Charles & Keith, viral Singapore teen send powerful International Women's Day message
Singapore fashion brand pledges US$100,000 in support of UN Women's Storytelling for Gender Equity campaign
Singapore-based Filipina teenager Zoe Gabriel has joined the International Women's Day (IWD) campaign for fashion brand Charles & Keith.
Gabriel, who went viral in January for describing the Charles & Keith bag gifted by her father as “luxury”, was tapped by the Singaporean fashion brand to be one of its models to support the United Nations Women's Storytelling for Gender Equity campaign, which falls on International Women's Day on Wednesday, 8 March.
Charles & Keith posted a photo of Gabriel holding a purple Alia bag, along with a short message from her, on 4 March.
“Women are like flowers: our time and needs to grow may not always align, but that is okay. We are like fields of poppy and lakes of lotus – diverse and bold in our differences, beautiful in our own ways. This international women’s day, let us celebrate with compassion. Let us celebrate equality through equity, the way flowers do,” Gabriel wrote.
Promoting gender equality
Charles & Keith launched a special edition of one of its best-selling handbag styles, The Alia, in a purple hue in support of the UN Women's Storytelling for Gender Equality project. The colour purple is historically linked with efforts to achieve gender equality.
Charles & Keith believes that storytelling is a powerful tool for advocacy and promoting equality, and aims to support women's voices in the Asia-Pacific region through this partnership with UN Women.
The brand has pledged a donation of US$100,000 (S$135,000), including 20% of all proceeds from the special edition handbag, to fund the UN's gender equality programme.
Gabriel, a Filipina teenager based in Singapore, drew flak on social media after she shared in her TikTok account an S$80 bag she bought for herself and described it as a “luxury” item. However, the reaction of Charles & Keith was different – they were “impressed” by how she handled the situation, as Charles and Keith Wong, one of the founders of the brand, also came from humble beginnings.
A few days after her post went viral, the Singaporean brand invited Gabriel for lunch, with the founders welcoming her to their headquarters for a tour. She then excitedly shared some of the gifts they gave her, with a note that read: “We hope that it will remind you of this special moment where you inspired so many others to be kind, compassionate, and confident.”
The Wong brothers founded the brand in 1990 after working at their parents’ shoe star. What started out as an outlet store at the old Amara Shopping Centre in Singapore grew into the big brand it is today.
Yahoo Southeast Asia tried to reach out to Gabriel who was unable to give a comment as she is still recuperating from a bout of food poisoning, according to her recent post on Instagram.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and lifestyle writer who focuses on politics, the economy, and pop culture. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.
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