Today Giorgio Armani is guest-editor of The Independent newspaper and half of all the profits go to the Global Fund to fight Aids. The headline is "NOT a fashion statement", but that is not exactly true With a free Kate Moss poster for every reader, George Clooney on the cover of the magazine, Ashley Judd praying in Madagascar and Leonardo DiCaprio choosing his top ten movies, we have some serious celebrity power here. Armani, in his editorial, says "I make no claim to be an expert on world affairs, and I am entirely aware that, as a fashion designer, I am involved in an industry which many consider—quite rightly—to be essentially ephemeral in the impact it has on most people's lives". As a child, he saw his friend killed by a shell, and he was burned from head to toe; as a result "I fear for a world where the innocence of childhood is eroded by war and poverty". Sub-titled "The Africa Issue", there are some heart-rending stories and statistics about the struggles of African women to raise their families and just survive. Women are the backbone of African society, yet they are excluded from decision-making, land-owning and education. Their literacy rate is 53%, only 15% use contraception and 13M have Aids. But there are success stories. The Millennium Villages Project can save villages at a cost of only $110 per person. Bill Gates says that the growing research on oral AIDS prevention drugs is very promising. Inspirational African leaders in the fields of music, literature, politics, science and business are profiled. To bolster this, the RED campaign is coming out with a new Converse shoe, made of african mudcloth, Armani is showing a whole new RED collection, and Gap has a dress by Roland Mouret, all with varying percentages of the profits going to the Global Fund ( Gap is the highest donor, contributing half the profits to the Fund).
The last words go to George Clooney ("actor, director,campaigner,icon"). Lamenting the lack of publicity given to the situation in Darfur, his father said it needed celebrity power to raise the issue. George replied: "Why don't I be Elizabeth Taylor, you be the reporter, and let's see what attention we can raise". And that's what this worthwhile edition of The Independent has done. :: The (Red) Independent