Closets for Causes
A Halston dress from Lysa Heslov's vintage couture collection, auctioned to benefit Children Mending Hearts by Closets for Causes. (Courtesy of Closets for Causes)
It's the right time for us because the world is bigger and moving faster than ever before.Talia Bella, founder, Closets for Causes
Red carpet looks worn by celebrities like Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, and Sophia Bush are often coveted by fans and seldom worn again.
Talia Bella realized, after a conversation with a celebrity stylist friend, that instead of waste, she could turn old treasures into new hope. These gowns could find new homes all while benefiting a better world and better cause. Bella then founded Closets for Causes, using the internet and celebrity buzz to fund and further non-profit organizations.
Born in Argentina and growing up between the metropolitan cities of Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, and New York, Bella has spent over 10 years exploring design and pulling inspiration from various industries. In 2011, Closets for Causes was born, and has since cooperated with organizations like American Red Cross, The Breast Cancer Charities, and Pencils of Promise.
Following is an interview with Bella.
Epoch Times: What inspired you to found Closets for Causes?
Bella: I started Closets for Causes almost two years ago after a conversation with a celebrity stylist friend of mine. She was complaining about the amount of overflow in her client’s closets and the overwhelmingness of it all, not knowing what to do with all of it. I thought to myself that there was something here, there was an opportunity to take all this overflow, this waste and do something amazing with it.
Epoch Times: How much have you raised for the various causes? Which causes do you represent?
Bella: In this last year we’ve raised over $40,000 for various organizations. The organizations are always different since the celebrity gets to choose who is benefiting, which keeps the job fun. We get to be part of so many different campaigns for so many different organizations. Some notable names we’ve worked are: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Pencils of Promise, and Oceana.
Epoch Times: Tell me a bit about the clothes that you get to auction.
Bella: Each closet is different and unique to each celebrity’s style. That’s what makes shopping these closets so exciting. You’re able to connect with these people in a very unique way. We get a large gamut of styles and designers. From the everyday brands like Vince and Splendid to some more luxury items like Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin. We’ve gotten Oscar gowns donated as well as jeans! They’re just like us, their closets are a mishmash of high end and low end.
And most items are either gently worn or brand new.
Epoch Times: What types of clothing receive high bids?
Bella: Items from wardrobes or red carpet appearances seem to do very well for the fans. But for the fashionistas, high-end items in good condition from current or one season ago go for high bids.
Epoch Times: Who is your target audience? About how old?
Bella: Depending on who’s closet we’re doing, our audience can vary since it’s their fan base we are selling to. Since this changes every time we are doing a new closet, this also keeps our job fun and exciting from a marketing stand point. Before every closet goes live, we have to research our market and find a way to speak to them.
Epoch Times: Why is this the right time for Closets for Causes?
Bella: It’s the right time for us because the world is bigger and moving faster than ever before. People know that giving back is important, but how do you include that in your everyday? Here you can buy something that’s designer, in great condition, out of a celebrity’s closet that maybe you admire and know that you’ve done something good. That you’ve helped in some way. And I think now more than ever people need that.
Epoch Times: What celebrities have you worked with?
Bella: We’ve worked with celebrities such as Virginia Madsen, Sophia Bush, and Carmen Electra, among others.
Some people we meet and are part of the closet clean out. Others do the clean out on their own and then we just come by and pick it up. Everyone has varying levels of comfort, we work with everyone to fit their needs!
Epoch Times: Why is this cause important to you personally?
Bella: I’m passionate about fashion. But I am also passionate about leaving behind a better world than the one I came into. Closets for Causes allows me both.