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    Posted December 11, 2013 by
    new York, New York
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Tech talk

    Before the Label is crowdfunding fashion - and social activism

    Before the Label just wrapped up their first round of successful campaigns, which included handbag designer MRYL who won an American Express award for her designs, and two other very special campaigns - for charity. The company helped Sakhi for South Asian Women and Empact Northwest raise money for their charitable works - through crowdfunding fashion.

    To the co-founders, Benish Shah and Uzma Kaleem, crowdfunding fashion for charities seemed completely in line with the mission of Before the Label. "Fashion creates conversations, and for designers that conversation helps build their brand. For charities, that conversation helps build awareness. We help charities develop designs that are conversation worthy," says Benish Shah, co-founder of Before the Label. It's also about mitigating the risk. "Charities, like designers, have to invest substantial capital up front to create apparel and then hope that it sells. We eliminate that upfront cost for both designers and charities - nothing is produced until a campaign is funded," notes Uzma Kaleem, COO of Before the Label.

    The campaign for an art-tee designed by a NYC artist for Empact Northwest reached almost 100% within 48 hours of launching. For Sakhi for South Asian women, a domestic violence charity based in New York, the response for their custom printed hope scarf was extremely positive. Their supporters kept talking about how they were excited to wear the scarf. For both brands, it wasn't just about fundraising, it was about brand raising.

    The team behind Before the Label notes that fashion tech is way to reduce waste in the fashion industry while increasing quality and mitigating risk. They are doing it for fashion designers, and now for creating fashion for a cause. "It's about getting the audience involved in what you are doing and why you are doing it. Each designer on the platform crowdfunding their brand item by item - and each charity is creating conversation, item by item," says Benish.

    The team has launched three new socially focused fashion campaigns for December. One is for Dress for Success for South Central Pennsylvania. You can learn more about Before the Label's Fashion for a Cause campaigns here:

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