POZ Exclusives : Activist Chic - by LaToya Johnson

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June 3, 2009

Activist Chic

by LaToya Johnson

Estelle, Dangerous Muse and other pop luminaries team with H&M and Designers Against AIDS for the 2009 Fashion Against AIDS collection.

H&M and Designers Against AIDS (DAA) rolled out the red carpet for stars such as Estelle and Dangerous Muse and Real Housewife of New York Kelly Killoren Bensimon at last week’s launch of their 2009 Fashion Against AIDS (FAA) collection in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The clothing line is the centerpiece of the FAA campaign, which raises HIV/AIDS funds and generates awareness among youth by tapping celebrities to design T-shirts, T-shirt dresses, tank tops and body suits boasting safe-sex messages.

“[Young people] always seem to be interested in fashion, so if you link that with AIDS, you can get their interest,” said DAA representative Diane Dalhuisen. “Instead of just giving them boring brochures, you give them fashion and a good message.”

In the United States, more than 1.1 million people were living with HIV at the close of 2008, and about 250,000 were unaware of their status. R&B songstress Estelle gave POZ her thoughts as to why people aren’t getting tested. “Some people are scared of needles,” she explained, pointing out the common misperception that modern HIV tests require blood to be drawn. “Some people are scared of hearing the truth. I feel like if you know the truth you can do something about it. So I would rather go ahead and get tested and figure it out. You know…. Be brave!” Estelle’s feminine tank is tatted with the slogan, “Life is too short—Have sex be safe.”

Fellow campaigners and electronic duo Dangerous Muse told reporters their T-shirt was branded with a condom-filled heart because it symbolizes the unity of safe sex and love. “We wanted a shirt that was relevant to the campaign,” said Tom Napack of Dangerous Muse. “These days everyone wants it all,” added Mike Furey, the duo’s other half. “[Our T-shirt] is about wanting it all but being safe about it.”

“American Boy” singer Estelle models
her shirt design for the 2009 Fashion Against AIDS
collection. Photo credit: Daniel Jackson/H&M

“We’ve made the line available as long as it will stay in the stores,” said Tony Everitt, H&M’s East Coast public relations coordinator. “There’s no particular shelf life. We want everyone to get it.”

This year, Katy Perry, N.E.R.D., Dita Von Teese, Yoko Ono, Katharine Hamnett, Cyndi Lauper, Robyn, Roisin Murphy, Yelle, Moby and Tokio Hotel joined Dangerous Muse and Estelle to produce the 2009 FAA collection.

“[People] want to listen to their idols,” said Dalhuisen, of Designers Against AIDS. “If their idol says, ‘Protect yourself—wear a condom,’ they’ll believe it instantly and carry on the message. And it’ll become cool to wear a condom.”

Watch video interviews with the participating celebs below, and visit hm.com to find a store near you that carries the FAA line.

Search: Estelle, Fashion Against AIDS, Designers Against AIDS, Dangerous Muse, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, H&M, Katy Perry, N.E.R.D., Dita Von Teese, Yoko Ono, Katharine Hamnett, Cyndi Lauper, Robyn, Roisin Murphy, Yelle, Moby, Tokio Hotel

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