While Flamin’ Hot Cheetos swimsuits are fine for everyday occasions, what’s a food-minded person to wear for those posher events? Perhaps a $395 T-shirt or $790 hoodie emblazoned with the name and logo of the United Nations’ hunger and nutrition humanitarian relief organization.
The apparel in question is produced by Spanish fashion house Balenciaga, and yes, a portion of profits from the sale of the items do benefit the U.N.’s World Food Programme, which works to provide emergency food assistance and nutritional aid in 83 countries. The portion of profits totals 10%, with an additional $250,000 donated by Balenciaga to kick off the campaign. (Text on the sale pages for these items reads: “Balenciaga supports the World Food Programme,” with a link to read more about the partnership.) The designer’s website notes that purchasing a WFP-branded cap means the organization could deliver more than 200 emergency high-energy biscuits.
Challiss McDonough, senior communications officer for the World Food Programme tells NPR the collaboration has been “very successful,” though neither the WFP nor Balenciaga provided exact financial figures. The WFP notes the 10% of sales has exceeded the initial $250,000 kick-in from Balenciaga…which means the fashion house has made more than $2,500,000 off the clothing line.
More importantly than the money, according to McDonough, is the awareness that such collaborations bring to the work of the World Food Programme among high-income potential donors: “Balenciaga could offer reach and visibility in a way that [WFP has] not tried.”
It’s undeniable good to see money flow to such a humanitarian organization. But it’s also undeniably off-putting to watch thin models strut down a runway wearing $790 hoodies with a hunger-relief organization’s logo on the front. Just me?