Do good feel good: The Drop & Shop Clothing Drive Campaign

Article by Marriam M Mossalli

We’ve all felt it. It being the quite common feeling of guilt that comes when it’s already too late. You’ve already charged the hefty amount to your card and signed on the dotted line, cementing your spontaneous splurge on that designer must-have accessory as permanent and irreversible (Note: we’ll save the issue of Saudi’s “No Refund” policy for another article!). It’s only after you leave Al Faisaliyah Towers and are in the car with your driver that you become regrettably aware that you just spent well over his annual salary on your new Zagliani Botox-injected python purse. The ecstatic high of your overindulgence suddenly turns into severe shopper’s remorse.

Well, thankfully for us, Riyadh’s high-end department store, Harvey Nichols, and Atheeb Social Development Division teamed up to help to rid impulsive shoppers, much like myself, of our sudden pangs of conscience! Ok, maybe that’s not why they did it, but it certainly makes me feel better about splurging on my Zag!
The Drop & Shop Clothing Drive Campaign, which was conceptualized by Princess Reema bint Bandar and Princess Maha bint Abdulaziz, is aimed at creating an ongoing initiative to positively benefit the underprivileged members of local Saudi society, while directly involving the more affluent community.

“Drop & Shop was an opportunity to showcase to our local community just how easy it is to contribute to and shape our society for the better,” stated Princess Maha bint Abdulaziz. “We are constantly looking for new ways to innovate, improve and empower our youth and encourage anyone who wants to participate to apply to our Sawa’ed Atheeb Committee, so that they may partake in our upcoming philanthropic initiatives.”
The first “philanthropic initiative” took place this month from June 12 to June 22, during which more than 3,000 denim donations were made by citizens wanting to help the underprivileged, as well as their shopping karma. In return for donating jeans and other denim pieces, individuals received an 11 percent discount on all purchases in celebration of Harvey Nichols 11-year anniversary in Saudi Arabia.

In order to strengthen the involvement of the community, Harvey Nichols and Atheeb Social Development Division enlisted the support of Helpings Hands, a non-profit philanthropic organization based in Riyadh, who are integral in the distribution of the collected items, to a database of 140 disadvantaged families.

The Youth Committee of Atheeb Social Development, Sawa’ed Atheeb, was also heavily involved and took the responsibility of washing all the garments and aiding Helping Hands in the distribution of the pieces. The Kingdom’s Arts and Skills Institute was also recruited into the campaign and contributed via the creative window displays that utilized all the donations, allowing the public to track the rapid progression of the initiative.
Local celebrities, such as comedians, Fahad Al-Butairy and Omar Hussein, and professional football players, Ahmed Otweef, Nawaf Altmyat, and Ahmed Alsoalih, were all in attendance during the lavish launches on the June 11 and June 15. Along with these celebrities Saudi actor Yousef AlJarah, and Reem Racetrack driver promoted and drew attention to the initiative, while also acting as encouragement for their fans and others to participate by donating.
Celebrities donated signed jeans will be sold on the online auction site, ebay, until August 1, giving both the international and local communities the chance to own a pair of their favorite celebrities’ jeans. The auction will run until the start of Ramadan. All the proceeds of the auction are being divided among Helping Hands’ underprivileged families, with a percentage also being allocated to the Sawa’ed Atheeb Committee who will be undertaking an initiative for World Sight Day 2011 on the second Thursday of October.
“The results of our campaign were astounding and exceeded even our own expectations,” stated Princess Reema Bint Bandar, referring to the thousands pairs of jeans collected. “The contribution from the community and its involvement within the initiative was truly the most satisfactory element to ‘Drop & Shop,’ and we aim to continue in this tradition biannually in the hopes of making a sustainable and worthwhile difference to the underprivileged population of the Kingdom.”

Both Helping Hands KSA and Sawa’ed Atheeb will distribute all donated clothing during the Holy Month of Ramadan. The same organizing partners will undertake this initiative biannually — once in summer and again in winter — right before the new collections come out! And, thank God for that because I already have my eye on Lanvin’s Mini Pop Fox Bag!

Arab News article