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Open letter to the government

Too many people in the UK today can’t afford adequate clothing. We hear about the dramatic rise in food banks, but alongside it, there has been a similar rise in clothing banks. 

Like food banks aren’t the solution to food poverty, clothing banks aren’t the solution to what academics call “clothing deprivation”. 

Earlier in the summer, from the 5th - 11th June we marked the 4th annual Clothing Poverty Awareness Week. This year, the Right to Clothing Campaign co-hosted the awareness week alongside Sharewear Clothing Scheme who began Clothing Poverty Awareness Week in 2020.

The Right to Clothing Campaign also highlights the issue of the environmental damage from fast fashion. According to the UN, every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. As well as raising environmental concerns, the campaign is working with organisations that promote garment workers rights both here and in the Global South. By uniting the issues of consumers, producers and our planet, we can make clothing  more equitable, accessible and sustainable. 

We strongly believe the government needs to address this issue through a clothing deprivation strategy, similar to the National Food Strategy report published in 2021. This would review the entire industry from production to high-street, including the issue of incineration and dumping by fashion brands. Through voluntary ratification of international treaties, the UK has already committed to and assumed obligations in international law to work towards the realisation of the right to adequate clothing.  We’re calling on the government to take action now before more people become clothing deprived and are excluded from accessing adequate clothing in one of the richest countries in the world. 

Signed by: 
Louise Cooke, Sharewear Clothing Scheme
Luke D. Graham, Lecturer in Public Law & Human Rights, University of Manchester*
Rachel Stallion, Positive Momentum Limited
Adriana Batty & Gianni Romano, co-directors, Lyfcycle Ltd
Dr Alex Hiller Head of Postgraduate and Executive Education, Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University*
Sharon Sisson , Chair, St. Austell Revival Toge
ther Clothing Bank
Gina Francis, SATEDA and Kent & Medway Sharewear
Kate France, Founder & Operations Trustee, Uniform Exchange
Stefanie Lakin, Founder, MADRINA UK
Ann Rochester, St Chad’s Sanctuary*
Julie James and Steve Cooke, co-chairs Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity
Sol Escobar, Founder & CEO, Give Your Best*
Helen Lloyd, Manager, Arnold Foodbank*
Glos Smith, Nottingham Women's Centre
Helen White, Product and Brand Director, Bamboo Clothing*
Jay Kerr, No Sweat
Apsana Begum, Member of Parliament for Poplar and Limehouse
Jeremy Corbyn, Member of Parliament for Islington North and founder, Peace & Justice Project
Allison Kay Wainman, Chair of Trustees, Jericho Road
Phil Gunn, Branch Manager, Notts Unison*
Samia Badani CEO, 214 Space Baby Bank
Tonia Nixon, Founder & CEO, Tees Community*
Caron Boughassoul, Director, The Uniform Project Nottingham Ltd
Owen Griffiths, Carmel Community Clothing
Lucy Fox, The Sunday Centre
Anthea Peters, Founder & Chair, Togs Clothing Bank*
Michele Grigolo, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Nottingham Trent University*
Ricky Gee, Senior Lecturer, Department of Social and Political Sciences, Nottingham Trent University
Emily Compston, Head of Operations, Little Village
Marianna Poberezhskaya, Associate Professor, Nottingham Trent University*
Dr Rumana Hashem, Department of Social and Political Sciences, Nottingham Trent University*
Michael Rees, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Nottingham Trent University*
Roxanne Travers, Founder & Director, Fashion for Future
Matt Henn, Department of Social and Political Sciences, Nottingham Trent University*
Dawn Willson, County Durham Community Clothing Bank & Food Pantry
Chloe Methley, Resettlement Advisor, NACRO
Joyce Francis, Willow Tree Ministry New Generation Church
Ryan Shannon, Managing Director, Bamboo Clothing
Annie Parry, Trainer Work Coaching, Groundwork Five Counties*
Alison Davey, Manager, Children’s Storehouse charity
Courtney Thomas, Volunteer Coordinator, Greater Pollok Volunteers
Dr Sheikh Ramzy, Director, Oxford Islamic Information Centre*
Claire Jones, Framework Housing Association*
Suzanne Williamson, Framework Housing Association*
Sara Garton, Nottingham Women’s Centre
Phil and Mim Chadwick, A Little Help
Simon Wheatcroft, Nottingham University Hospital*
James Taylor, Branch Secretary, K243, Usdaw Union*
Aghileh Djafari-Marbini, Founder, Wealdstone Baby Bank 
Katie Wilson, Clothing Coventry
George Atwall, Officer, Region 3, Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union*
Kevin Deegan, Founder, North Staffordshire DPAC*
Cat Ross, CEO, Baby Basics UK

* indicates individual has signed in a personal capacity 




This letter is supported by the Right to Clothing network, a group of over 50 charities and organisations, working on the interlinked issues of clothing poverty, fast fashion and garment workers rights. You can join the network by using the form below!

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