The International Rescue Committee made it’s second appearance at New York Fashion Week this February at the Empire Hotel. The IRC’s first showcase at NYFW came last year and with a great turn out, a strong return was inevitable. And strong it was with a collaboration between supermodel and voice of the IRC, Nykhor Paul, Celebrity Chef Marco Canora and partnerships with Whole Foods and Threads for Thought. All parties involved shared a passion for sustainability, charity, health and a love of culture.
We caught up with IRC representatives Sandy Borgman, Director of Entertainment Relations for the IRC, and Melissa Meredith, Director of Strategic Events for the IRC, to tell us a little bit more about the event and what the IRC is doing everyday.
For those who are not familiar with the IRC, it stands for the International Rescue Committee and was started by Albert Einstein 81 years ago by helping academics and artists flee Nazi occupied Europe. “And since then,” Borgman added, “we’ve taken that banner and we help with relief and develop our work in 40 countries; refugees who are forced to flee their homes in cases of conflict or disaster [we can] help them gain back their futures. We also help resettle refugees here in the U.S.”
“This is our IRCxNYFW pop up event. It’s our second one and we always try to combine a little of our celebrity IRC voices along with our supported celebrity chefs. This year we have Celebrity Chef Marco Canora and we have his very hot bone broth that’s featured here. We also have Nykhor Paul, who is an IRC voice, who is from South Sudan. [She] fled with her parents to a camp in Ethiopia that the IRC runs and was resettled in the U.S. at the age of 10 and was just reunited with her family after 16 years.”
The IRCxNYFW pop up booth really shows that NYFW isn’t just about designer fashion lines and runway models. Borgman explains that there’s more to it than that.
“It is fashion week and I think a lot of people think something about the fashion world. What we think about the fashion world is that there are a lot of very sensitive, compelling, globally interested people involved in all aspects of fashion week and of the fashion world- we found that last year when we did our first pop up, that everyone from models to stylists to designers to celebrities all came in, they all learned a little bit about it and when we let them know we were going to be doing this again, we’ve already gotten a stellar response from it.”
The event space was filled with the breathtaking photos of Nykhor Paul’s recent trip to Africa, where not only did she photograph emotional stories of the South Sudanese refugees, but she reunited with her own family after 16 years. “It’s helping the refugees help themselves, that’s what its all about.” Paul said about her experience working with the IRC to bring relief to the South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia.
Celebrity Chef Marco Canora was also present serving up his celebrated “bone broth” which has become a popular health craze in New York City. “I launched this on November 3rd. It’s really new but the response has been extraordinary.” Chef Canora explained. “It all has a halo of health around it; the whole idea is convincing people that healthy and delicious can live side by side and I feel like this simple cup of broth exemplifies that point.”
Chef Canora’s bone broth is served at Brodo, a window outside of his restaurant Hearth in the East Village. New Yorkers are loving the health benefits of adding just a cup of bone broth a day to their diets.
“If you’re going to get any nutrient density or any nutritional benefit out of it, you have to start with healthy, happy animals. We’re using 100% grassfed beef bones and organic chicken bones. Everything is humanely raised. We really care about that,” Chef Canora explained. “It contains tons of collagen and gelatin, which really speaks to our vanity- hair, nails, skin, wrinkles, it really helps all of those things. It also has a lot of amino acids which helps the gut lining; there has been so much talk about gut health and how it’s tied in to regular health, inflammation, your ability to digest, etc. The gut is also where a lot of serotonin is created, your feel good hormone.”
When asked what made Chef Canora decide to partner with the IRC for this pop up event, he said, “I wanted to be here and partake and have some fun. I love what the IRC does. It’s just an amazing organization that’s doing great, great work. It’s important to me personally and to Brodo the brand that we do more than just take and that there’s some giving involved.”
The IRC is currently providing relief efforts in South Sudan, Nigeria, Ukraine and Syria to name a few. They also play a big part in the Ebola relief efforts of West Africa where they partnered with the GE foundation to create a special Ebola suit that will better protect physicians.
If getting involved in giving back is something that you feel passionate about, Borgman explains how you can start. “Learning, I think, is half the battle. So definitely by going on rescue.org and learning. We have offices in 22 cities around the U.S. so there are always volunteer opportunities” she said. “And support the IRC’s work,” added Meredith
Visit the International Rescue Committee Official Site to find out more about the organization and how you can get involved.