Fashion With A Social Conscience

Charity fashion show cum dinner, Gala of Light, raises over half a million dollars to support two Singapore charities - Beyond Social Services and the Compassion Fund

Setting a record for Indian-organised fashion galas, the Gala of Lights,  a charity fashion show-cum-dinner organised by Samia Khan and Bina Rampuria of Melange, raise more than half a million dollars at their event last evening.

The glittering event attended by over 250 guests showcased a specially curated showcase of stunning outfits by leading Indian designer Anita Dongre who flew in for the show. She also held a Trunk Sale on Saturday at the Hilton Hotel.

The proceeds of last evening’s gala which amounted to a whopping $570,000 will be donated to two Singapore charities – Beyond Social Services and the Compassion Fund whose chairman is Mrs Kay Iswaran, wife of Mr S Iswaran. Both the charities are dedicated to helping vulnerable children, youth and their families.

Mr S Iswaran Minister for Communication and Information/Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations was the guest-of-honour.

Obviously popular with the crowd, Mr Iswaran and his wife Mrs Iswaran mingled warmly with the audience, which might have been a factor in the success of the fundraising, quipped an elegant guest who was attired in an Anita Dongre couture outfit.

The designer, one of the most famous among Indians globally, is known for her philanthropy and ethical production values. She has dressed many international celebrities including Kate Middleton and Hillary Clinton.

Speaking at the launch of the event Mr Iswaran said, “The  true nature of a nation’s character is in how it cares for its weak…”

He added that technology is a great disruptor. Whether it is AI, robotics or digitalisation, they all help us to reach out to significantly different markets. But these trends also bring significant challenges. Here is the main body of Minister Iswaran’s speech: “It will be the challenge (of the divide) between the digital have and the have-nots. Between those who are able to adapt to globalisation and make most of the opportunity to participate fully in these new technology-driven opportunities. And that is why at the Government level we have embarked on a slew of activities in Singapore. In particular, I want to highlight one which is the effort to Ensure we imbue our people with a culture of lifelong learning…so that everyone, regardless of what background they come from, is able to participate fully in these new technology-driven opportunities.”

“But what the Government does is at one level. But it is essential that we make this a collective effort. I think companies  – many are represented here and you’re representing large organisations – play a major role in this effort. Because if companies take the approach that ‘we propose and let the Government dispose’ it will not work. We need a partnership where we all embrace on the one had the opportunities for growth, and on the other hand, the need for us to take everybody with us. So companies play a major role.” said Iswaran.

“Then at the community level, all of us have a role to play. So this event and what has brought to together I think is one example of how we can do that. So I want to thank Samia and Bina and all those who have been involved in this event because you have made an effort not just to have a celebration but also a way to do something meaningful for our communities by supporting Beyond Social Services and the Compassion Fund. I also think it is quite fitting that Anita Dongre is the fashion designer whom we are featuring this evening because she is known – and I’ve done my research thanks to Mr Google – to combine fashion with a social conscience. And that’s what we need – a social conscience whatever the sectors we’re in, whatever the work we do. A social conscience that leavens the overall thrust for economic growth and for the accumulation of wealth.” concluded the Minister.


Shobha Tsering Bhalla

Shobha Tsering Bhalla is the Editor-in-Chief at India Se.