While most of us have spent some of lockdown clearing out wardrobes and clothing cupboards, Eloise Grant from Cranborne has established a brilliant way to make the best use of our unwanted garments.
With a degree in Human Geography and Environmental Science and an MSc in Strategic Sustainable Business, this visionary 23 year-old has set up a volunteer-led, social enterprise called Wardrobe Foundation.
Eloise’s team includes her parents. Her mum, Lisa, is a self-confessed organiser with a passion for fashion and her dad, Stuart, has many years of experience in the fashion industry. She also has many very creatively-talented volunteers.
Wardrobe Foundation, which operates out of two converted barn units in Cranborne, repurposes donated clothing to women in need of clothing support. It collates donations of items you would typically find in a woman’s wardrobe, such as jeans, hoodies, jumpers, skirts, trousers and coats. Wardrobe Foundation then creates a capsule wardrobe of foundation pieces presented in bespoke gift bags.
Eloise explains: “Our objective is simple – to work closely with women’s charities and local communities to support women who need clothing. There are many women in the UK who are in desperate need of clothing and many women who have a wardrobe full of clothes they no longer need; clothes they do not wear, no longer fit or have fallen out of love with. We believe we can bridge the gap by supporting women as well as promoting sustainability.’’
Wardrobe Foundation launched in September 2020 and Eloise reports it has seen a huge increase from women needing its support: “We have provided clothing gift bags to more than 75 women so far – providing over 1,000 items of clothing and delivering across eight partner charities across Dorset and BCP.
“We’ve certainly experienced an uplift in urgent and short notice requests for clothing parcels throughout January, especially with the impact of this winter lockdown now kicking in. We’re also aware how busy food banks have become during the pandemic so we’re now partnering with food banks across the region to identify women needing clothing.”
The donations have been phenomenal, with Wardrobe Foundation receiving 1300kg of clothing so far. Eloise told the digital Blackmore Vale “We’re delighted with the amount and the quality of clothing donations we’ve received. We need these donations to keep coming so we can satisfy demand for clothing gift parcels – especially as the seasons change and we see again the significant effects of this pandemic on women.”
And if you haven’t got around to decluttering your clothes yet, Eloise advises: “This latest lockdown is an ideal time for people to detox their wardrobes and prepare their donations. When you consider the average garment is worn just 10 times and the UK is annually responsible for 300,000 tonnes of clothing going into landfill, recycling good quality clothes for the benefit of others is a win-win.”
“Every day we’re inspired by the wonderful women that we support and the brilliant charities who continue to work throughout this pandemic. While 2021 has already brought challenges, we’re excited to develop Wardrobe Foundation and continue to provide clothing support.”
Visit the website www.wardrobefoundation.co.uk or follow their social media www.facebook.com/wardrobefoundation/ and Twitter feeds @WardrobeFounda1 to see how to donate. They regularly arrange doorstep collection dates. Of course, all is in keeping with government guidelines and social distancing.
By: Tracie Beardsley