When Kerry Washington got the chance last year to combine her passion for fashion with a charitable cause to raise awareness for domestic violence and financial abuse, jumping at the opportunity was a no-brainer. So the Scandal star designed a beautiful bag for the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse program with much success.
And this year, the Golden Globe- and Emmy-nominated actress teamed up for the second time with the cause to design another gorgeous limited-edition bag, this time with designer Dee Ocleppo.
The limited-edition clutch ($350; saks.com) was created to encourage the public to talk about domestic violence and financial abuse. We sat down with the star to chat about the cause that is so close to her heart:
Let’s talk about the inspiration for this year’s bag (below).
"It’s purple, obviously, because purple is the color for domestic violence awareness and I wanted to do a bag that fit into the framework of a classically Dee aesthetic. It is a version of her envelope bag, but I wanted to do it in a way that was more me as well, so we tried to pick a really funky animal print and have the purple be something that I felt was both classic and bold at the same time. It was really important for us to include the charm this year because you can go to purplepurse.com and make any purse a purple purse by buying the $10 charm and putting that on your bag. I like that our bag of the year has a really unifying factor with everybody who’s got the charm out there."
Why was it so important for you to get involved with this organization?
"This is the second year. It’s just really special for me to be able to use fashion to talk about something that’s so worthwhile. Domestic violence is not a topic that’s easy to discuss, and when we can enter into this conversation by talking about something that everybody loves, like fashion, it just makes the healing easier. It makes the healing more attainable. And the conversation is around your purse because this is where your financial well-being lives. So to be able to use this metaphor to change lives is such an extraordinary opportunity."
What is the biggest challenge of designing a purse?
"For me, I want it to be something that I will wear, and I have really particular tastes, so I would say the biggest challenge is designing and making something that lives up to my own taste in bags because I’m a serious bag girl!"
What piece of advice would you give to young girls around the world?
"I guess the thing that comes to mind is this idea that if you think that you are that the part of yourself that doubts yourself—your own capacity to achieve—and a part of you that doubts your own innate worth, that is based on a lie. That is based on a lie that somebody told you that you’re not enough, or a lie that somebody made you feel like you’re not enough. You really do have everything that you need to be the person you’re supposed to be in this life. You might need tools to get there but you can do that."
This year, the purple purse, retailing at $350, is available for purchase beginning Sept. 25 at select Saks Fifth Avenue locations and on saks.com, with 25 percent of proceeds supporting 160+ domestic violence programs around the country. From Oct. 1, through Oct. 27, more than 160 nonprofits will participate in the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge. To learn more, visit purplepurse.com