Fashion, music and great causes converge on Agenda 2013

Krochet Kids show off their wares at Agenda 2013

By Laura Ferreiro

It’s always fascinating to see how brands use music to inspire fashion, and earlier this month we got a sneak peek at the summer and fall collections of nearly 600 streetwear, lifestyle, action sports and accessory brands at the Agenda trade show in Long Beach.

Several brands, including Converse and Altru, illustrated how they work with musicians to inspire their footwear and clothing lines. What’s more, we learned about some awesome brands and non-profits that creatively use fashion and accessories as a way to support amazing causes.

LSTN is a charitable headphone company that has created some seriously handsome headphones from reclaimed wood. This means they use leftover wood from furniture makers that would have otherwise been thrown away. What’s more, for every pair of headphones purchased, LSTN gives proceeds to a charity partner to fund a child’s medical attention and a custom-fit hearing aid. So while listening to music on your cool, environmentally conscious headphones, you can dance to your heart’s content knowing you helped save the hearing of a person in need.

Krochet Kids is a non-profit that sells handmade crocheted apparel and accessories (including adorable beanies, bags and scarves) made by women in impoverished communities around the world. Proceeds from the sales of the items go directly back to the communities to create a cycle of employment, education and mentorship. We likey.

Falling Whistles founder Sean Carasso

Falling Whistles have turned whistles into a fashion statement and strong symbols of protest. Through their unique whistle necklaces, they encourage people to “be a whistleblower for peace.” While traveling in the Congo, Falling Whistles founder Sean Carasso, met five boys who had been child soldiers who went into battle armed only with a whistle. After returning home to the U.S. he decided to create Falling Whistles as a way to support peace in the Congo and work with Congolese visionaries to end corruption and war.

The People’s Movement showcased some seriously stylish and unique shoes made entirely of recycled and re-purposed materials at Agenda. Founded by surfers and environmentalists, the Solana Beach-based company partners with with Bombastic Plastix, using old plastic bags found in Bali for its shoe applications and packaging. They’re also working with the non-profit 5 Gyres to support its mission of educating people about positive alternatives to harmful single-use plastics. Keep an eye on The People’s movement — they’re planning some exciting projects combining fashion, music and great causes very soon!

By now, most people have heard of TOMS, the footwear company that pioneered the one-for-one model, giving a pair of shoes to a child in an impoverished country for every pair purchased. TOMS has since started selling sunglasses using a similar model, giving medical treatment, glasses or eye surgery to someone in need for every pair of sunglasses they sell. I’ve been a fan and avid wearer of TOMS’ uber-comfortable shoes for a couple of years now, and I was excited to see their gorgeous new collection, which offers a few stylish surprises while helping kids in need get shoes, attend school and stay healthy. That’s one kickin’ shoe!

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