The UK-based designer behind a new, sustainable fashion brand has thrown his support behind RAAH. Fest, a global online music festival to combat human rights abuses and social injustice.
Run solely by volunteers who connected during lockdown united by one common goal, RAAH. Fest aims to help victims of displacement, human trafficking and racial discrimination.
On Saturday 24 October, the event will be streamed online and aims to raise £1million for 20 UK charities and social enterprises that promote equality, including The Prince’s Trust, Choose Love and Migrant Voice.
Lawrence Gonzales, from Birmingham, started AKONOMY earlier this year, when lockdown meant he was no longer able to access his studio, where he produces custom, high-end pieces for his AKO label.
The 25-year-old, who moved to the UK from the Philippines aged four, said: “Forced to work from home, I purchased printing equipment and started to create a collection of statement T-shirts. The concept behind AKONOMY is that one statement can change someone’s perception: effectively changing their life and way of thinking.
“AKONOMY has joined forces with RAAH because of how aligned our goals are, not only for humanity but for the world we live in. I have met many beautiful people with the same values, views and missions. We are all one race, the human race.
“AKONOMY is working with RAAH to create merchandise with statements that can help bring awareness to creating a better world for everyone. We have the power to give a voice to the voiceless. We are stronger together than divided. It’s all about evolving who you are, all about clothing consciousness.”
AKONOMY uses t-shirts made by Earthpositive, which are manufactured solely using sustainable energy generated from wind and solar power. Made from organic cotton, ethically traded, with carbon-neutral manufacturing means they are 100 per cent sustainable.
The first product that will be available to purchase will be the ‘Stronger Together’ T-shirts At £20. This will be followed by bucket hats, bandanas, socks, jumpers, hoodies and more.
The eight-hour festival will feature performances from 30 artists, including Gabrielle Aplin, Joy Crookes, Inoxia and Poppy Ajudha, and is expected to attract more than 200,000 viewers.
It will include documentaries and personal stories from people who have experienced migration and displacement, human trafficking, racial discrimination or other injustices.
RAAH. Fest is the brainchild of Birmingham-based Jasminder Odusanya, whose methods of helping her friends facing migration displacement were forced to go digital by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Jasminder said: “I first thought about launching a festival after seeing many of my friends experience first-hand the issues the festival is highlighting. I was tired of seeing them go through the trauma of being deported or detained unfairly. I’d had enough and decided to do something about it by setting up RAAH. Fest.”
“I’ve been a carer, cleaner, shelf stacker, youth worker, but this is the first major event I’ve organised. The response from volunteers has been overwhelming. We now have over 80 people from across the UK and Europe helping with everything from press and social media to finding performers.”
RAAH. Fest is organised solely by volunteers, many of whom have been directly affected by the issues it aims to put under the spotlight and raise vital funds for.
The organisers hope it will become an annual event and plan to create a new charity, RAAH, to support human rights and social justice issues throughout the year.
You can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/RAAHFestFund
What is RAAH Fest?
RAAH. Fest is an online music and arts festival taking place on 24 October from 3 to 11pm UK GMT. It is a female-led movement supported by over 80 volunteers from across the globe. On the day you will see:
- Over 30 performers (all pre-recorded) – from international acts, local bands, filmmakers and artists.
- Documentaries raising awareness on the highlighted causes.
- Real-life speaker testimonials – ranging from sex trafficking survivors to inspirational accounts of migration.
- Celebrity and ambassador endorsement videos.
- Q&A sessions.
- Short promotional videos reinforcing the positive impact of the charities.
RAAH. Fest aims to:
- Raise awareness of the refugee crisis, human trafficking, racial discrimination and many more causes striving for equality.
- Raise £1,000,000 to support 20 charities and social enterprises, and fund grants for related grassroots projects.
- Invest in the social enterprise RAAH.
Why RAAH. Fest is happening:
- There are an estimated 40.3 million victims trapped in modern-day slavery, either in forced labour or forced marriages (ref. stopthetraffick.org)
- 71 per cent of slavery victims are women and girls (ref. freetheslaves.net)
- 25 per cent of slaves are children aged under-18 (ref. freetheslaves.net)
- From 2018-2019 the number of British people identified as being victims of modern day slavery increased by 72 per cent in a year (ref. The Independent)
Facebook – www.facebook.com/raahfest
Instagram – @raahfest,