Every 30 seconds, a child dies of malaria. West Chester native Alexandra Taylor wants to see that disturbing fact of life eliminated. So, for her thesis at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, the 23-year-old Henderson High School alum designed a women’s wear collection with netting elements and mosquito graphics to raise awareness of this still-deadly disease. Her line was quickly noticed at New York Fashion Week—and by the United Nations.
Upon graduation in 2010, Taylor met with representatives from the UN Foundation to discuss how her collection could benefit the “Nothing But Nets” campaign targeting malaria, a preventable disease that leads to almost 1 million deaths yearly. From that meeting sprung her collection of silk-blend scarves that incorporate the same design elements as her previous collection. Ten dollars from each purchase goes to Nothing But Nets, which supplies mosquito netting, a primary barrier against the winged carriers of the disease.
“Scarves seemed like the best way to go about it,” Taylor says. “In terms of women’s wear, they’re the most obtainable and reasonably priced.”
So far, Taylor estimates she’s helped the foundation raise $800 from the sale of 80 scarves. They can be found locally at Malvern’s Nota Bene boutique, and she’s currently working on a similarly designed line of men’s ties set to launch next February. “The goal isn’t only to sell a certain amount,” she says. “As long as people need nets, as long as there are lives to be saved and as long as there’s money needed, I’ll continue with this.”