How Two Industry Veterans Are Transforming Red Carpets Into a Force for Good
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As industry veterans — Carineh Martin is a former luxury-brand marketing executive, and Arianne Phillips is a stylist and costume designer who has worked with Madonna, Tom Ford, and, most recently, Quentin Tarantino on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — these longtime friends saw an opportunity to turn red carpet events into forums for giving back. They established Red Carpet Advocacy (RAD), which links stars and their causes with fashion houses like Gucci and Christian Siriano to raise money and promote awareness on an international scale.
“We connect talent with brands through purpose, not product,” Martin says. Since its launch in January at the Golden Globes with Elisabeth Moss (who wore Dior, Neil Lane, Tamara Mellon, and Roger Vivier), RAD has raised over $1 million for various organizations, including the ACLU and UNICEF. And this fall the agency expanded its outreach by collaborating with high-profile studios on a RAD film-screening series. “I’m proud that now, when I’m not costume designing or styling, I have something to fill my days with that gives me purpose and helps other people in my industry use their platforms for good,” Phillips says.
How It Works: Martin and Phillips usually start by asking stars which charities they’d like to support. Then they connect with the nonprofits to make sure they are on board with the idea and to refine the message they’d like to convey. Next, they ask the brands outfitting the celebrity to donate to that person’s cause (they also charge brands a creative-services fee for marketing). Following their moment on the red carpet, stars post about the charity they’re supporting on social media with the hashtag #doradberad, which encourages their fans to get involved. “No one needs our permission to use their platforms in meaningful ways,” Martin says. “But we bring people opportunities to be true to who they are that are personally and professionally fulfilling at the same time.”
Becoming Buds: Martin and Phillips met in 1997 at pivotal points in their careers (Martin had just launched a VIP relations department for Prada, and Phillips had started working with Madonna). Their paths kept crossing over the next two decades until a confluence of events, including the 2016 presidential election and the birth of Time’s Up (Phillips was tapped to design the movement’s pins), motivated them to challenge the red-carpet status quo and found RAD. “We live in a time where advocacy equals relevance,” Martin says. “Why not use red carpets as a vehicle for sharing our ideals?”
Lessons Learned: “For me, as a member of the entertainment and fashion industries, there’s this thing about knowing your place,” Phillips says. “I think stepping outside that box and using my voice has been the most badass thing I’ve ever done. It was as scary as when I went skydiving.” Martin agrees: “What’s interesting is, as much as RAD was born as a by-product of the election, we haven’t been political. At the end of the day this isn’t about politics. This is about social progress.”
For more information on RAD, visit wearerad.org and check out @radvocacy on social media.
For more stories like this, pick up the November issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Oct. 18.