June 17, 2024

Here’s how you can shop Laura Whitmore and Una Healy’s wardrobes to help youth mental health

As a former clothes horse and mobile phone addict, I have to admit that staying at home in London during lockdown over the best part of the past year has provided me with an opportunity to re-evaluate.

I’d developed a love-hate relationship with the two industries I was most passionate about: technology and fashion. Sitting at my laptop for the bulk of 2020 (mostly wearing grey joggers and a cardigan) and doing investigative reporting for Glamour on the worst behaviours on the internet and the extractive and exploitative side of fashion, was enough to make me wonder if my goals in life still fitted within the value systems of these industries. I didn’t need or want half of the things in my wardrobe and the less I used my phone, the better I felt.

But when I got a call from an old friend back home in Ireland in autumn 2020, it forced me to challenge this way of thinking. My friend shared devastating news about a pal Marie Sullivan who’d lost her 23-year-old daughter Arwen to suicide within the first few weeks of lockdown.

It brought into focus just how tough the pandemic is on so many families who are losing loved ones not solely to coronavirus, but also to mental illness. And not having the opportunity to grieve for them properly compounds the sadness.

For ages I’d been wanting to list items from my wardrobe on sites like the mobile shopping app Depop or the fashion rental app ByRotation and opt into a more circular way of living. And now it felt like there was a real, purposeful reason to put those thoughts into action – with ShareJoy.

The concept of ShareJoy is simple; get accomplished women in the UK and Ireland to donate pieces from their wardrobes that they love, These items are then listed on Depop and the proceeds of the sale go to mental health charities. The ShareJoy platform sees clothes as a vehicle for expression, stories and emotion.

Amazing things are possible when people put their hearts, minds and wardrobes together.

We’ll be supporting different charities in the UK and Ireland over time. The first designated charity is Pieta which does stellar work in the area of suicide prevention in Ireland. We want to spotlight British and Irish design, local business, and pre-loved or sustainable fashion. ShareJoy is about using the circular economy (existing resources) to support the third sector (nonprofits and charities).

It’s also focused on time-well-spent on social media. So if you’re doom scrolling on our Instagram or spending ages on our website then we’re not getting it right. We’re building a community that will share useful information and resources about wellbeing and prompt conversations about sustainability in fashion in a way that actually includes everyone. That means also engaging with people who buy or sell fast fashion or who are on a tight budget. The approach we are taking to the problem of fast fashion is to get everyone in the room and move towards a change in mindset focused on positive behaviours, education, transparency and more mindful consumption.

We’ve launched ShareJoy with a Depop edit of items donated by 20 women in the UK and Ireland including stunning pieces by Love Island host Laura Whitmore and The Saturdays singer Una Healy.

There will be monthly drops in the Depop shop and events taking place throughout the year. And we’re inviting you reach out if you have an item that you’d like to donate to the official ShareJoy Depop shop.

The pandemic has been rough for our wellbeing. Women in particular are shouldering the burden of covid as they’re more likely to take on the tasks of homeschooling and household chores. They’re also more likely to lose their jobs because they’re on lower incomes or part-time roles. And young people are also really feeling the effects as their employment and social prospects plummet. But if I have learned anything from the past year it is that amazing things are possible when people put their hearts, minds and wardrobes together.

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