A dream to clothe 200,000 Australians in need each year
Published on 18 May 2020
New clothes give people self-respect and belief in themselves for a more positive future
Jodie and her five children escaped from a violent relationship with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. Then a friend put them in touch with Thread Together.
“They gave us all brand new clothes and I got my dignity and self-esteem back,” Jodie says. “That’s huge.”
Thread Together provides people in need with clothes that help them feel safe and warm, or confident when they’re applying for a job. And these are not just any clothes. They’re new, high-quality garments from some of Australia’s big names in fashion – and they were destined to end up as landfill.
“I don’t think many people realise that a third of the garments produced are never sold,” says Andie Halas, Founder and Chair of Thread Together. “To go straight from factory to landfill makes no sense. We put them directly into the hands of those who need them most so, for us, clothing people for free is also an ethical response to fashion waste.”
The dignity of new clothes
Dignity is at the heart of everything Thread Together sets out to achieve.
It starts with an experience most of us take for granted – walking into a shop, choosing clothes we like and trying them on.
“We give people the choice to dress however they want,” Halas says.
Thread Together clothing hubs operate in partnership with over 150 location-specific charities such as Anglicare and St Vincent de Paul. They’re staffed by volunteers trained to help build customers’ confidence by promoting positive choices. The aim is for everyone to walk out with renewed dignity and hope along with their new clothes.
“I came here first as a person who needed help and support,” says Mary, a Thread Together customer. “For me there were no judgements whatsoever, just love.”
Meeting a national need
So far, Thread Together has distributed more than 8 million dollars’ worth of clothes to over 150,000 people. These were donated by brands such as Retail Apparel Group, Outland Denim, Bendon Lingerie, Under Armour, The Upside and PE Nation.
Currently based in Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide, Thread Together’s goal is to clothe 200,000 people across Australia every year. The $35,000 grants awarded as part of Sunsuper’s Dreams for a Better World program will help them to kick-start their expansion with a new clothes hub in Brisbane. And, meanwhile, the team is working hard to continue providing their service during COVID-19 restrictions while respecting health and safety guidelines.
“We’re very proud to be helping organisations like Thread Together to make the world a better place,” says Sunsuper CEO Bernard Reilly. “Sunsuper’s Dreams for a Better World program is an ongoing commitment to partner with grassroots community groups, not-for-profit organisations and small businesses to help them dream big and do good. We’re looking forward to receiving applications for a share of the $150,000 in grants we’ll be awarding later this year.”