Stylists Jill Lincoln and Jordan Johnson Launch Initiative to Help Migrant Children (Exclusive)

Jill Lincoln and Jordan Johnson - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Jill Lincoln and Jordan Johnson

The stylists behind Jennifer Garner and Rachel Brosnahan are asking for donations to Save the Children on behalf of the U.S. Border Crisis Children’s Relief Fund, in lieu of flowers or gifts, after the Emmys.

The red carpet continues to be a platform for political statements and activism. Styling duo Jill Lincoln and Jordan Johnson — whose clients include Jennifer Lawrence and Rachel Brosnahan — are launching the initiative Red Carpet Gives to ask fashion designers to donate to help migrant children at the U.S. border instead of sending gifts or flowers to stylists and stars after the upcoming Emmy Awards on Sept. 22.

Debuting this week, Red Carpet Gives encourages stylists, brands and industry insiders to donate to Save the Children on behalf of the U.S. Border Crisis Children’s Relief Fund after red carpet events. The program supports advocacy work at the U.S.-Mexico border and provides clothing, toys, books and hygiene products to immigrant kids. The stylists plan to select different causes for each awards show that are "significant to the times in the industry," Lincoln tells The Hollywood Reporter.

"We needed something to really feel good about at the end of the day. The show is over, the dresses go back, the jewelry goes back and we're onto the next. So for us as moms, as humans, as working women who want to use our voice for better than telling you what to wear, how to keep up with the trends, there's got to be something more to come from our position," she says.

Red Carpet Gives is several years in the making, as the stylists realized they wanted to find a meaningful use for the generosity of designers that send out bouquets as a thank you to their clients (who have included Margaret Qualley, Constance Wu, Kiernan Shipka, Sydney Sweeney, Alexandra Shipp, Diego Luna and Anna Kendrick).

They tested it out last awards season when brands asked the stylists if they could send gifts to their office or to a client's hotel room. Lincoln and Johnson instead asked clients if they wanted a donation to a charity of their choice. After the Golden Globes, Brosnahan opted to have Prada donate to Covenant House to help homeless youth and, after the Academy Awards, Luna asked Brunello Cucinelli to donate to World Food Bank to fight global hunger.

"Our clients and the designers were really excited. They were super into it, so we wanted to carry that through and find a more grand way to execute this universally within the industry this year," Lincoln says.

The fashion houses are also on board, with a rep for Cucinelli telling THR, "Since Brunello is particularly philanthropic himself and believes in the spirit of giving back, the brand loves this type of gift where we can share with others who are like-minded and invested in making meaningful contributions."

This week, the stylists have crafted an email that they will send to colleagues, publicists and fashion design teams to explain the initiative with Save the Children as the kickoff ahead of the Emmys. They were inspired to select the org due to client Jennifer Garner, an official ambassador to the 100-year-old nonprofit along with Dakota Fanning, Camila Cabello and Olivia Wilde.

"It's a worthy cause that everyone can get behind," Johnson tells THR. "We both have children, but whether or not you have kids, you can't help but look at the images of what's going on and not get behind it. I think it speaks to everyone." The border crisis is "very relevant" now, Lincoln says: "We're all so lucky to live in this country and have liberties that these people obviously don't have, so we wanted to find a teeny tiny way to support."

She adds, "Every year, awards season becomes — in addition about the celebratory aspect of all the amazing shows and movies that have come out — about everyone making it a little bit less about Hollywood and about the 'me me me' factor and more about being better people."

Lincoln notes that being a stylist is "such a great platform and of course you can't have an awards show without seeing a plethora of pins, so I think that there has been a lot of action to raise awareness over the past years. … Everyone is getting in the spirit of trying to make what we do more impactful."

Indeed, for the Golden Globes this year, stylist Karla Welch (clients include Justin Bieber and Tracee Ellis Ross) partook in a similar effort called Red Carpet Advocacy, founded by Oscar-nominated costume designer Arianne Phillips and consultant Carineh Martin. Her client Elisabeth Moss’ Dior Couture gown, Neil Lane jewels, Tamara Mellon shoes and Roger Vivier bag benefitted the American Civil Liberties Union through donations by the designers. Phillips also designed the Time’s Up pin that dominated the 2018 Golden Globes red carpet.

In 2019, Brosnahan sported a Time's Up bracelet to the Golden Globes and is nominated again at the Emmys for outstanding lead actress on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Lincoln says of the actress' upcoming Emmys look, "There's not really the pressure. Last year was our first year working with her and visa-versa and her first year being nominated for everything, so I think we're a little bit light-hearted with it this year." Johnson adds, "It's more of an opportunity to mix things up a little bit." Recall last year's Emmys, where Brosnahan stunned in a red chiffon off-the-shoulder gown from Oscar de la Renta.

This year, the duo are scared to be dressing the master of decluttering — that would be Marie Kondo — joking that "we’re petrified," "please don’t look at our office" and "we’re bringing her in in a blindfold."

As for their longtime client Qualley, she has seen a sudden rise in stardom as a new fashion icon, after appearing in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. "She has got that effortless cool girl style. You throw anything on her and she just makes it cool instantly," Johnson says, while Lincoln adds, "If one thing comes to mind when I think of Margaret, it would be her endless ploy to wear flats on a red carpet.” Her stylists use flats as a "bartering tool" when crafting her looks. "She's blossomed into a full-fledged movie star. I don't think there's really any limit to what we'll see from Margaret over fashion campaigns, more leading roles," Lincoln says. (The daughter of Andie MacDowell, Qualley just appeared in Rodarte's spring 2020 look book.)

On the red carpet, the twosome note, it’s all about individual style. "Everyone hopes to get something different out of the awards shows. Some clients just want to be cool and comfortable and not have to have fussy dresses for the evening. Others want to stand out. It's 'choose your own adventure,'" Lincoln says.