Model and philanthropist Edythe Hughes has channeled her success in the fashion industry into a platform enabling models to showcase their artistry for charitable causes.  Her non-profit organization, Project Model Tee, is raising funds for RAINN the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network for their launch.  I caught up with Edythe to talk to her about Project Model Tee and her goals for the future.

Where did the idea for Project Model Tee come from?

After modeling for five years I was ready to start making my time in fashion more meaningful and help my peers do the same. Working as a model is a true blessing for most of us, but in an industry where there is so much focus on the outside you yearn for people to know your inner self as well. Project Model Tee gives models a place to show their talents for great causes.

Why is it important to you to be of service to your community?

I come from a one stoplight village in Ohio and coming to New York City at seventeen-years-old was a challenge. After a while I realized the transition from small town girl to big city woman was difficult as community is not obvious or a given in New York City (or other big cities). You must seek, build and nurture your community. I think community is especially difficult to find as a model who travels and works with different groups of people nearly every day. Servicing the community is a great way to build one.

Why did you choose RAINN as your first charity?

To launch Project Model Tee we wanted to touch as many hearts as possible. Tragically, sexual violence is an issue that affects everyone, whether you are a victim or know one. RAINN gives survivors a voice, raises awareness and seeks justice, and it has been such a pleasure to help them spread their message.

What has been the reaction from people in the fashion industry?

Friends in fashion have supported our efforts and models have been encouraged by it. In general people want to know the girl who is selling the shoes and people are interested in our lives. Project Model Tee is a nice way to show others what we are really about.

How do you see the evolution of Project Model Tee?

As our network and resources expand, we would love to help models in the development of their artist selves. It would be wonderful to provide art and business classes for the models. We are also interested in developing a T-shirt line with artwork by talented models and donating the proceeds to great causes. This year we would like to produce a story/poetry slam to showcase the talented writers in our industry. Stay tuned!

How can people get involved?

Firstly, please connect with us via social media and sign up for our newsletter. Attend one of our events and tell your friends about our message. If you would like to get more seriously involved you can email us at info@projectmodeltee.org and let us know in what ways you would like to contribute, whether that be donating your art and talents or working with us on the administrative side. We would love to hear from you!

Learn more here

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