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Raising Awareness Of Clothing Poverty

Raising Awareness Of Clothing Poverty

Sharewear Clothing Scheme use their Clothing Poverty Awareness Week campaign  to highlight the hidden issue of clothing poverty in the UK. But what exactly is clothing poverty and how can we all do our bit?

Whilst some ordinary people in the UK struggle to clothe themselves and their families, globally, one rubbish truck of textiles goes into landfill every second of every day and in the UK alone, 300,000 tons of clothes go to landfill each year.

There is a huge over-excess of clothing being produced by the fashion industry as a whole, whilst at the same time, fast-fashion drives the increased purchasing of single and limited use garments that are quickly discarded and also end up in landfill.

Writing for Vogue, Heather Snowdon states that a huge 13% of the UK population, that’s 5.5 million people, are struggling to afford clothing to facilitate normal life, making working, schooling and even just leaving the house a very real challenge.

This figure shows it’s more than just homeless people and refugees who are being affected, it’s women fleeing abusive relationships and finding themselves in refuges, and since the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis, more and more ordinary lower income families are being affected.

Clothing in landfill

Millions Denied Access To Clothing

Clothing is a basic human need and an absolute right, yet millions of people right here in the UK don’t have what they need, whilst at the same time, unsold stock means vast £140m of worn clothing is being sent to landfill every single year. Clothing that we believe could and should be redistributed to those in need.

Some may argue that clothing can be bought for next to nothing from the likes of Primark, by choosing cheap second-hand clothing available at charity shops or even by picking up bargains via places like Vinted, but this completely misses the crux of the problem.

“what some of us may consider cheap, is still beyond the means of 13% of the UK population.”

The real issue is that that even the cheapest of clothes are beyond the reach of huge numbers of people, a fact which seems astonishing to those of us lucky enough to not have to worry about finding £10 for the cheapest possible school gym trainers for our child or £5 for a second-hand charity shop jumper to keep them warm.

So whilst some places might offer cheaper alternatives for those on a budget, we have to remember that what some of us may consider cheap, is still beyond the means of 13% of the UK population.

For those as shocked as we were at some of the statistics, you can delve further by taking a look at the in-depth report, Valuing Our clothes: The Real Cost of UK  Fashion.

So the real question is, what can we as individuals do about this?

Closing The Clothing Poverty Gap

There is a clearly a huge morality issue here, in that brands would rather dump perfectly wearable clothing than act philanthropically and give them away to those that need them.

As individuals though, we can make an effort to be more aware of the impact of our purchasing habits, choosing to buy fewer items of cheap clothing, signally to manufacturers that this isn’t what we want, and crucially, the clothing we do buy should be passed on when we no longer wish to wear it and purchased wherever possible, from sustainable brands that support the circular economy.

Charities like the Share Wear Clothing provides the perfect means for people to give away clothing which is then distributed for those that need them.

Addressing clothing poverty is a significant and complex issue with no single answer, but there are several impactful ways individuals can contribute to alleviating this problem. Here are some practical steps you might want to consider.

1. Donate Clothing

When your clothing has served its purpose, be sure to donate them to charities and/or local initiatives that redistribute pre-owned clothing

2. Support Clothing Drives and Campaigns

Consider organising a clothing drives, swaps or collections. Collaborate with institutions to set up clothing donation points.

3. Buy Responsibly

Support ethical and sustainable fashion brands as much as possible, get out of the habit of buying more than you really need and choose clothing from companies that ensure fair wages and good working conditions. Consider buying more things second hand and favour companies that support a circular economy.

4. Raise Awareness

Educate others about clothing poverty, share information and stories about clothing poverty on your social media platforms.

5. Advocate for Policy Changes

Support policies that address clothing poverty. If you can, join or support campaigns that push for systemic changes, such as living wages or better working conditions in the fashion industry.

6. Financial Contributions

Donate money to organisations fighting clothing poverty or donate your time. Contribute to charities dedicated to providing clothing and other essentials to those in need.

By taking as many steps as we can, we can make an impact in reducing clothing poverty helping to ensure that everyone has access to the basic clothing needed for a dignified life.

Learn more at Right To Clothing, and give your clothing the longest life possible by protecting your tops with the Original Holé Button Cover.


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