vogue + us = yoga for born free on mother’s day
posted: May 7, 2014
Kenyan-born, Brooklyn-based Wangechi Mutu is, like all of us, somebody’s child. And, like many of us, the acclaimed visual artist is also somebody’s mother—two people’s, in fact. No wonder Vogue editrix Anna Wintour and fashion maven Diane von Furstenburg thought Mutu was the perfect person to collaborate with 22 of the world’s most famous mother-designers to highlight a global effort to eliminate the transmission of HIV from mother to child.
Artist and sculptor Wangechi Mutu; image via Hammer
The facts around mother-to-child HIV transmission are staggering. CNN reported that, according to the United Nations, every day in sub-Saharan Africa 700 children are infected with HIV, mostly through their mothers, while the New York Observer said that 90 per cent of HIV infections in children occur during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Without proper treatment, half of these children will die before their second birthdays.
One pill, however, could prevent 98 per cent of transmissions of the virus, and there’s already been a 35 per cent decrease in the number of new HIV infections among children from 2009-2012.
“It’s…the right place, at the right time to leverage the resources that are available and make changes that save millions of lives,” said Born Free founder and chairman John Megrue.
Born Free is a private sector-led initiative that has set the ambitious deadline of eradicating mother-to-child transmission by December 21, 2015. Now, it has rallied with the fashion community to raise awareness and support for this cause, and there are more than a few big names on board; Miuccia Prada, Stella McCartney, Tory Burch, Vera Wang, Victoria Beckham, Gisele Bundchen, Jenna Lyons and Liya Kebede, to name a few.
“It’s amazing that we can see the end of HIV in our generation,” said Tory Burch of her involvement.
Nigerian-born model Oluchi Orlandi and her son, Ugo
Mutu, whose large-scale works regularly feature the female body in abstract patterns, contributed two prints to the collection. “Born Free is an idea that came from a place of deep respect for the delicate cycle of life. How incredible to be able to work with gifted designers, who as mothers recognize what the devastating loss of a child could mean and how easily that loss can be avoided,” she said.
One of Mutu’s many fascinating prints, which was leveraged in the Born Free collection for Shopbop in this frock by designer Alberta Feretti
The dynamic team of designers used Mutu’s prints to create an exclusive collection for Shopbop (with a piece from each designer for both mother and child), with 100 per cent of the proceeds being used to move manpower and medicines on the ground in sub-Saharan Africa.
We are honoured to join Vogue, the many talented designers, Ms. Wangechi, MAC, Mac Aids Fund and Shopbop/Amazon in this cause by offering yoga at this weekend’s children’s fair organized by Vogue in New York City to mark the launch of the Born Free collection on Mother’s Day.
Kate is a writer, editor and fast-talker (literally), who thinks that life is profoundly better when she’s outside—especially when there’s a board beneath her feet. Join her on the ride on Twitter and Instagram.