It has been said that “fashion is the armor created to survive the reality of everyday life.” Orít Hodarkovsky is making the armor to help Americans turn the page to the “new” everyday life—and weaponizing it with society’s most important tool: Information.
In 2020, when the end-of-year looked bleak, Hodarkovsky became inspired by so many Americans on the front line. Her story has become somewhat common: People with everyday talents, doing their part to help stem the tide of the pandemic.
Though, unlike many who dedicated themselves to making masks, donating food or hand sanitizer at the local healthcare facility, Hodarkovsky decided that her mission was to empower others to make change—and that is why she began I Got Vaxxed Apparel.
I Got Vaxxed Apparel is a collection of chic streetwear clothing with powerful slogans urging people to get vaccinated. In addition, Hodarkovsky has linked up with the GO Campaign’s COVID-19 Relief Fund and is donating a meaningful portion of the clothing sale proceeds to help provide meals, essential school supplies, masks, hand sanitizers and much more to underserved children and families all over the world who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
When the vaccination first became available, Hodarkovsky began to see people online approach the inoculation with not only skepticism, but also misinformation. Rumors began to mill inaccurate information about the safety of the vaccinations—and Hodarkovsky heard her calling to join the public awareness fight, one article of clothing at a time.
In a recent U.S. Census Bureau survey, 30% of people surveyed said they do not plan to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“The misinformation out there is causing people not to get vaccinated,” she says. “If they don’t, it will take a very long time to achieve herd immunity. What we are trying to do, through the clothing line and our social media, is communicate that it is all of our responsibilities to get vaccinated for the betterment of our shared community.”
But the problem that the fashion line seeks to solve is much more complicated than just a team effort wearing the clothing. Hodarkovsky realizes that she is running a public education campaign with a philanthropic arm, both raising awareness and fundraising for a cause that needs energy, strategy and collective effort from all those who are wearing the product.
“There are two collections: The more popular one is the #GETVAXXED collection, and the second is the #IGOTVAXXED collection. People who have been vaccinated loved to wear our second collection to let others know that it is safe and it is easy to get vaccinated, and it is everyone’s job to motivate others,” she continues.
Hodarkovsky, who is from Lloyd Harbor, acknowledges that one of the most important regions of Long Island to help her brand grow is the East End, where she enjoys the summer season with friends. In fact, trends on Long Island begin in New York City or in the Hamptons and permeate elsewhere. Hodarkovsky has set her goals to target those who visit the Hamptons—especially at the peak of the busy tourism season—to help aid in the public support of the vaccine.
And, serendipitously, one could argue that there is no more opportune time for this effort, given the Biden administration’s recent announcement that by May 1 all American adults should be able to get the vaccination, should they want it.
“Currently, about 10% of Americans have been vaccinated,” says Hodarkovsky. “It’s a good start, but we have such a long way to go. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, there’s healthy skepticism, and what we want to do is debunk some of the myths and create a social movement—on the East End and across the country. We want to be a resource, a pop culture fashion movement and a means by which everyone can help spread the word about the importance of this vaccine.
“So many communities have been hard hit because of this pandemic—many have lost their primary sources of income,” she continues. “Children are not going to school for in-person classes, many are without the technological capabilities needed to succeed. I know that with better information and a collective sense of responsibility, we can get back to normal.”
She adds, “Whether it’s here on Long Island, in New York or globally, we have the power to turn the page on this virus, together.”
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and Associate Publisher at Dan’s Papers.