Red Rail: Would you pay with blood?

There was a whole new show at last months Amsterdam Fashion Week, The Red Rail. A unique collection of 20 outfits from 18 up and coming fashion designers sashayed down the catwalk: softly draped pink pastel tops, high waisted trousers, ruffles and statement silhouettes for women, and graphic tees and pale, tailored trousers for men. What made these garments different to anything else at Amsterdam Fashion Week is that you won’t find them in the shops for sale. If you want any of these items, you have to give blood.

No it’s not a humane way of feeding the vampires, but a new initiative by Stichting Nobel, bringing together a collective of Dutch designers willing to design and donate clothing for the cause. The aim is to promote the act of blood donation to the health services, encouraging a new, young generation to give their blood to those in need. Most people would agree that donating blood is a good thing to do, but how many people actually get around to it? Giving blood is giving life, and an idea such as this could prove to be a huge boost to reach the young generation.

So how does it work? The clothes were shown at Amsterdam Fashion Week on 16th July and have since appeared on the website. Anyone wishing to take part has six months to donate their blood, and once done, they can email the organisers stating the item they have their eye on, contact details, and the all important donor number. Due to the limited number of items available, a lottery system will be adopted to award the clothes to happy donors early next year. In January 2011, all 20 outfits will be displayed in the Young designers United Store for two weeks to be viewed.

The clothes were designed by emerging new talent in the fashion industry, with Ellen Benders, Ivona Batuta and Studio JUX topping the list. They worked under the gaze and guidance of Dutch designer Claes Iversen and Angelika Groenendijk Wasylewski from Young Designers United.

The Red Rail is an innovative idea and sure to be a success. Not only has it, already, raised awareness for blood donation, but it also celebrates new design talent. Save a life and get a new dress in exchange for giving blood? Sounds like a good deal to me.

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