The fashion industry can be very cutthroat and vain. I come from a long line of humanitarians, ministers and just all around loving and giving people. When I switched my major in college from pre-vet to fashion design, I knew I had to make my career about more than just clothing.
My team and I decided this year that we wanted to make a meaningful social impact through fashion. There are so many deserving charitable organizations out there, so we felt like our first step was to find a social initiative that resonated with our own personal beliefs. All it took was one visit to Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee, our local food bank in Nashville, and we knew we had found our mission. The staff educated our team on all of the programs that were in place to help feed the hungry. We saw millions of pounds of food that is delivered weekly to our hungry neighbors. Learning that there are still hungry families that need help made a lasting impression. The impact of the trip transformed our mission from something we wanted to do to something we had to do.
We learned so much during our visit and this gave me plenty of inspiration to design a dress for our Spring 2016 Collection where the profits would be donated to Feeding America and Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee Food Bank. I knew I wanted the color to be classic, yet on trend and drew inspiration from the emerald green hue in the logos and orange which is the color associated with hunger. The end result is a gorgeous emerald green velvet mermaid gown with iridescent emerald beading on the constructed cap sleeve bodice.
When we launched our “Hunger Action” dress and collection last month to our 350 retailers, they loved our vision and wanted to be a part of it. We shared with them that every time we sell just one of the “Hunger Action” dresses, together we help provide 800 meals to Americans facing hunger. They shared in our fight to end hunger and soon Johnathan Kayne style 346 in emerald will be found in retailers all across the U.S. and a handful of other countries.
Johnathan Kayne Style #346 emerald (“Hunger Action” Dress)
One of the main reasons this initiative is so near and dear to my heart is because there were times throughout my childhood where my sister and I went to bed hungry. My single mother worked as hard as she could to make ends meet, but sometimes there was not enough healthy food to feed us sufficiently. There is a direct tie from poverty to obesity. Fatty fast foods are less expensive than a healthy meal. This why by the end of my freshman year of high school I weighed 315lbs.
I encourage small businesses to think creatively about how they can contribute time, energy or donations to end the fight against hunger. Nothing feels better than helping someone. Find your local food bank, pick up the phone and call your local food bank today and see how you can help!
*Nashville native Johnathan “Kayne” Gillaspie was seen on the hit TV show Project Runway All Stars Season 2 on Lifetime television. Kayne has served on the Celebrity Council for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and volunteers his time now in Nashville, TN at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. His celebrity clients include Jennifer Lopez, Martina McBride, Kellie Pickler, Brooke Hogan, Mattie & Tae, Brooks & Dunn, Lee Brice and Rascal Flatts.Tags: Hunger Heroes , Take Action , Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee