One hundred pairs of jeans donated by celebrities have had a brightly-coloured makeover to raise money for refugees.
The 100 stars including supermodel Elle Macpherson and British designer Victoria Beckham had their denim hand-painted by American artist Johny Dar, which have been up for auction online since July.
Jeans For Refugees went on display in London’s Saatchi Gallery on Oct 24, the same day as France began clearing the sprawling Jungle in Calais, where Dar was volunteering alongside aid workers in the migrant camp.
“He watched the refugee crisis unfold, very silently but very much brewing something, you know, wanting to act,” Dar’s spokesperson Kashi Money said on his behalf at the exhibition opening.
British model Kate Moss and American actress Sharon Stone’s jeans have bids over £5,000 (RM25,540) so far. Stone was the first celebrity to donate her attire 10 months ago.
The money raised by the online auction will go to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) charity, both a humanitarian aid agency and a refugee resettlement organisation, based in New York.
“It’s been overwhelming, the bids are well over £5,000 for some of the jeans. And I think people recognise that they’re not just donating for an amazing product that Johny has worked on but also the cause the money is going for,” IRC’s Sanj Srikanthan said.
Attending the exhibition was Sudanese refugee Gamar, who made the journey to Britain from his home country, through Libya, across the Mediterranean to Calais’ Jungle. He spent four months in the migrant camp before travelling to Britain in the back of a freezer lorry two weeks ago.
“And they seek a secure and safe life, and now they are moving where? To nowhere … May God help them,” Gamar said, referencing the migrants leaving Calais’ squalid shanty-town on Monday for reception centres across the country.
Half of the money raised will go toward the European and Middle East refugee crisis, while the other half will go to refugees in Africa, the IRC said.
Other celebrities who donated their garments included British singer Elton John, Australian actress Olivia Newton-John and One Direction’s Harry Styles. The online auction closed on Oct 30. – Reuters