It started as an attempt by four friends, all women professionals in the New York fashion world, to raise money for relief efforts after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan. It quickly became what one industry observer labeled a “philanthropic powerhouse” — raising $400,000 for humanitarian causes in two years.
Launched by Julie Gilhart, Kikka Hanazawa, Miki Higasa, and Tomoko Ogura, the venture was initially known as Fashion Girls for Japan, a nonprofit charity that capitalized on the power of the fashion industry, through sample sales and other fundraisers, to lend a helping hand. That first effort was such a success that when Hurricane Sandy struck New York, the women rebranded as Fashion Girls for Humanity and partnered with Waves for Water to join post-Sandy rebuilding efforts in the U.S. and assist with water filter distribution in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.
Today, FGFH has expanded its mission to bring humanitarian services and funds to communities in need by mobilizing a worldwide network of fashion and design industry professionals.