Why the Right to Clothing?
Clothing deprivation is a large and growing problem in the UK and around the world. As politicians, media commentators and everyone else talks about the cost of living crisis in relation to food and heating, many often forget about another basic necessity: clothing. That's why we've set up the Right to Clothing Campaign - to ensure that everyone has access to high-quality, affordable clothing.
What is clothing poverty?
Clothing poverty - or clothing deprivation as a result of poverty, to use the academic term, is when someone is unable to afford two or more essential items of clothing. In the UK it is estimated that 5.5million adults experience clothing deprivation - a statistic that has only got worse since the pandemic and the cost of living crisis and it doesn't even include children who often are unable to access appropriate school uniform, the cost of which is increasing year on year. This is a hidden problem - we don't see the people who can't afford clothes as they are often unable to venture outside and often don't have adequate support. Many people think only homeless people are the groups affected by clothing deprivation, however, it affects everyone: those who don't have suitable clothes for a job interview, refugees with no recourse to public funds, and families up and down the country struggling to make ends meet.
Who's behind this campaign?
The Right to Clothing Campaign was founded by Sharewear UK, a charity providing free clothing to those in need and the Peace and Justice Project founded by Jeremy Corbyn MP. We are working with Dr. Luke D. Graham, a human rights specialist at the University of Manchester, hoping to raise awareness of clothing deprivation, provide clothing directly to people on through partnering with free clothing providers and bring about a change in the law which better protects the right to clothing, ensuring that charity is not required for any individual to access adequate clothing.
What about the other impacts of fast fashion?
When the campaign launched in September 2022, we also set up the Right to Clothing Network to link together the fights against clothing poverty and textile waste from fast fashion. Our network includes over 50 charities, clothing banks, campaigns, unions and organisations that are supporting individuals to access clothing, as well as encironmental groups working on the issue of fast fashion and groups supporting garment workers' rights both here in the UK and in the Global South. Find out more about the network and join by clicking here.
300,000 tons of clothes go to landfill each year in the UK, valued at £12.5 billion (Environmental Audit Committee, 2019)
11% increase in the cost of clothing since the beginning of the pandemic (Mira, 2022)
Oxfam has seen its online orders increase by 111% in 2020 compared to the same week in 2019