Vendor Spotlight: The Social Mercenary
Founded by Jack Fellows, The Social Mercenary is dedicated to bringing a distinctly West African flavour to modern street apparel. They take an ethical approach to textile manufacturing and have teamed up with social enterprises in Ghana to create a unique range of clothing, bags and accessories. All of their products are manufactured using local fabrics and our business supports local communities to create an incredible set of unique on-trend products.
It all started in Hong Kong when Jack, working in a job he didn’t enjoy living in a room effectively the size of a coffin he began to think of those precious times back in Ghana and back to those beautiful fabrics that so inspired him and, the amount of attention and praise he got for his new, quirky backpack.
It took time but day after day Jack shared this message with others and at one particular fair, was dragging people in through the door in order to tell people about his mission. “On the days that I didn’t have meetings I took a suitcase full of bags and flyers down to the local universities and just set up and told my story to EVERY single person that walked past”. After time Jack began to sell more and more bags and was even picked up by news journalist Alessandro Meccheri that studied at Hong Kong University.
Jack then managed to make enough money to go back to Ghana, where he met Ethical Apparel Africa. He found with the first set of backpacks that they were all so different and that quality wasn’t consistent throughout. After several meetings with EAA they have redesigned the backpacks for superior quality.
Vendor Spotlight: GLOW
Founded by Comet Chukura, who graduated from The London College of Fashion, GLOW enables you to stand with those who are vulnerable, as you stand out at night. Each piece is individually handmade by disadvantaged women, providing them with an opportunity to gain work skills, a supplementary income and be part of a greater community. GLOW aims to empower their makers, paying them a fair wage, utilising their established skill set and enabling them to believe and realise their value.
The light reflective accessories range are expertly crocheted using a cutting-edge wool blend that has a 15% glass fibre component woven into it which is light reflective. Meaning in the daytime, the pieces look trendy whilst at night, the glass fibre elements reflect light: car light, road lights etc and come to life, illuminating the wearer as light bounces off of it. The delicate knit texture makes it soft to the skin and luxurious to wear making it a unique gift that looks good and feels good.
Run To The Big Issue Shop For Marathon Deals!
Warm up for the London Marathon with custom kit that goes the extra mile.
Spring is here and that can mean only one thing – it’s marathon season. The London Marathon makes its annual return on April 22, hoping to break the world record for an annual single-day charity fundraising event for the twelfth straight year after raising £61.5 million in 2017. A total of 40,382 runners braved the historic course last year and whether you’re a 26.2 mile-veteran with a raft of anecdotes about taking on ‘the wall’ and winning, or you’re donning running shoes for the one and only time in your life in aid of a worthy cause, you need good quality equipment to get you over the line.
The Big Issue Shop will be with you every step of the way with the all-new Marathon Collection.
When you’re feeling good as you eat up the miles early on, and then when the aches and pains start to slow you down as you deliriously acknowledge the final mile marker with a grimace, our fashionable running-inspired gear will help.
If you’re tired of the dayglow neon polyester, put your best foot forward with any of the 100 per cent cotton t-shirts on offer, letting you stand out from the crowd as you sprint your way through the traffic. You can even add your own personal touch by adding your name to let the watching fans something to shout about out just as you start to flag in a last push for the finish.
And best of all, every purchase makes a difference, helping The Big Issue’s mission to eradicate poverty gather pace.
SHOP THE MARATHON COLLECTION
Vendor Spotlight: Jollie’s Socks
Founder, Ed, started Jollie’s after becoming increasingly uneasy about walking past people sleeping rough and not knowing what to do. After volunteering at a local Shelter and chatting to some of the visitors, Ed saw a need he could meet. Socks!
Fresh socks might not seem like a life-changer but for those walking the streets day and night foot hygiene is essential. Unlike other items of clothing, socks are rarely donated to homeless shelters and fly out the minute they’re given.
Local Shelters responded immediately to the idea of receiving boxes of good quality socks and so Ed started designing and came up with a socially focused brand that gives away sustainable sock donations off each pair of Jollie’s sold. So when a pair is brought, another one goes to a local shelter.
Jollie’s socks work with a variety of shelters across the UK, including London, Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds.
Vendor Spotlight: Thraedable
Thraedable is a social enterprise that tells the stories of people on the margins of society and raises funds for grassroots organisations that defend their human rights. They do this with sustainable clothes inspired by people’s art and they share 50% of gross profits with their partner NGOs.
Each piece of clothing or accessory is inspired by and promotes the story of the creator. These could include memories of their home, raising awareness of a cause or just small moments of life. For example, ‘BELLA’ (Pictured Below) was inspired by a drawing made by a minor from Senegal during Thraedable’s workshops with unaccompanied migrant minors in Syracuse, Sicily. Asked to share a word that means something to him, he picked a word he had recently learnt in his Italian lessons: Bella, meaning beautiful.
Thraedable also provide numerous workshops across the world and their partner NGO’s work on international projects. These projects support a variety of causes, including relief for refugee migrants and raising awareness of children affected by Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), a rare genetic condition of hypersensitivity to UV light.
Vendor Spotlight: Hopeful Traders
Hopeful Traders is a social arts project and clothing brand, tackling the issues that plague our society through collaboration with those affected by them. David Tovey (pictured) has weathered cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness, and is one of Hopeful Traders prominent designers.
Other designers include ROL (Ray of Light) and ANXTI. By collaborating with those who have been affected by homelessness, Hopeful Traders brings a unique range, while showcasing the creativity of the community and raising much-needed funds for organisations on the front line of homelessness.
Designers also nominate a charity to receive a percentage of sales of their clothing, allowing them to give back to the organisations that have supported them and their community.
Get Ready For Social Saturday!
Social enterprises are businesses that put people and planet first, by re-investing their profits to provide training, employment, education, clean water and much, much more.
Social Saturday is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the difference that social enterprises are making in communities, both on your doorstep and around the world. The day encourages you to support these businesses when making your purchasing decisions. Check out our dedicated collection and make sure your money goes further with shopping social!
SHOP THE SOCIAL SATURDAY COLLECTION
Taylor + Rani: The Teen Social Underwear Enterprise
Taylor + Rani sell vibrant, colourful underwear for teenagers, to help support young girls in places like Zimbabwe, Malawi and Sierra Leone. These girls can often miss out on completing their education due to lack of access to toilets and sanitary provisions. Currently partnering with a charity that works to help girls stay in education longer, purchases of underwear provide equipment, additional clothing and financial support.
Specifically, for every pair of knickers purchased Taylor + Rani donate a pair of knickers and for every bra or other product such as a scrunchie bought, a monetary donation goes towards the building of separate girls toilets at schools. They also provide sanitary products for girls so that they do not have to halt their education upon hitting puberty.
Shout It Out Loud!
The Big Issue believes in the power of people and thought-provoking protests. With that in mind, we have specially created a collection of t-shirts and mugs that are customisable with personal statements, unique to your cause. So even if you’re passionate about ending poverty or engaged in environmental issues – you can say it out loud with a Big Issue product.
Anytime you see “Customise Me” in store, you will be able to change some or all of the text within the design. Just look at the options available and type into text boxes to personalise your message. We print custom products on demand, and we will edit the design with your message intact before sending your package to your door. Every item purchased helps us to achieve our mission of dismantling poverty and creating opportunities for the disadvantaged.
SHOP THE CUSTOM COLLECTION