(Photo by Tony Abraham)
Ashley Biden has made her foray into both fashion and social entrepreneurship with a single venture, launched in partnership with flash-sale site Gilt during New York Fashion Week.
It’s good news for grassroots initiatives in Wilmington communities and the entrepreneurs at their helms.
Biden, who has spent the past 15 years in social work and currently serves as the executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice, announced her new venture Livelihood in New York on Tuesday. There, the daughter of former Vice President Joe Biden and Second Lady Jill Biden introduced what she called “America’s coziest and sleekest hoodie” to a room full of family, friends and collaborators.
The hoodies are produced ethically and sold exclusively on Gilt, but it’s the mission behind the brand that should catch the attention of Delawareans. Livelihood aims to be much more than socially conscious apparel — it’s an enterprise that hopes to help create social equity in Wilmington’s underserved communities. Here’s how:
- A portion of the proceeds from hoodie sales are deposited in a fund at the Delaware Community Foundation.
- Through the foundation, grants will be made to projects in Wilmington and Anacostia, D.C.
- Projects that receive funding will be selected by people from those communities.
- Livelihood will keep up with the impact of those local projects on its website, as well as provide resources and information for aspiring social entrepreneurs.
From reflectors embedded on sleeves that catch sunlight with a raised fist to the Livelihood logo, everything about the venture looks to be intentional and mission-driven.
“You’ll notice in the logo there’s an arrow [in the logo], and that’s symbolic for two reasons,” said Biden at the launch. One of those reasons is that between her brothers Beau and Hunter, Biden said there was a family joke that her name should have been arrow. The second, she said, was inspired more directly by the passing of her brother Beau in May of 2015.
“I feel like I put my grief into art and into this concept. When my brother passed, … life dragged me down and I had no other choice but to shoot forward,” she said. “The arrow represents my father, the three little arrows are Beau, Hunt and me, and mom is the rod that runs through us.”
— Technical.ly Del (@technicallyDE) February 8, 2017
In addition to support from big names like Rev. Al Sharpton and musician Paul Shaffer (both of whom made appearances at the launch), Livelihood has garnered celebrity endorsements from folks like Ben Affleck and Biden’s fellow Wilmingtonian, actress Aubrey Plaza.
Wilmington leaders came out in full force, as well. We’ll keep you posted on Livelihood’s goals of boosting grassroots initiatives throughout the city — starting in the Riverside projects.
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