Skip to content

A Conversation With Renée Blythewood About Motherhood, Fashion and Philanthropy

It is often very difficult to find and cultivate a true purpose in life. The demands of everyday situations can act as a barrier to deeper efforts for self-discovery.

Particularly when faced with the public spotlight, many seem to lose their way or get bogged down in meaningless pursuits that don't serve to create a better quality of life for individuals or communities.

The story of Renée Elizabeth Blythewood is different.

Her journey through the realms of fashion and philanthropy is a compelling example of how personal experiences can shape and drive one's mission to make a difference in the world. Her devotion to her son, Levi and the relentless drive that characterizes Renée, in a quest to be an agent for positive change to better the lives of women and children has established her as a figure of impact in the space where style meets substance.

“I loved fashion, modeling and dressing was a part of my femininity. I thought, and got creative with how I could take my relationships in those industries and collaborate with them with charitable endeavors to change the world.” - Renée affirms.

Last year, facing significant personal challenges, Renée had a vision that clarified her life's direction—focusing on education, healthcare, and the mental well-being of women and children was her true life´s calling. This vision has since become the cornerstone of her philanthropic efforts, merging her personal passions with groundbreaking initiatives.

Her innate love for children - being a mother herself and having also worked as a preschool teacher during her late teens and early twenties - propelled her to join the effort to actively support charitable causes, such as the the Gabrielle's Angel Foundation, which supports research to prevent, detect and successfully treat pediatric cancer. Here, Renée has played a pivotal role in aiding awareness and fundraising efforts towards not just treating pediatric cancer but also to provide emotional support for affected families.

Images: Supplied

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine also brought her face to face with the harsh realities of war-affected children. Renée´s visit to Poland was transformative, reinforcing her commitment to provide psychological healing through creative arts, transforming a warehouse into a combination of home and school for refugees.

“When I visited Poland, and saw the children getting off the bus from a war zone my life changed forever. The look in the children’s eyes of loss and terror will never leave me. I could only imagine and see on their faces the pain that would stay with them probably the rest of their lives. Working with young children before I knew the best way to get them into a better mental state was creating. Whether it was painting, dancing, making music, playing outside in nature. I would like to continue the project there and add an arts center for the children, a place to create, express themselves and dream!” - she states.

In the world of high fashion, Blythewood has made her mark by integrating philanthropy with glamour. Marquee events like the Snow Ball in Aspen and her appearance at the British Fashion Awards highlight her ability to rally the fashion community towards charitable causes, proving that fashion can be a powerful vehicle for change.

Having lived in cities like Miami, Los Angeles, and New York has enriched Blythewood's style and deepened her understanding of the challenges facing single mothers and children, infusing her philanthropic work with a personal touch.

“I’m at Southern belle at heart. I don’t think that will ever leave me. I’m incredibly proud of my roots. I was a very young mother and venturing out into the world, I understand the challenges that come with being a single mom. I think that fueled my passion for helping women, single mothers and children in particular.” -Renée expresses.

Despite her success, Renée openly discusses the challenges of balancing personal, professional, and philanthropic lives. She embraces a philosophy of making incremental positive changes, advocating for just a "1%" improvement daily as a way to contribute to personal and community betterment.

Looking ahead, Renée remains committed to her philanthropic endeavors. She is currently developing a beauty line that supports charitable causes and is intensively working in Rwanda to improve educational and mental health support systems for children.

When it comes to finding the right balance between her personal life, her career and her philanthropic endeavors, Renée is frank and candid in accepting this is no small feat:

“I wish I could say I have this all figured out or balanced perfectly but I don’t. I was in school last semester which was incredibly overwhelming. Sitting on the boards for multiple charities, spending time in Africa, building a new business, a new relationship, and most importantly raising my beautiful son, who I am also homeschooling! When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I have to prioritize and focus my energy just on that day. I always ask what’s the next right step, and do just that!” - she concludes.

Share this article: