MORE THAN A PRODUCT
5 MINUTE READ
Thank you so much for supporting OutsideIn’s International Women’s Day Collection. To us, this collection is so much more than a few garments. This collection is a declaration that we’ll look a little closer and acknowledge that in order to bring true, lasting dignity, we will look at the details that make each woman and her experiences unique.
We are making a commitment to remember that help is not a one-size-fits all, and for it to be truly effective we need to remember that each person’s differences are valuable.
We are choosing to educate ourselves about the issues of homelessness and how women experiencing homelessness often have to face trials that are much more difficult than we presume.
We are vowing to be active in our pursuit of change, acknowledging that in order to see it happen, we can’t just wait around for someone else to make it.
We are standing with all the women who have been judged, mistreated, hurt, broken, tossed aside, pushed around, and forgotten, and we are declaring that we believe in them. We believe that they deserve kindness, love, hope, compassion, care and dignity.
For us, the impact doesn’t stop at International Women’s Day. This impact is an all-in kinda thing.
So, are you with us?
THE MEANING BEHIND THE DESIGN
The warped chess board: This represents how our society often views homelessness as a black and white issue, forgetting the nuances and details that mean that everyone who is impacted by it has a unique experience with it. We believe that in order to truly help those experiencing homelessness, particularly women as we celebrate International Women’s Day, we need to look at the grey area and the details found within it that make all the difference.
The Queen chess piece: In a world full of competing pieces, fighting to be the winner, this International Women’s Day we are recognising the power and strength that lies within the women around us. In a game filled with tricks and pursuit of winning, we recognise the Queen and her ability to make a move despite her odds.
The signpost: This represents the different things that call out for a woman's attention, often leaving her to feel pulled in a million directions. From personal health to childcare, maintaining the home and more, daily responsibilities often require women to be master multi-taskers - a heavy title to bear. For women experiencing homelessness, these factors and more often result in a choice between this or that, resulting in the sacrifice of one essential need for another.
The reaching hand: This hand represents society and its higher powers and the part they play in all of this. Influential figures hold the power to sway the game in the right direction. They also have the power to make the game more difficult. For women battling gender inequality as well as women experiencing homelessness, to truly bring dignity to both of these groups these powers need to choose to acknowledge the challenges facing women and take meaningful action to change it.
Gossip magazine collage: The standards placed on women today are not only high, but they’re also often unattainable. These magazines represent the harsh standards set for how women should look, feel, act, think, speak, dress and so much more. Women experiencing homelessness are no exception, in fact, it is often these unrealistic standards that push these women into compromising positions such as homelessness. Women are not designed to fit a perfect mould – they are designed to #breakthebias and shatter the ceilings imposed on them.
The statue: This represents the tough skin and incredible strength that women, especially those experiencing homelessness, can display in situations of crisis, difficulty and tribulations. We admire their resilience and acknowledge their strength.
The ivy: This plant, known for its ability to grow and spread its stalks very quickly, represents how unfair challenges can engulf a person’s livelihood, making it seem like these obstacles are choking them. For women experiencing homelessness, the ivy of homelessness can take over their lives, often leaving them in the clutch of an issue that is a rapidly growing epidemic.
Playing cards: We don’t choose the hand life deals us and for many women, sometimes the cards of life are harsh, unforgiving and unexpected. For those experiencing homelessness, their cards can often feel like an impossible hand. Yet, even with the odds stacked against them, the game must go on. For women of all backgrounds and circumstances, their admirable resilience in these situations is what carries them through.
The 2 of Hearts: Homelessness is a heart-splitting issue that affects even those who aren’t experiencing it. For society, there is often a strong desire to help; however, sadly, it can be met with feelings of uncertainty in how to help, awkwardness about doing so, and even distraction from the initial intention to help due to life’s busyness. As a result, our hearts are split - I want to help vs I don’t: know how/have time/know where to start/think I have what it takes. Only by putting the need and and our desire to help together can we truly help those in need.
Forget Me Not flowers: Like their name, these small, delicate flowers represent how in order to truly help women experiencing homelessness, we can’t forget them, and we must remember that their unique differences mean they have unique needs. Only by remembering these can we bring them the dignity they deserve.
THE CHARITY MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The Marylebone Project is a London-based organisation that provides direct support to women experiencing homelessness. With over 90 years of experience in supporting vulnerable women impacted by homelessness, the Marylebone Project is one of the longest-running women support centres in the UK.
The organisation operates with two key forms of support: their Hostel Accommodation Resettlement Support Programme and The Sanctuary (a 24/7, 365 drop-in centre). They pride themselves on the attention to detail they apply to their work with women impacted by homelessness and they are committed to looking at the complexities that accompany a woman in this situation. The Marylebone Project is a safe haven for these women and they work hard to help empower and equip these individuals to live their lives to the full and reintegrate into their societies with dignity and confidence.
Some of the women they support include those who have faced domestic abuse, human trafficking, modern slavery, alcohol and/or drug abuse, unemployment, emotional trauma, loneliness, learning disabilities, as well as racial and ethnicity issues.
The average age of the women supported by the Marylebone Project is between 35-45 years and many of these women will stay for up to 18 months. Following this, they’ll be further supported by the organisation’s Resettlement Team as they progress on to some form independent living or temporary accommodation.
Within the Marylebone Project’s services there are 112 residential beds that provide shelter, hope, safety and support to women at risk of rough sleeping or being in an unsafe environment. In addition to this amazing programme, they also help women to reenter the workplace by providing them with the support, skills and training they need to do so.
Your involvement with this campaign doesn’t end with your purchase - in fact, you could say it starts with your purchase!
Did you know that for every single item purchased from this collection we’ll donate a Dignity Kit to a woman experiencing homelessness? Working alongside the Marylebone Project, these kits will be distributed to women in need who are supported by the charity. Through these kits and the specific items included in them, we believe we can bring a small sense of dignity that might mean the world of difference to the woman it goes to.
Like so much in life, it is the little things that add up that make a true, tangible and lasting impact. Because of your support, we are able to do this one Dignity Kit at a time.
MEET THE KITS DELIVERING DIGNITY
Each Dignity Kit has been carefully put together with women in need in mind. In it, these women will find both essential and self-care items so that their needs are met and they’re looked after.
Each Dignity Kit provides:
2x TOTM Period Kits
Because that time of the month can’t be put off. Unfortunately for so many women, these products are inaccessible and often completely unaffordable. These period kits won’t solve the problem of period poverty but they will make a difference.
Did you know that socks are considered an essential item to many charities because they are so in-demand? Yet they are often forgotten in donations. These thick, warm and absorbent socks will provide the comfort, protection and care that will make a mile in a tough pair of shoes a whole lot easier.
No one likes to feel insecure about their body odour. It’s embarrassing, uncomfortable and robs someone's dignity. So, this small product will make a huge difference.
Lip and skin care can significantly suffer during these colder months, especially if you are rough sleeping. This product will provide much-needed relief for dry, chapped and broken skin and lips.
Words are powerful and we intend to use them for good.
Some say that a woman carries her entire life in her bag. For some women experiencing homelessness, this couldn’t be more true. We included this Tote Bag to make that load a little easier to carry.