‘We challenge judgements’: Fashion event for homeless set for Manchester return

An acclaimed charity fashion event is returning to Manchester’s Arndale Centre later this month with the aim of supporting the city’s homeless population.

The Empty Shop allows you to donate quality pre-loved and unworn clothes and garments at donation points within the Arndale.

Donation points at stores including Next, Superdry, Quiz and Jack & Jones will be open between January 22 and 31.

The clothing is being sold to provide support for the city’s homeless or donated directly to disadvantaged people in Manchester by local charity Mustard Tree.

Mustard Tree’s Communications Manager Soraya Sheikh-Ambrose, told MM: “We are proud to partner with the Arndale, where the people of Manchester have really demonstrated their generosity. 

“It was a big success in previous years and we collected four tonnes worth of clothes. We sold the clothes on in our charity shops and at several sale events at our Ancoats branch.

“The reason we wanted to get involved is to connect with people and help raise awareness about homelessness.

“We want to break down some of the preconceptions people have about homelessness and challenge those judgements.

“Events like this are necessary to have discussions with people, while they’re out shopping at the Arndale, who may never have heard of us.

“At previous events people have said they remember us and so we are definitely reaching more people through these events.”

More than 15,800 items of clothing have been donated to the Empty Shop over the last two years.

Including more than £45,000 worth of brand new items from N Brown Group PLC, AKA clothing, SimonandSimon and luxury boutique Black White Denim.

The project has garnered numerous industry accolades, including the International Council of Shopping Centres Community Foundation Award.

And this year has been nominated for the prestigious Albert Sussman International Community support award; the industry’s highest honour.

Ms. Sheikh-Ambrose also explained how the event will help: “Mustard Tree offers crisis intervention, providing food parcels and a soup run once a week.

“But giving crisis prevention is not going to help homeless people in the long run so we try and focus on the on sustainable support.

“We run a programme called the Freedom Project, which is a life skills programme aimed at transitional barriers to moving on in life.

“The word homelessness is very broad. Most people think of rough sleepers when they think of homelessness, but there are many different situations in which people end up homeless, people living in hostels or who are sofa-surfing for example.”

Hollyoaks actor Ashley Taylor-Dawson, the event’s official ambassador, he said: “The Empty Shop is the perfect opportunity to spring clean your closet and transform someone’s life for the better.

“We all have clothing that we don’t wear anymore, or was a ‘must-have’ purchase at the time; then sits there in the wardrobe with the tags still on.”

He will be joined by local fashion bloggers and stylists for the launch at Exchange Square.

For further information visit here.

Image courtesy of TheMustardTree via YouTube, with thanks.

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