My name is Alex Dawber and I run a clothing brand called 4bysix. The label started as a university project 4 years ago, since then I have exhibited the brand globally at shows in; Iceland, LA, Paris and London. In June this year I found myself questioning fashion and its purpose amongst society, I asked myself what am I trying to make, what am I trying to achieve? Am I trying to design items that help people classify themselves better or cooler than the next person? Cynical maybe but this is how I felt. Their are lines of clothing brands and fashion houses that seem to embrace this affect of fashion. These thoughts lead me down a new path.
Living in London and working in central London for 5 years, it's impossible not to notice the rising amount of homeless people on the streets day in day out. Not to mention, young homeless people. The amount of children classed as homeless has soared by 40% in the last 3 years. A fact that inspires me everyday.
I decided to make a collection of clothing; a tracksuit, a t-shirt and a sleeping bag. The message was simple, buy a tracksuit and we'll donate 3 sleeping bags on your behalf to the young and homeless this winter. Buy a t-shirt and we'll donate 1 sleeping bag to a homeless person on your behalf this winter. I partnered with New Horizon Youth Centre in Kings Cross, they cater for young homeless people aged between 16-21. They have a canteen where anyone aged between 16-21 can eat twice a day and have numerous creative workshops you can attend if interested. The centre offers advice, shower facilities, a laundrette and a space that when you enter you feel at ease and safe. New Horizon Youth Centre have an outreach team that are actively out on the streets 7 nights a week helping the vulnerable and homeless.
This project came to life via a Kickstarter campaign, needing to raise £15,000 in 30 days, this would pay for the clothing and 500 sleeping bags. The project gathered momentum, followers and volunteers that the spurred the project on. I ended up having a core team of 4 people along with over 30 other contributors - Media outlets, clothing stores, photographers, studios, good people. An overwhelming response. We made our target of 15K on the last day (23/11/2017), meaning we can give out 500 sleeping bags this winter to the homeless. Overjoyed.
I'm not religious in any way, but cant deny I felt some type of spiritual experience the whole way through this project and it has certainly changed me for the good.
4bysix will continue to create projects that directly help the homeless, in particularly young homeless people. I am putting this post out to explain my journey and to let you know what stage I am at. 500 sleeping bags are currently in production, along with the collection of clothing that helped raise the money to pay for the sleeping bags.
If anyone would like to get invovled in our projects going forward please don't hesitate to reach out on here or email me at [email protected]
I am currently looking for tips and advice that people feel may benefit this project going forward. Any advice is welcome, I appreciate I am new to this sector and may have missed some tricks along the way. I am looking for grants that would help this project keep moving, any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Any companies out there that would be interested in collaborating? Soup Kitchens, designers, my ears are open, please get in touch.
If you would like to follow our journey on social media, follow the account - @4bysix