Grey College has been running a Charity Fashion Week this week, from 23rd-28th February, going a step beyond hosting just the usual, albeit wonderful, fashion show. The Charity Representatives, Sara Halliday and Viresh Joshi, along with their Committee, have found innovative new ways to fundraise, with fashion at the core. Viresh spoke of their hopes for the week: ’We’re hoping that Grey responds well to this week’s events and look forward to more Fashion Weeks in the future.’ As an avid lover of Chazza C (Grey’s very own ‘nickname’ for charity), I can assure him that I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the college’s inaugural Fashion Week.
On Monday, the college hosted a pop-up charity shop to support Scope and The Children’s Society. Gone was the need to head down to a charity shop in town to do something good in return for fabulous clothes – you could buy charity shop clothes from your very own front door. There were both men’s and women’s clothes for sale at bargain prices, from £1 to around £4, with all proceeds going to these respective charities. This event raised a whopping £81 – and it was only Day 1 of Fashion Week! Scope advocates for equal rights for disabled people. They provide support for individuals, families and carers, while also working to raise awareness on issues regarding disability. Meanwhile, The Children’s Society works to help disadvantaged children lead better lives and realise their full potential. They work with a diverse range of people, from young carers to runaway adolescents. Money raised for them will help with their aim to fight child poverty and neglect throughout the country. There are 3.7 million children living in poverty in the UK, and the charity is working hard to combat that. Viresh said of this event: ’We’re focusing on remaining local and fostering a symbiotic relationship between college and County Durham, and hopefully using our presence here to engage with some of the most pressing local issues and supporting local charitable endeavours. Scope and The Children’s Society donated a great selection of clothes. It was great to see people engage so well with local charity shops – particularly freshers, who thanks to the comfort and ease of college life would rarely go down to North Road to have a browse.’ The popularity of the event and the amount it raised certainly vouches for that!
On Day 2 of Fashion Week, the college got their swish on! They hosted a Swishing Party (clothes swapping, in layman’s terms). People paid £1 to take part, brought along any clothes they didn’t want and got a token in return, which they could exchange for another item of clothing. People got some new clothes in return for ones they won’t wear anymore. Everyone has something that’s not quite right for them anymore hidden away in the back of their wardrobe, and this event cleverly took advantage of that fact for a good cause. The money raised went to Smart Works, a charity which provides professional clothes for unemployed women when they attend job interviews. The charity sees how important good clothing can be for self-confidence in these work environments, an ethos which Sara felt fit perfectly with that of Fashion Week. Any professional style clothing left after the swapping is to be donated to Smart Works, and Viresh informs me that a bag of casual clothes given at these Fashion Week events is to be donated to The Children’s Society charity shop on North Road.
This event was followed the next day by Barber of Neville doing men’s haircuts for a charitable donation of £5. Through this, they managed to raise £30, which will be going to the Allington House Visual Impairment Group. Allington House offers fantastic care to many and the Visual Impairment Group is a wonderfully worthwhile cause, providing specialist care for those who are visually impaired. What better an opportunity to get that much-needed haircut – a bargain cost for a great cause. On Thursday there was a clothes alteration workshop. People learnt how to add embroidery to their clothes, and had the opportunity to ask a fellow student DIY expert all about customising clothing. All of these great events are culminating in the charity event of the year on Saturday – the Fashion Show. With an Auction of Promises and many other treats in store, it’s sure to be a night to remember. But the week as a whole has been memorable for the appeal it has had to a vast range of students, and the charitable impact and benefit stemming from this. Viresh told me of his aims for the week: ‘This year we hoped to build on the extraordinary success of the Fashion Show, to maximise charitable profits and hopefully diversify our range of charitable activities. For example, having Barber of Neville come in really brought people in in a very different way to Fashion Show.’ It is incredibly important to highlight the importance of charity to a wide selection of people – after all, the more people get involved, the more money we raise for all of these fantastic charities. This has definitely been achieved by Grey College Fashion Week – long may it continue!
If you want to find out more about some of the charities mentioned, visit: