Nassau, Bahamas – 2nd September, 2008: Owen Bethel, President of Mode Îles, Ltd., founder and organizer of Islands of the World Fashion Week, announced today that the Humanitarian Designer Award will be presented to Kenneth Cole and Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. during Islands of the World Fashion Week in November, 2008.
Mr. Bethel stated that “in keeping with the event’s focus on the global issues of the education of youth on HIV/AIDS, and poverty alleviation, in line with the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it was felt that no other fashion designer personified so explicitly the concern for these issues through their creative integration in his designs and marketing initiative than Kenneth Cole. His innovative approach to addressing and drawing attention to the issues is both outstanding and poignant.
Mr. Cole took the bold step as a vanguard in the fashion industry and essentially turned his label into an effective educational tool on the scourge of HIV/AIDS, calling everyone to action in the fight against the pandemic. He has also stood out in the fight against poverty with his initiatives in the inner city of New York. Mr. Cole has allowed both his label and stores to be used without reservation in getting the message across.” In 2007 the New York stores served as a distribution point for the first ever city-sanctioned condoms, commonly known as the NYC Condom, in the United States of America. The launch of this city-wide condom initiative was paralleled with the release of a new line of tee shirts and boxer shorts designed by Kenneth Cole. Each contained a condom-size pocket and a discreet woven label with the tagline written by Kenneth Cole and reading: “Safety Instructions: This Garment And its Contents Should Be Worn Whenever Conceivable.” In 2005 he was instrumental in the launch of the “We All Have AIDS” public service promotional campaign during World AIDS Day.
Kenneth Cole, the philanthropist and humanitarian, believes that “it is great to be known for your shoes. It is even better to be recognized for your soul.” He has been consistent and deliberate in his fusion of fashion and social action, and has served as Chairman of The American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmfAR) and as a member of the board of the homeless organization, HELP USA.
Mr. Bethel continued: “It is an honour for us that Mr. Cole has agreed to accept this award at the premiere of this event and thereby be the first recipient of the award. By this selection we have set the standard high for those designers who would wish to follow in being considered for the award, a search that will certainly be worldwide going forward. The presentation of the award will be marked by the display of several select designs from the Kenneth Cole collection. The award itself has been uniquely designed and crafted by Waterford Crystal of Ireland.”
Islands of the World Fashion Week will take place 5th – 8th November, 2008 at the historic British Colonial Hilton in Nassau and the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, The Bahamas. Three international guest designers, Peter Ingwersen of Noir Illuminati II from Denmark, Nick Verreos of Nikolaki from the United States, and Kevan Hall also from the United States of America, will present their collections in catwalk shows alongside 36 new and established designers from 13 island nations around the world. The event is endorsed by UNESCO as it promotes cultural diversity and dialogue, and will highlight the global issues of the environment and climate change, the education of youth on HIV/AIDS, and poverty alleviation, particularly as they impact small island states. Initiatives in this regard will be channeled through the two charitable organizations, Small Island States Foundation and YouthAIDS.
For further information, please contact Ms. Arianne Etuk or Ms. Rekenya Dean at 1-242-356-6133.