A hub of small retail independents is inviting women to support a couple of ‘bra-illiant’ causes.
Draper’s Yard Market & Studios in Chichester is collecting discarded bras in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness month and Smalls for All.
Entrepreneur and Clothkits brand owner Kay Mawer said: “October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and some of the yarders wanted to arrange money for a breast cancer charity by given a percentage over some days. I thought it would be fun to add another dynamic to it.”
With this in mind, the team at Draper’s Yard are amassing as many bras as they can throughout this month.
Kay said: “We are hoping to collect loads to build a marvellous display of them at Draper’s. I bet you have one or two in your drawers that you never wear, that will never fit and could potentially be hanging around collecting dust forever.”
Once the bras are taken down at the end of the month, every new or barely used item will be forwarded to tiny but life-changing charity Smalls for All, which sends new and ‘gently worn’ underwear to those in need in Africa.
Kay said: “My daughter Grace has a cunning plan to recycle the rest and many will meet the fate of the sewing machine, so whatever state they are in, all are useful!”
She said she hopes the project will receive a lot of support: “Let’s club together and get countless over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders hanging from the rafters in the Draper’s entrance by the end of the month!”
Kay was inspired by the Cardrona Bra Fence in New Zealand, which currently supports the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.
“It’s a good way to focus attention on the issue and give people an opportunity to donate – either physically, with their bras, or by giving some money.
“We generally live in a privileged area and have drawers full of stuff we don’t use that stay around for months on end. It’s great to bring them in for a great cause, raise awareness and repurpose them … It’s also raising a little bit of awareness, to encourage ladies to think about checking themselves.”
Since the initial flurry of donations in the first weekend in October, the initiative has raised over 1,000 bras of every shape, size and condition.
“It would be great if we could reach 10,000 with the help of the Observer.
“Please come and drop your bras off, ladies – we are asking for your support!”
‘It’s a matter of dignity’
Thanks to its thousand-strong display of bras and discounts and treats by ‘Yardies’, Draper’s Yard is shining a light on initiatives which support women’s health across the world.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a worldwide annual campaign involving thousands of organisations to highlight the importance of breast awareness, education and research.
As part of this, this Friday, October 19, UK breast cancer research charity Breast Cancer Now is inviting us to wear pink, raise money and make life-saving research happen.
Why? Because, the charity says, ‘breast cancer is still here’: “It’s still tearing apart the lives of families and it’s still taking the lives of the women we love on a heart-breaking scale.”
The Draper’s Yard display is also being used to support those in desperate need on the African continent.
Entrepreneur and Clothkits brand owner Kay Mawer said all ‘really good and gently used’ bras will be donated to a Scottish charity which helps those living in orphanages, slums, internally displaced persons’ camps and schools in impoverished parts of Africa, as well as those in hospital who are suffering from medical conditions such as obstetric fistula.
Based in Edinburgh, Smalls for All was set up in 2010 and collects and distributes bras and new knickers to help women and children.
According to the organisation, owning adequate underwear is not only a matter of dignity but is also a health and hygiene problem for many poor African communities, as women often only own one pair of tattered pants or have none at all.
Kay said: “It’s an issue we can’t comprehend here.”
Smalls for All works in partnership with a number of organisations to ensure all the brand new pants and bras it collects go directly to the women and children in Africa who need its support.
The same goes for at least 90 per cent of the ‘gently worn’ bras it collects, while the remainder are sold to a family-run recycling company to help raise vital funds to support its work.
The charity has also established an education programme which aids some of the poorest children in countries where it has a presence in order to help them access education.