The art of engaging commuters

Collecting coats

Its 7am on a cold and still dark Tuesday morning at the jubilee gate line of Waterloo station and I am wearing an oversized t-shirt and telling sleepy commuters about the annual Wrap Up London coat collection. I must be nuts, I should be in bed!  I have helped with this event at Waterloo station (its at 9 stations across London) for the past 5 years. It’s a fun, heart warming, grass roots event, accessible, recycling, and gives me that wonderful volunteer buzz.  Last year Wrap Up London collected over 14,000 coats to be distributed to 100 charity partners.  These included elderly, homeless and women’s refuges.

The Friday Waterloo station, Wrap Up London team.

The Friday Waterloo station, Wrap Up London team.

Wrap up London

On Friday 13 November 2015 at Waterloo station alone the coat collection recieved 35 large sacks of coats, with 25 bags collected on Thursday.   That’s a lot of coats from just one gate line of one station. The amount of unworn and unloved clothing in the wardrobes of London is huge. People just need an accessible and easy way to re-home it.  Of course there are charity shops and now the TRAID and other clothing bins on street cornors but still 1.2 million tonnes of perfectly good clothing and textile waste is going into landfill, why?  What items in your wardrobe could be given a new lease of life?

Where do I get my clothes from?

Firstly I don’t tend to buy much as I would rather spend money on other things.  When I do, I buy a mix of charity shop items and well made, built to last pieces from sweatshop free sources. Essentially if the retailer can not tell me exactly where and how their items are made, then I smell a rat. Or at least an un-audited supply chain! There are lots of fantastic European makers who either use EU factories, or can be sure of the conditions their items are made in. My last two purchases of sustainable fashion were for my festival wardrobe; Burnt Soul (made in Bristol) and State of Disarray (sustainably made in Indonesia).

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