Now open: Cafs CEO Wendy Sturgess and program lead Nicole Roberts welcomed visitors to the Thread Together Clothing Hub for the first time last week. Photos: EDWINA WILLIAMS

BEC + Bridge, Tommy Hilfiger, Camilla and Marc, Calvin Klein, PE Nation, R.M. Williams, and Bendon are all big brands you might come across while browsing David Jones. But at the recently opened Cafs-seed-funded Thread Together Clothing Hub in Ballarat, brand-new pieces from these quality labels are clothing those needing a new, clean, warm set of clothes and footwear. Cafs CEO Wendy Sturgess said the city’s social and welfare agencies can send clients in need of fresh garments and shoes to the Thread Together Clothing Hub, to receive a brand-new full wardrobe, or any individual items, with styling and sizing assistance from the store’s volunteers. “People may never have had a whole new set of clothing ever, so this creates dignity and confidence,” she said. [caption id="attachment_77895" align="alignright" width="300"] The Thread Together Clothing Hub has special wardrobe pieces for any client’s taste.[/caption] “Maybe they’re long-term unemployed, coming out of prison or out of a family violence situation. “There’s no buying, or money changing hands. People get a gift card, meet with a volunteer, and have a whole shopping experience like anyone else would, seeing what suits and fits them. “People are treated with dignity, and it’s a beautifully supportive environment.” Thread Together CEO Anthony Chesler said one third of all manufactured clothing is currently going to landfill, so the organisation has partnered with well-known fashion brands, and groups like Cafs, to divert those leftovers and keep communities cosy. “Anything that doesn’t sell, we go and collect that clothing from them. They don’t have to pay a landfill change, a freight charge or warehousing charges, and we do that in partnership with Toll,” he said. “We bring that product back to or centralised distribution hub in Sydney. We’ll receive a donation and then a huge army of volunteers, including from our corporate partners like the Commonwealth Bank and Afterpay, help us to sort the clothes into categories and sizes. “The Ballarat Clothing Hub is one of four channels that we distribute to. Another is online where social services and registered charities agencies can log on, place orders, and build wardrobes.” If the Ballarat Clothing Hub runs low on any stock, the network of volunteers will sort and distribute what they require. Ms Sturgess said Cafs “loves the beautiful fit” of the two organisations with their aligning values. “This is about how we can help the community, and those in our programs, in the most efficient, productive way. We also want to be sustainable, green, and lower our carbon footprint,” she said. Mr Chesler said his organisation is reliant on fundraising to deliver the clothing service. “The general public can make the biggest difference to us. It costs us $5 to provide a full brand-new wardrobe, or 20 to 30 units of clothing, to someone in need. “We’re helping 2000 people a week, so for at least $5 donors can help us clothe more people around the country,” he said. Find the Thread Together Clothing Hub in the former Wozzles Wearhouse op shop at 11 Grenville Street south. Visit threadtogether.org.
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