Lauren Bush, the Ivy League-educated model-designer-philanthropist, knows a thing or two about ways to give back during holiday season.
Her FEED charity project, which works to combat childhood hunger worldwide, has grown into one of the fashion industry’s favorite causes, partnering with brands such as Bobbi Brown, Judith Leiber, and Bergdorf Goodman.
This season, Bush (one of whose uncles is George W. Bush, the former president) has embarked on a “12 Days, 12 Ways to FEED’’ campaign, a “responsible’’ gift guide at www.feedprojects.com, where purchases help those in need.
Q. Tell us about your 12-day holiday campaign for FEED.
A. We wanted to launch 12 Days to engage people and give them holiday gift ideas [from FEED] for their loved ones. It’s something we did in a smaller scale last year, but this season we’re revealing a lot of new products and partnerships each day that give people opportunities to give back through consumer products.
Q. FEED has really grown and transformed over the past few years. Do you feel like you’ve found yourself developing a certain style or aesthetic you follow when approaching new items to add to the line?
A. The original product concept of FEED was a bag that really rings true to the cause - a bag made of burlap, a material typically used to transport food rations, and organic cotton. When expanding the line, we try to stay true to that aesthetic. When we work with a luxury product that’s beautiful and high-end, we still like to give it that rustic FEED aesthetic.
Q. Where do you see the line expanding?
A. We’d like to explore technology ideas and new product categories. If you have a FEED bag, you might not need another. But we did a line of reusable bowls and lunch totes with Pottery Barn and people responded really well to that. We’d like to offer people as many different ways to raise awareness as possible.
Q. A lot of folks can be hesitant or skeptical when purchasing items that have charitable ties. What advice do you have for shopping for gifts that give back?
A. Do your research and know where the money is going to go from the gift. I think people respond to FEED because we make it easy for people to see where a very tangible donation is going for each product sold. I think buying these types of gifts is a two-step process: I think ultimately people have to actually like what they’re gifting, so that’s step one. And step two is to support a cause that you really care about.
Q. You’re a newlywed [Bush tied the knot last month with David Lauren, son of fashion titan Ralph Lauren]. What are you hoping for this holiday season?
A. I think when you come off a wedding, where there’s a registry and you ask for all the plates and knives that you could ever want - I would say a donation is where I’m at. I feel very blessed this year but in terms of kitchenware, I’m completely taken care of at the moment.