Two years ago, Dossier editor Erin Dixon took a step away from the life of writing, editing, and consulting to take a seminar with nonprofit Safe Horizon. “[The focus] was about their work in shelters for women who had been in abusive home situations,” explained Dixon, noting that, oftentimes, the women who come to these shelters arrive with just the clothes on their back. The seminar also happened to coincide with New York fashion week. “It was an interesting contrast—but not necessarily a bad one,” she related. “It made me see things in a different light: There are so many tools within the industry that can be used to help people.”
And so were strewn the early seeds of Foundation Onda, a new nonprofit (named Onda—”wave” in Italian—to represent a positive ripple effect) that asks designers to donate surplus beauty and wellness supplies (e.g., gift bag extras like stray shampoos, lipsticks, or lotions that showgoers often leave behind) to Safe Horizon. This request did not fall on deaf ears—Donna Karan, Derek Lam, Narciso Rodriguez, and Ralph Rucci are just a few of the designers who have signed on to help.
Onda, which will launch during New York fashion week, asks only that participants donate a single item to its cause. “Obviously, we’re so happy to get more donations from a designer,” said Dixon, “but we’re also happy to get one donation. It’s about being in the moment and looking at something and saying, ‘Even if this one object just makes it a little bit better, it’s worth doing rather than doing nothing.’”
Some designers, however, are taking it a bit further, giving a scarf, an accessory, even ready-to-wear to Onda. “One of the things that the [representative] at Safe Horizon said to me was that women there, when they get items like this, really feel like they’re part of society again,” explained Dixon. “They’re part of the normal world. They’re not marginalized in this other subcategory. They’re joining the population. And that’s so exciting and beautiful.”