Hey fashion industry professionals, does all the waste the industry produces give you an existential crisis every time you think about your career choice? Well, step away from that fast-fashion Instagram feed and listen to Amanda Munz explain how to make a difference with her non-profit The Fashion Foundation.
The Fashion Foundation solicits samples and overstock from the fashion industry, and sells them online and from the showroom/store on Long Island. Munz’s business is growing (helped by a New York Times article and an endorsement by Rebecca Minkoff) and the donation boxes are piling up. “I got 1,000 pounds of donated merchandise in the past five weeks!” she says.
“I got 1,000 pounds of donated merchandise in the past five weeks!”
It all started when she was a student at F.I.T. student. Munz interned in the fashion industry and was shocked at how much was thrown away each season. “I constantly saw this trend of overproducing. Our sample closets were piling up, and even after the sample sales and Friends & Family sales, there was still so much left over.” So she went back to school, earned a masters in public administration at Baruch College and launched her non-profit. All at the tender age of 23.
While some companies use The Fashion Foundation as a mere product donation/tax writeoff, others choose to be more involved on a personal level, even helping out in person and meeting recipients of the proceeds.
The Fashion Foundation’s latest initiative is to use proceeds to purchase school supplies for underprivileged kids in Brooklyn, particularly at the neediest schools. “A lot of designers live in Brooklyn and they appreciate the opportunity to help those right in their backyard,” says Munz.
Brooklyn resident Rebecca Minkoff went with Munz and about 70 other industry folk to and out school supplies at a Brooklyn school. “It was an amazing experience and we got such great feedback from her staff. I’m currently working with an elementary school in Brooklyn that just got a grant to build a library, but they can’t open it because they don’t have a single book in it. Can you imagine? My mission is to use The Fashion Foundation to help this school fill its library with books!”
Munz is thrilled to be making a difference, no matter how small the dent, but having come from inside the fashion industry, she knows there is no quick fix. “People [from outside fashion] ask me all the time, ‘Why does the industry overproduce,?’ but it will never change, particularly with fast fashion,” says Munz. “We have those samples for a reason because we need to get those products into the store. But the bigger question is: how can we put those samples to good use?”