Zadig & Voltaire is supporting those struggling with mental illness throughout the pandemic in the best way it knows how.
A shot from the Art is Hope X LA Dance Project collaboration
With tough times affecting every corner of the world, Zadig & Voltaire has used its international acclaim to collaborate with artists and performers of varying mediums to create personalized capsule collections. After working closely with the American Red Cross to help frontline workers at the start of coronavirus pandemic, Zadig & Voltaire began looking for ways to support customers at home once it became clear the shutdown would last longer than a few weeks. The Parisian fashion house launched its Art is Hope collection, from which 100% of the proceeds go toward supporting mental health and the arts, in May and has since highlighted seven artists and collectives with personal capsules that complement their creative styles and discuss their mental health journeys throughout the pandemic.
“We asked what other tragedies and needs are going to come out of this, and mental health was a big one that we saw across the board,” says Erin Pepe, senior VP of digital and marketing. From their brainstorm, Artistic Director Cecilia Bönström and CEO Chris Tate began reaching out to artists who were friends of the brand, and Art is Hope was born. They began working with Venezuelan graffiti artist Jormi Graterol, who created the logo and handpainted from her apartment almost all of the custom Art is Hope pieces.
The goal of the collection was to use art as a tool to uplift and inspire people who are fighting mental health battles or experiencing them for the first time in isolation. Art is a central influence in the designs at Zadig & Voltaire, and the brand also believes that art is central to our survival through these unprecedented tough times. “Art is one thing that really didn’t close through all this,” says Pepe. “It can still be a nice way of escapism, and you can pause and appreciate that, and that plays an important role in mental health.”
Each month Zadig & Voltaire has highlighted a different artist, giving them full range to design their own collection from store pieces and Graterol’s designs, as well as telling their artistic experience of navigating the shutdown. In addition to Graterol and Bönström’s collections, Brooklyn-based tattoo artist Amanda Wachob, Najee Dorsey and Khalif Thompson from Black Art in America, the LA Dance Project and PlayLab Inc. have all collaborated with the brand to raise money for the organizations of their choice.
The store has helped raise money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness in New York City, Black Art in America and the LADP, offering 100% of the profits from each artist’s capsule to each, as well as 10% from the rest of the store’s products.
“It can be great for one’s mental health to know you’re not alone and that it’s been a struggle for everybody,” says Pepe. “It was interesting to see how similarly people were dealing with the pandemic and how they found solace in art.”
Most recently, the brand worked with LADP on a collection inspired by dancers’ off-duty looks in order to raise money for its Drive-in Dance performances, the socially distanced adaptation of its annual fundraising gala that Zadig & Voltaire has been co-sponsoring since November. The Art is Hope collaborations will continue to create and donate throughout the year and into 2021. “We had an initial gut reaction of, ‘What can we do? This is crazy,’” says Pepe, “and so far it’s been a great array of creatives and support across the board.”
Photography by: Photo by Josh S. Rose/Courtesy of Zadig & Voltaire