Hopeful Traders: Fashion drawn from the streets

Hopeful Traders collaborate with artists who have been affected by homelessness as designers for their clothing range

Hopeful Traders work with artists who have been affected by social issues like homelessness to create designs for their clothing range. All their sales contribute money to homelessness charities and every piece of clothing is organic and ethically manufactured by Fair Wear suppliers. Founder Charlie Wright tells us more…

I started Hopeful Traders at the end of 2015. After having lived and worked in London for a few years, I decided to start Hopeful Traders as a response to the ever present issue of homelessness that surrounds you in a city like London. I was aware of the creativity within the community, and knew that talents could flourish given the opportunity.

I was aware of the creativity within the homeless community, and knew that talents could flourish given the opportunity

Our first collaborator was David Tovey (pictured below). A veteran who was transitioning from a shelter into a flat at the time. Illness had destroyed David’s career as a business owner and chef. What followed was chronic health problems, homelessness and suicide attempts.

He has since become an incredible example of how art and opportunity can turn someone’s life around. David used money from the sales of his collaboration with Hopeful Traders to buy a sewing machine to make the clothing for his fashion show for the Museum of Homelessness and Tate Modern. We have also raised over £3,000 for the shelter that first housed David after he became homeless.

The way we work is that we find artists with a story to tell, and a message about a social issue such as homelessness or mental health. We collaborate on designs for the clothing and the sales contribute a percentage directly to the artist, and also to a charity that they have chosen to support.

So far we have raised over £4,000 for charities and over £5,000 for the artists. We have raised money for Single Homeless Project, Pilion Trust, C4WS, The Simon Community, and Café Art. Last summer we also raised funds and collaborated with the Homeless World Cup.

DID YOU KNOW…

Last year, 27,000 people worldwide earned an income selling street papers, making a total of £23.4 million.

All our products are responsibly sourced. The vast majority of our products are certified by the Fair Wear Foundation and are organic cotton.

In May we will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to give people the opportunity to fund a completely new range of products, including a new collaborator.

Check out the Hopeful Traders range at The Big Issue Shop