fashion world.  His pun-filled advertisement campaigns do not shy away from heavy subject matters.  One advertisement includes two fashionable young women carrying Kenneth Cole designer bags with the pithy slogan, “We are all potential carriers.”  The ad is a great example of the blending of Cole’s fashion with his AIDS advocacy.  Another example can be seen in a campaign ad on New York subway trains: “Latest AIDS statistic: 0,000,000 vaccinated.”

But Kenneth Cole’s largest mantra is, “What You Stand For Is More Important Than What You Stand In.”  It’s a sobering reminder that being fashionable is meaningless in the face of being an advocate for change.

Taylor Diamond

Sources: Awearness Foundation, AMFAR, Kenneth Cole, Amazon
Photo: PhilanthrophyIs