The following has got to be one of the most brilliant ideas I've heard in a long time, which I found via Ecouterre. This isn't the normal fare found on Ecouterre though, as this particular label is not about sustainable fashion, just sustainable...life. First though, let me preface this by saying that I've never donated blood. Needles, quite frankly, scare me more than your average boogie man. I've been deathly afraid of them since the time my mom said getting my immunization shot wouldn't hurt, and then I couldn't move my arm for an entire week (and I got a blood stain on my favorite Fuddruckers tee). And yes, I have a giant tattoo, but that's somehow entirely different. However, my place of employment is the organization in my country that collects, processes, and distributes donated blood. So I'm hoping being a part of the blood donor program in that way earns me enough karma points to make up for my selfish squeamishness...
So, why am I talking about needles and blood? Well, the brilliant idea I mentioned goes by the name of The Red Rail, which is a clothing label based in the Netherlands formed by a collective of independent Dutch designers. However, this label doesn't really sell their clothing. Instead, in order to 'purchase' a Red Rail piece, you have to donate blood. The first collection, featuring 20 (amazing!) outfits from 18 designers was just shown on Friday at Amsterdam International Fashion Week, as seen in the photos above (from Peter Stigter). The runway show was the first peek that potential blood donors had of The Red Rail collection, and photos (and the respective designer's CV) are now posted on the Red Rail website. So the deal is, after a potential 'customer' has donated blood, they can email Red Rail with their donor number and indicate the piece that they would like to 'purchase'. As the point of the project is to increase the number of blood donors as much as possible, the pieces will be 'sold' via a lottery system, so a donor's email counts as an entry into a draw for each respective piece in the collection. I for one would be emailing The Red Rail pronto to see if multiple donations meant I could have multiple entries, as there are quite a few bloody good pieces in the collection (go ahead and groan). And, as you're able to donate blood every 56 days, you could get in a nice number of entries in the next 6 months that the lottery is open (the lucky 'winners' won't be drawn until January). But, alas, I am not Dutch. I think that everyone in the Netherlands should definitely get involved in this, as blood is always needed. And, if you don't want any of the pieces for some crazy reason, I would be happy to provide my address (I'm partial to the vest piece below by Ivona Batuta, and the delightful jeans with suspenders and capillary print tee by Ester van kempen...and that delightful dress and neckpiece by AA[blank]label above at the bottom left).
As for the rest of us, I'd love to see a similar project happen in our own countries. Would you donate blood to save up to three lives...and to get some fantastic clothing?
Go to The Red Rail website here, and email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved and/or for more information.