Thursday, April 7, 2011


    The alarming 8.9 magnitude earthquake that prompted 30 foot tsunami waves and caused over 50 after shocks had devastating effects on the people of Japan and Japan’s physical structure. 1 In response to this natural disaster, clothing companies big and small are providing financial relief through donations to the Red Cross, Save the Children, and other charitable organizations.

    Locally, ADAPT Advancers, an Oakland based clothing company has had great success raising funds through their JP Relief tee project. 100% of t-shirt net sales are donated to the American Red Cross. Remarkably, $30,000 have been raised as of April 1st. 2

    Evan Lessler, UCD Design alumni (Visual Communications emphasis), designed the JP Relief tees. The graphic design is the country code of Japan and the universal plus symbol that is representative of aid.
    ADAPT Advancers: Japan Relief Tees
    We put out the tee as an immediate response to what we saw, and used the resources that we had available to contribute. There was no roundtable discussion regarding how many to produce, our only foreseeable goal was that we wanted to raise money for Japan, however large or small that contribution would be. The response was WAY above and beyond anything I would have expected from it, and fulfilling the orders has taken much of our free time over these past few weeks,” Lessler said in an e-mail interview. 3

    The last JP tees are currently being sold. Lessler explains, “We felt that it had run its course, and that most who have had a desire to contribute in this way have done so already. We may to do something else in regards to this disaster in the future, we haven't really thought that far ahead however.”

    Regarding fashion supporting philanthropic causes, Lessler states, “I think it's good that labels participate in these sorts of causes because we have a tangible way of giving back that not everybody is fortunate to possess.  Everyone buys clothes, and in our case, t-shirts. It is a relatively easy way to donate without being too much of a hardship on the brand or the customer, it really ends up being a win-win-win situation for all involved. This is our first large scale donation effort, and after seeing the impact that is possible we are definitely looking at other ways to incorporate giving into a regular part of how Adapt operates.”

    In contrast to Adapt’s unique t-shirt design aimed to raise funds for Japan, large clothing companies are using different strategies to help provide relief for Japan.

    The fast fashion clothing company H&M has closed all of its Tokyo stores and will donate about 100,000 garments to the Japanese Red Cross.4

    On March 18, Forever 21 donated 100% of its online sales worldwide, $2,012,112, to the American Red Cross for Japan Relief. 5

    Lady Gaga’s celebrity power has also contributed to Japan relief efforts. She raised over $1.5 million funds from sales of her $5 “We Pray for Japan” Bracelets.” The funds have gone to Zynga’s Save the Children Program and the American Red Cross. 6

    Additionally, pop-up shops are temporarily springing up to raise funds for Japan.

    On Saturday and Sunday April 2-3, Nathalie-Roze, a boutique owner, fashion designer, and journalist, hosted Shop for a Cause: A Pop Up Sale for JAPAN/Red Cross in Leslieville Ontario, Canada. Donated women’s clothing and accessories from local designers and shops were sold at discounted prices. 7

    These are only a few examples of how the fashion industry is striving to provide relief in Japan. A percentage of designer clothing purchases are also being donated to Japan relief organizations, as well as out of pocket direct funds. Donations and other efforts continue through the Salvation Army, and the Goodwill through donations to the Red Cross and clothing donations. 8,9

    1. Alabaster, J., Yamaguchi, M., Hosaka, T., Kageyama, Y. (2011). Japan Earthquake 2011: Magnitude Earthquake Hits, 30-Foot Tsunami Triggered. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from

    2. Japan Relief. (2011). Retrieved from

    3. Lessler, Evan. Personal Communication. April 3, 2011.

    4. H&M Hennes and Mauritz. (2011). H&M Supports Japan with Garments. Retrieved from

    5. Forever21. (2011). 100% Relief. Retrieved from

    6. Lady Gaga Raises $1.5 Million for Japan with Bracelet Sales. (2011). Citadel Broadcasting Company. Retrieved from

    7.  CRAFTIVISM: Shop for the Cause-A Pop Up Sale for JAPAN/Red Cross. (2011). Retrieved from–-a-pop-up-sale-for-japanred-cross-april-2-3-2011/

    8. Salvation Army in Japan Considers Long Term Response to Earthquake (2011). The Salvation Army. Retrieved from

    9. Relief Efforts Begin in the Wake of Japan’s Massive Earthquake. (2011). Goodwill International Industries, Inc. Retrieved from

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