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Icon of the Week: Kim Waeber

In Icons / December 1, 2014 / 0 Comments


Q) What made you want to make a difference in these women lives?

A) My sister, CEO and Co-founder Kristen, has spent a lot of time in Africa working with both telecommunication and non-profit sectors. She attended a mobile conference where she learned that mobile phones make a huge impact in people’s lives. She learned that people are able to receive mosquito net vouchers via telephones; farmers were able to access market prices for their crops through mobile phones, so they could make sure the buyer is giving them full value for produce. Additionally, she learned about micro-finance loans, which are also issued through mobile phones. Phone ownership allows women to pay loans by pressing a couple of buttons, rather than forcing them to travel to a loan officer which allows them to not lose business by having to close down for a day to make the trip. Healthier babies are also born when the mother has a phone. Doctors are able to send expectant mothers daily updates on what they can be doing to keep their baby healthy while in the womb.

According to a study by GSMA, women in Africa are much less like likely to own a phone compared to their male counterparts. The cost of a mobile handset is the number one barrier to phone ownership. One of the biggest challenges for us is to explain why it is so important for women in Tanzania to own a phone.

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UMANO Phone Interview: “Rock a Pocket. Empower a Kid.”

In Icons / August 16, 2014 / 0 Comments

By: Venita Aspen

How did you come up with the idea?
We’re a brother duo, and we knew our social mission from the jump. Our parents were both teachers and it was a given that we would focus on education. The concept came from the desire to want to do something. We believe that one does not have to choose between doing well and doing good. We don’t have a background in fashion but were inspired by game changing moments while learning about social entrepreneurship.

How do you choose each Pocket Artist?
Virtue cycles start and end with a Giving Trip and we collect drawings. We come back with 800 or more drawings, and start looking at each and every one. We find the drawings that will do the best as PocketArt and then go to work, but one rule protects the drawing- we don’t add or take anything away from the drawing.

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Icon of the Week: Diane Von Furstenberg

In Icons / July 25, 2014 / 0 Comments

By: Gabriela Herstik

Diane Van Furstenberg has been a tidal wave of power in the fashion world since 1972. Diane has always believed in the human spirit and the innate ability that women have to change the world. With nothing but a suitcase full of jersey dresses, Diane was able to spark a revolution in the modern day women’s fashion by creating the wrap dress, and by giving women everywhere the ability and opportunity to dress for themselves.

Diane has been dubbed “the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel,” and for good reason; even after her hiatus from the fashion world ended in 1997, she was able to re-establish her company and create a world renown and iconic fashion house. Today, Diane serves as the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and is also a philanthropist.

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Icon of the Week: Charity for Chavez

In Icons / July 25, 2014 / 0 Comments

By: Venita Aspen

While shopping for a Mother’s Day present a few weeks ago I stumbled upon some brightly colored bracelets at the register. They were Chavez for Charity bracelets. Just by glancing over the display I was able to get from it that 25% of profits from the sale of these bracelets goes to a charity. Each different colored bracelet stands in support of a different charity. I took a picture of the display and told myself that I was going to contact them and feature them on United Colors of Fashion Icon of the Week. Their responses were quick and the interview went very well.

Chaez for charity -1.jpg

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Icon of the Week: BANGS shoes

In Icons / April 18, 2014 / 0 Comments

BY: Anna Mathias

Columbia, SC native Hannah Davis proves that you can be your own boss in your 20s and more importantly you can also create change. As the founder and president of BANGS Shoes, the 26 year old uses her company to mix fashion with social causes. “BANGS isn’t just a shoe company,” Davis said. “There’s a huge mission behind the brand. It stands for a social change that we are trying to put into effect.”

In 2009, after graduating from Clemson University, Davis traveled to Jiangsu Province of Eastern China to teach English. While living there, she noticed many of the Chinese workers and farmers wearing olive green army-style shoes. This working class staple sparked Davis to form a brand that promotes and supports social issues through retail. The company’s name derives from the Chinese character for the word help, which is spelled b-a-n-g. In June 2010, BANGS Shoes was born.

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Icon of the Week: Alaia

In Icons / March 16, 2014 / 0 Comments

BY: Gabriela Herstik

The fashion industry is touched by innovators who never felt the need to walk the beaten path. Designers who have stayed true to their art while maintaining the walk and talk of the fashion scene are far and few, but they are true diamonds in the raw. If there is any man who has truly kept his attention to the style, detail, and direction of his brand without falling to the conformity of the industry, it has been Azzedine Alaia; innovator and father of the bodycon look.

Alaia was born to wheat farmer parents in Southern Tunisia in 1940. Both Alaia and his twin sister were raised by his grandparents. Like many other fashion legends, Alaia cultivated his love for style through the glossy pages of Vogue magazine, and this love manifested itself when he enrolled in Ecole des Beaux- arts de Tunis (a prominent fine arts school) at fifteen, where he studied sculpture.

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Jared Leto’s Monumental Win for Supporting Actor

In Icons / March 4, 2014 / 1 Comment

BY: Gabriela Herstik

Jared Leto - Photo courtesy of

Jared Leto – Photo courtesy of

Jared Leto’s work in the movie “Dallas Buyers Club” was monumental and Oscar worthy. The 42-year-old won the 2014 award for “Best Supporting Actor” for his role as Rayon, a HIV-positive transgender woman. The fact that Leto won as an actor portraying a transgender woman is monumental in itself and it was made even more monumental when put into context. Leto’s pure and honest portrayal in this movie was further coupled with his speech in which he spoke of those who have lost the battle to AIDS, and those who have faced injustice for the people they love. Leto’s acceptance speech offered his support to those fighting these battles in a true and authentic manner. Leto’s message is powerful, true, and clear, and the talented actor is helping to bring awareness to the continuing battle with AIDS and HIV.
United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) wants to thank Leto for playing such a monumental role in Dallas Buyers Club and for fighting against this disease alongside of us.

UCOF Cares
UCOF Cares harnesses the fashion community’s compassion for those suffering with HIV/AIDS to bring relief to victims in developing countries that lack access to adequate medical care. It is estimated that 67% of the 33 million people suffering from HIV/AIDS live in Sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa alone, there are 300,000 children living with HIV/AIDS and another 1.4 million who have been orphaned by the disease. With your support, and with advocates like Leto, we can find the cure for this disease and help stop this epidemic.

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In Icons / February 14, 2014 / 0 Comments

MADONNA -Photo by Octavian Johnson for UCOF

MADONNA -Photo by Octavian Johnson for UCOF

There appears to be nothing that Madonna can’t do. By pushing the boundaries of mainstream music and constantly reinventing her image, the 55-year-old American recording artist has established herself as an incredible pop icon that is here to stay. From her over the top fashion choices (need I remind you of the 1990 Jean Paul Gaultier cone bra?) to her unpredictable stunts (remember her lip lock with Britney Spears during the 2003 VMAs?), the performer has been brilliantly shocking the public her entire career. With over 300 million records sold worldwide, the Material Girl has dominated the music charts for decades. On top of all of her career accomplishments, Madonna still finds time to give back.

In 2006, Madonna and Michael Berg co-founded Raising Malawi. This non-profit organization was formed to help bring an end to the severe poverty and suffering that over one million Malawi orphans and other vulnerable children endure. The foundation supports community-based programs that provide these children and their caregivers with necessities such as nutritious food, proper clothing, safe shelter, formal education and medical care. In addition to this, Raising Malawi collaborates with and supports non-government organizations that offer struggling families opportunities for sustainability in the country. Madonna’s organization works at a grass-roots level in order to ensure that there are dedicated people in the villages who truly know Malawi’s challenges and are capable of providing the help that is needed. In just a little over seven years, the Raising Malawi foundation has been able to make a positive, substantial and lasting impact for hundreds of thousands of children living in poverty.

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In Icons / February 10, 2014 / 1 Comment

There are leaders in the fashion industry who are pioneers in their respective fields as well as innovators in the hybrid field of fashion and philanthropy; Donna Karan is one such authority.

Karan’s colorful upbringing is a large contributor to why she is now one of the most recognizable names in fashion. Born on October 2nd, 1948 in a New York hospital as Donna Ivy Faske, Karan grew up with a model mother and suit designer stepfather and who influenced Karan from a young age. Karan was accepted to the prestigious Parsons School Of Design, and by the time she was at fashion school she had already started selling her own designs at boutiques.

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