From a global outcry against systemic racism and long-standing friendship came a designer collection with a lofty goal: to respond to social and racial injustice around the world.
In 2020, the outcry against systemic racism and social injustice was heard around the world. In the months following, shoe designer Christian Louboutin and his longtime friends, actors Idris and Sabrina Elba, felt compelled to use their platforms to take action. The Louboutin brand wanted to support charities around the world. It was important to them to support organizations in places where the founding trio had close ties, to ensure the proceeds had as much impact as possible, and to invite others to join them in giving.
The three friends created the Walk a Mile in My Shoes charity collection, a capsule of limited edition shoes, handbags, and accessories designed to raise awareness and funding for social and racial injustices. Building on its success, in the following year, they made a second collection with prints featuring the three national flowers of Somalia, Ghana, and Sierra Leone, to honor the trio’s own origins and African cultural heritage. The collaborators agreed the collection and its support of causes would be “perennial like the flowers, coming back into bloom” each year.
After working with the Roc Nation philanthropy team to identify nonprofit partners, Louboutin Group partnered with GlobalGiving to fund grants with 100% of the proceeds of the collections and additional donations collected through a special giving page.
By donating all proceeds from these special charity collections, the initiative has raised more than US$2 million for 10 organizations working to advance social justice in France, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Somalia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each organization is using the funds to make strides within its own community.
Left, actor Idris Elba is greeted by a student in Be Rose International Foundation’s school breakfast program.
Right, model and IFAD Goodwill Ambassador Sabrina Dhowre Elba joins a Somali Hope Academy classroom.
The Gathering for Justice hired new team members to help advocate against the incarceration of youth in the US and planned a youth council program.
Immediate Theatre, a community organization that engages young people in theatre in the Hackney neighborhood of London, opened the doors of a new facility and expanded its programming.
“We’ve recently established our own theatre space for the company and our community and have ambitious plans for our youth theatre programs in Hackney in the year ahead,” Jo Carter, Artistic Director of Immediate Theatre said. “The multi-year funding from the Walk a Mile in My Shoes charity collections has also been instrumental in enabling us to produce a new schools tour of our impactful play, Pressure Drop.”
Be Rose International offered school breakfast in Sierra Leone communities where malnutrition is high and supported widowed women to develop livelihood opportunities through agriculture.
Purposeful, also working in Sierra Leone, reached out-of-school adolescent girls through a mentorship program centered on healing, joy, and collective action.
“With the Walk a Mile in My Shoes grant funds, we are building a movement of mentors who inspire one another and their communities to act against the injustice girls and young women face in Sierra Leone.”
— Rosa Bransky, Co-Founder, Purposeful
Somali Hope Academy Foundation, a high school, put the finishing touches on a well to support the community’s water needs and gave laptops to all of their graduates.
The recent graduates are now attending university, and the laptops will give them the tools they need to continue their education. As one Somali Hope Academy graduate said, “It is a dream come true.”
Want to explore cause marketing to advocate for racial justice?Featured Photo: A performance by Immediate Theatre
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