'Awearness' for AIDS

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 26, 2009 | Go to article overview
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'Awearness' for AIDS

Byline: Stephanie Green, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Just in time for fall fashion shopping, designer Kenneth Cole is again using his craft to bring attention to poverty and AIDS prevention, showing that giving back never goes out of style.

The luxury retailer Bloomingdale's is partnering for the seventh year with the renowned AIDS research organization AMFAR - with an assist from Mr. Cole - for special events beginning Thursday. Billed as the Fashionable Fundraiser in Black and White, the events will raise funds and awareness for AIDS organizations in communities nationwide.

Bloomingdale's, which is making a donation of $75,000 to AMFAR, is teaming with Mr. Cole on a T-shirt to commemorate the event. The $35 black T-shirt has a red-and-white message that reads, Make the Most of Wearing Times. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds from sales of the shirt will go to AMFAR.

"'Make the Most of Wearing Times' is a twist to encourage people to act responsibly in all 'conceivable' situations, Mr. Cole explains in an e-mail to The Washington Times, adding that condoms will be available in his stores to advance his message of safe sex and AIDS prevention.

This isn't the first time Mr. Cole has used his designs to bring attention to AIDS prevention. In 2005, his T-shirt bearing the arresting line We all have AIDS was worn by celebrities and fashionistas.

Since last fall, Mr. Cole's nonprofit Awearness Fund has been supporting social change and inspiring volunteerism by holding events, such as the ones at Bloomingdale's, and by designing special merchandise.

In our effort to promote, encourage and empower acts of service, volunteerism and social change, we aim to identify like-minded individuals and organizations whose stories we can help tell through our various platforms, says Mr. Cole, 55, who is married to former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo's daughter, Maria, a philanthropist in her own right.

Bloomingdale's has a long-standing history of supporting AIDS research, and we are proud to continue to aid the fight, says Michael Gould, chairman and chief executive officer of Bloomingdale's.

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