In difficult times, we are often reminded of the need to be compassionate. Helping others does not require large gestures, but can take the form of simple assistance or a manifestation of support.
For the local fashion industry, the pandemic has sparked various acts of kindness. Brands and labels have come together to provide for those in need, especially when Malaysia has seen an increase in Covid-19 cases this year.
Modest clothing brand Mimpikita has launched a food bank initiative on its website, where fans of the brand can purchase a box (or even more) of food supplies to donate. Each contained basic necessities like rice, flour, cooking oil, sugar, salt and more.
More than 350 boxes were distributed at the end of July. Mimpikita has worked with various organizations to ensure they reach people in need.
According to the founders, sisters Nurul, Amirah and Syahira Zulkifli, it was about spreading love, kindness and empathy. They launched the initiative to help the less fortunate.
“We understand that people have been struggling for over a year now. The latest Covid-19 outbreak has caused immense stress and undermined the psychological well-being of many. Some lost their jobs and never found their jobs, ”Nurul said.
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“Those who have found work are still trying to catch up. Sometimes we are told that the hardest part is not feeding people, but that families work beyond their financial insecurities and come forward to ask for help, ”she added.
Although their business has been affected, the sisters see it as a passing challenge. Instead, they focused on helping others.
According to them, the label’s community (called #TheKitaGirls) has shown solidarity. They believe that the fashion industry has also grown stronger when needed.
“Every day we saw glimmers of hope, with news that vaccinations were being rolled out across the country. As the crisis gave an idea of what is possible, we were forced to imagine new ways of being with each other. We also had the opportunity to rethink our values and our intentions, ”commented Amirah.
“Most importantly, at this current stage, we need to focus on individuals and families, especially the most vulnerable, who need our help more than ever,” she added.
Other local brands have also mobilized to do their part. Oxwhite has provided support to the front lines in the hope of cheering them up.
The fashion brand sponsored 800 t-shirts with the slogan “I’m a frontline, our work saves lives” to volunteers at vaccination centers across the country through a partnership with online telemedicine provider Doc2Us.
A subsequent independent Oxwhite campaign distributed 1,000 additional T-shirts to doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, police and more.
For founder CK Chang, it was the experience of receiving his Covid-19 vaccine that opened his eyes (and heart) and made him want to help.
“I saw how tireless these volunteers work, and they still managed to keep morale up while doing their jobs. It’s really something that warms my heart and it’s also the main reason why I accepted this sponsorship, ”he explained.
Donating a t-shirt might seem like something insignificant, but he believes that just acknowledging someone’s contribution can have a positive emotional effect in the long run.
“Our front row players have worked very hard and they are without a doubt the heroes of our country. And it’s a little recognition for the heroic deeds they’ve done for all of us, ”Chang said.
Oxwhite also distributed 5,000 reusable masks to the public in June of this year. Another 1,500 were donated to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia.
Jewelry brand Wanderlust + Co, meanwhile, has focused on helping children whose well-being may have been affected by the pandemic.
Project Happy Bags distributed items such as disinfectants, wet wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, cookies, mugs, toys, stationery, books and masks. In other words, items that can contribute to the overall happiness and well-being of a child.
Creative hand-written messages have also been included to cheer up children under lockdown and keep morale high.
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The project has reached children everywhere, from those in foster homes and orphanages to others with long-lasting illnesses who stay in pediatric wards in hospitals.
Founder Jenn Low said she feels the need to help because she is a mother herself. With her daughter, she packed some of the bags that were donated.
“What started as a personal project with my four-year-old daughter, Olivia, turned into a public fundraiser when I received requests on Instagram from Malaysians, including people residing there. ‘foreigner,’ she noted.
“In 24 hours, we received over 400 promised notes from Malaysians and collected over 10,000 RM, or over 62,000 RM (end of July).”
Low added that she sees the project as a complement to food aid initiatives others have started. For her, this highlighted the spirit of generosity and generosity of Malaysia.
“While food aid is essential, what I wanted to do was provide a source of motivation and encouragement for those going through difficult times,” she said.
Learn more about how Malaysians come together to help with Covid-19’s journey to Malaysia during a special Merdeka Day withdrawal.