Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief charity is subject of inquiry by watchdogs

Charity Commission to examine whether trustees ‘have properly exercised their legal duties and responsibilities under charity law’

Olivia Petter
Friday 26 November 2021 14:56
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Fashion for Relief, the charity established by Naomi Campbell, is the subject of an inquiry from the charities watchdog over concerns related to its finances.

The organisation, which the supermodel set up in 2005, raises money for impoverished children across the globe through an annual fashion show.

Campbell is one of the charity’s three trustees, along with Bianka Hellmich and Veronica Sylvia Wing Wai Au Chou.

Now, the Charity Commission has launched an inquiry into how Fashion for Relief has handled its finances, including concerns regarding management of payments made to the charity by one of its trustees.

The watchdogs are also planning to look at the charity’s spending and potential misconduct and mismanagement over alleged delays regarding the filling of its statutory annual accounts.

In previous years, Fashion for Relief has held several high-profile fashion shows and events that have been attended by numerous celebrities, including Alexa Chung, Skepta and Pierce Brosnan.

“The charity, which has purposes to relieve poverty and advance health and education, has previously been the subject of a compliance case,” the Charity Commission states on the government website.

“During that case, which opened in September 2020, the Commission identified a range of regulatory concerns relating to the governance and finances of the charity.

“This included the charity’s consistent late filing of accounts and lack of evidence to show that conflicts of interest were being managed.”

In March this year, the Commission states that it issued the trustees with an action plan, aimed at improving the charity’s financial management.

“Following a review of the charity’s response to the action plan, the regulator identified further concerns in the charity’s financial management and governance to explore.”

In 2019, Campbell made a bold statement at the Fashion for Relief gala, wearing a dress that featured fake blood pouring out of a bullet hole wound.

The dress was lauded by many as a powerful political statement on gun violence; however, others believed the garment undermined victims with some calling it “insulting” and “bad taste”.

“I know it’s for charity but the bloodied bullet hole dress is surely beyond bad taste Naomi Campbell?” one person wrote on Twitter alongside the hashtag #guncrime.

The designer of the dress, Mowalola Ogunlesi, defended it at the time, revealing it was part of a collection that delved “into the horrific feeling of falling in love”.

In a statement on Instagram, she said the dress was extremely important to her and refers to her “lived experience as a black person”.

The designer added: “I make clothes to challenge people’s minds. This gown is from my collection ‘Coming For Blood’ – a delving into the horrific feeling of falling in love.”

The Independent has contacted Naomi Campbell and Fashion for Relief for comment.

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