While we may be socially distanced as we view virtual Bridal Fashion Week, designers are coming together for the greater good (virtually, of course). Justin Alexander, Savannah Miller, and Viktor & Rolf are a few of the bridal brands that are joining forces through Vow Pro, a new initiative that unites wedding professionals in order to put an end to child marriage.
On Friday (Oct. 9), leading up to their virtual show, the Justin Alexander Luxury Group held a roundtable discussion to raise money for Vow to End Child Marriage, the organization in charge of the Vow Pro initiative. Vow ambassador Princess Mabel van Oranje of the Netherlands led the discussion and was joined by Justin Alexander’s CEO and creative director Justin Warshaw, partner and development manager Joshua Grimes, and Viktor & Rolf’s CEO Andrea Collesei.
The virtual townhall came as an effort to bring awareness to Vow and the facts surrounding child marriage. According to Vow, more than 12 million girls all over the world are married before the age of 18, some being as young as 8 years old. Child brides are often married to an older man they do not choose themselves and experience abuse throughout the marriage.
In addition to spreading awareness through social media, many of the designers involved also pledged to donate a percentage of sales from their bridal collections, as well as dresses, to the organization. One of Vow’s partners, Reem Acra, will even donate a fixed 10 percent of their sales from the “Paradise” dress.
Vow wants to give all women the option to marry who they want when they want, so “100 percent” of donations to the organization will go directly to projects in countries where these weddings are taking place. The money is distributed by Girls First Fund, a donor collaborative that encourages community-led efforts to stop child marriage around the world.
While van Oranje described her own wedding as “an absolutely wonderful day,” she went on to say that sadly not every woman has that same experience. “This is across continents, cultures, and religions,” she said. “For them, their wedding day is the day they have to leave school if they were ever allowed to go to school. It is a day when they have to go live with a man, whom they very often haven’t chosen themselves, and in many cases is older than they are. It is the day that they might get pregnant even though their bodies are not ready to give birth and they are really still children.”
In honor of International Day of the Girl, which took place yesterday (Oct. 11), Vow also created the “#VowForGirls” campaign to encourage other women to post in support of ending child marriage and raise money with the help of partners Crate and Barrel and Sundance Now.
And as brides-to-be are enjoying the newest collections heading down the runways this month, they too can easily get involved in the fight to end child marriage. You can sign up to give a percentage of your registry gifts to Vow with no additional cost to you or your guests. So, let’s make sure every bride has a choice.