Donate for Design: The Red Rail

“By giving your blood, you are giving life; someone needs blood every two seconds, every day to survive,” The Red Rail's web site reads. Started this year by the Nobel Foundation and sponsored by the DOEN Foundation, the project gives blood donors the chance to be awarded for their altruistic act with a fashion design especially made for The Red Rail. The idea behind the brand was to encourage the young people of the Netherlands to donate blood, a generation that is not donating in the same capacity as prior generations, which could result in a major shortage. Rising stars in the design world collaborated on the collection, which is overseen by Claes Iversen. The 18 designers created 20 pieces for their July 16 show at Amsterdam International Fashion Week. The pieces fall in the categories of menswear, womenswear and accessories, so no one is left out when it comes to donor appreciation.

Jasmijn Andringa, of The Red Rail, is very pleased with the reception they've received. “People really love the fact that we have created a concept like this to help tackle an issue like an imminent shortage of blood donors,” she said. “You need to think of other ways to address young people and I think fashion is a great vehicle.”

Indeed, The Red Rail is an easy topic of conversation, since most designers ask for a credit card, not a bodily fluid. However, The Red Rail is trying to address a larger issue, the lack of blood donation in the Netherlands, and thinks this is a great way to grab the public's attention. “Buying fashion with your blood is such an unusual thing to do… People have never heard about it before,” said Andringa. In Red Rail's research, Andringa said, the number one reason people didn't donate blood wasn't because they didn't want to, it was because it never crossed their mind. “It is not something people have in their frame of reference, because unless a close friend or family member becomes sick and is in need of blood, you don't have to deal with this topic on a regular basis,” she said. The Red Rail hopes their creative take on blood donor awareness will get people to think twice about giving blood.

If fashion savvy donors didn't catch a glimpse of the designs at Fashion Week, they'll have another chance this winter. In January, the designs will hang at the Young Designers United store for two weeks.

For a chance to grab one of the designs, simply email your donor number, contact information and favorite design to theredrail@stichtingnobel.nl . The six-month-long lottery started on July 16. In January, 20 lucky donors will walk away with pieces by some of the most innovative Dutch designers.

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The Red Rail/PurpleNeon for LadyLux

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