The Great Big Clothing Count: Raising awareness of clothing poverty

right to clothing eventThe Right to Clothing Campaign was launched last year by Sharewear UK, Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project and Dr Luke D. Graham in the School of Law at The University of Manchester. The campaign hopes to raise awareness of clothing deprivation, provide clothing to people who need it, and bring about a change in the law to better protect the right to clothing.

As part of the Clothing Poverty Awareness Week taking place from the 5 – 11 June 2023, Right to Clothing is asking people in the UK to count how many unworn clothes they own. The aim of the campaign is to encourage clothing donations to charities like Sharewear providing clothing free of charge to those in need. Anyone can take part in the campaign by filling this online form.

While politicians, media commentators and the general public talk about the cost of living crisis in relation to food and heating, the right to clothing is often forgotten about despite being a fundamental right.

Clothing poverty has real consequences for people’s physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Having dirty, damaged or worn clothes can lead to social exclusion due to stigma and make it more difficult to find employment. It can also be damaging to people’s self-esteem, leading to mental health issues and affecting their physical health if they are not able to keep warm over winter.

The Right to Clothing Network brings together foodbanks, charities, campaigns, trade unions and organisations who want to see the right to clothing. As well as access to clothing, the campaign focuses on environmental impact of fast-fashion as well as garment-workers’ rights both in the UK and in the Global South.

In addition to the Big Clothing Count, a series of awareness raising events will take place in London over the week and Dr Luke D. Graham will be speaking in Parliament on the 6 June to encourage MPs to take action and better protect this fundamental right.