Fashioning Change


By Michael Benninger / Photos by Paul Body

Dig out that dusty Dior and brush off that barely used Burberry. That’s some kid’s future in your closet.

Local nonprofit Designer Donation collects gently used designer apparel and accessories - clothes, handbags, sunglasses, watches and more - reselling the second-hand first-class products in order to buy technology for San Diego’s underprivileged students.

“All these kids without access to a computer and the Internet are going to be so far behind,” says CEO Mick Baca, who founded Designer Donation with friends and fellow San Diego entrepreneurs Jeff Smith and Vinny DiNino.

In its first three months alone, Designer Donation donated 50 laptops and tablets.

In March, the organization surprised five students from downtown’s King Chavez High School with laptops in recognition of their academic excellence. In April, it sponsored an essay contest at Sweetwater High School in National City, awarding a laptop or tablet to all 18 students (out of the school’s 3,200) who submitted essays.

“The students were all very gracious,” Baca says. “One girl was shaking, and two others cried. It’s been pretty mind-blowing.”

To date, the most valuable donations received have been a $1,300 Hermès bracelet and a collection of 143 dresses from e-tailer Rent the Runway, valued at $125,000. Giving back is the new black, so consider grabbing that good-as-new Gucci and donating it in style. The tax writeoff from Designer Donation may help subsidize your next Louis Vuitton... or at least the sales tax.

Designer Donation