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Burberry celebrates International Women's Day, bringing the magic of Smart Works to its flagship showroom

  • Burberry has been working with UK charity Smart Works since 2013, donating Burberry product as part of the service the charity provides to help women in need back into employment
  • To mark International Women’s Day, Burberry hosted a special Smart Works dressing session in its flagship showroom in London, curating Burberry capsule work wardrobes for seven of the charity’s clients. On this day, the charity has supported more than 13,000 women across the UK
  • Female photographer Esther Theaker captured portraits of the clients, creating a powerful image series released today on International Women’s Day
  • The partnership demonstrates the broader impact fashion brands can have through donation of surplus stock

Burberry and UK charity Smart Works celebrated International Women’s Day by hosting a dressing session at the brand’s London flagship showroom. Seven of the charity’s clients received a one-to-one styling session with members of Burberry’s private clients team and a Burberry capsule work wear wardrobe.

Each of the clients are at stage two of the Smart Works programme, meaning they have secured employment and will now be provided with clothing to wear to their new job, ahead of their first pay check. 

Female photographer Esther Theaker captured portraits of all the women on the day in their new workwear wardrobe, creating a powerful image series released on International Women’s Day. 

Burberry has been working with UK women’s charity Smart Works since 2013, donating Burberry product for interview clothing as part of the service provided to help women in need get back into employment.

Half of Smart Works’ clients are from an ethnic minority, long term unemployed and have been unsuccessful with a large number of job applications. In addition, 40% of Smart Works’ clients are single mothers. With the charity’s support, 60% of clients go on to secure employment. Smart Works aims to dress 3500 women this year across its two London offices and additional bases in key cities across the UK including Edinburgh, Manchester, Reading, Birmingham and Newcastle.

Judy Collinson, Chief Merchandising Officer, Burberry said: “We are passionate about our longstanding partnership with Smart Works and the significant impact it has on women’s work lives. We both believe in the transformative power of clothes and Smart Works empowers women by giving them the tools and confidence to succeed. Our partnership also contributes towards our efforts to revalue surplus stock, whilst supporting the communities around us. Such a positive outcome is something we can all celebrate.”

Kate Stephens, CEO, Smart Works said: “At Smart Works we have been proud to partner with Burberry for over five years. We share a mission to harness creativity in order to bring about positive social change. Their generous donations of product, volunteer time and funds have helped us to transform the lives of our clients, leaving them feeling cherished and valued. We are so excited to bring the Smart Works magic to life with our clients at Burberry in celebration of International Women’s Day 2019.”

Following Burberry’s announcement last year to find new and innovative ways to revalue product, the brand will be maximising its longstanding partnership with Smart Works. The partnership and special event demonstrates the broader impact fashion brands can have through donation of surplus stock and the benefits of a more circular approach.


NOTES TO EDITORS:

About Smart Works

Smart Works is a UK charity that provides high quality interview clothes and interview training to unemployed women in need. They harness the power of clothes to enable a woman to feel her best at a crucial moment in her life, giving her the confidence and self-belief required to succeed at interview and transform her life.

About Burberry’s Responsibility agenda

Burberry has had social and environmental programmes in place for more than a decade and was recognised externally as the leading luxury brand in the textiles, apparel and luxury goods sector in this year’s Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

Burberry’s latest five-year goals to 2022 include:

  • Becoming carbon neutral in our operations and revaluing waste
  • Stimulating demand for more sustainable raw materials, improving worker wellbeing, environmental sustainability in our supply chain
  • Helping communities that support the luxury industry

In May 2018, Burberry became a core partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative to join with industry leaders to explore how our industry can work towards the vision for a circular economy for fashion. Burberry also committed to ending the destruction of unsaleable product in September 2018.

As part of this work, Burberry has formed a five-year partnership with sustainable luxury brand, Elvis & Kresse, to transform at least 120 tonnes of leather offcuts from the production of Burberry products into a range of accessories. The brand also has a partnership with Progetto Quid in Italy, who transform donated products and materials into a new range of clothing, also providing work for vulnerable men and women.