Research by Oxfam found that women are hoarding £1.2bn worth of unworn bras in their lingerie drawer. The charity found that the average woman has nine bras, of which a third are unused. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, partly because we don’t know what to do with them when they become unwearable. I myself am guilty of not knowing whether a charity shop would take old bras, but it seems they do and not only do they take them, Oxfam are actively seeking them.
During the month of April, Oxfam have launched the Big Bra Hunt. The Big Bra Hunt is a new campaign to get women up and down the country to donate their old bras. It is supported by celebs Helen Mirren, Zoe Ball and Miquita Oliver and launched on the first Sunday of the month at Spitalfields market.
When you donate bras to Oxfam, many will be sold in Oxfam UK high street stores and others will be sent to Frip Ethique (meaning ‘ethical second-hand clothing’), a unique project run by Oxfam in Senegal. Frip Ethique trades Oxfam UK’s unsold second-hand clothing and provides employment for local people. As bras are so complex to manufacture, they are highly sought after in West African second-hand clothing markets.
For those who want to arrange a group collection with their friends, there is a collector’s kit available complete with invitations and party ideas. For discreet individuals with only one or two bras to give, you can download a freepost label and post them directly to Oxfam’s recycling facility, Wastesaver, to be sent straight to Senegal.
Also as part of the ongoing M&S and Oxfam Clothes Exchange, bra hunters who donate an M&S bra (still the nation’s favourite) to their local Oxfam shop will receive a voucher worth £5 off a £35 spend on clothing, home and beauty at M&S stores and online. Visit www.oxfam.org.uk/bras to find out more about how to donate.
Photo credit: Abbie Trayler-Smith