1164. Rachael Bews
Rachael Bews, from Edinburgh, is the founder of ‘ALICAS’, an organisation that helps survivors of domestic abuse regain dignity and confidence by supplying them with bespoke, empowering capsule wardrobes.
Rachael, a domestic abuse survivor herself who fled from Italy to Scotland, recognised that women often leave their abusive partners with very few belongings and lack the outfits needed to rebuild their lives and attend job interviews. To support these women, she started providing capsule wardrobes containing 30 essential but high-quality items of clothing, repurposed from surplus stock owned by High Street retailers, such as German retailer ‘Navabi’, and tailored specifically to suit the sizing, cultural and religious needs of the recipient. ‘ALICAS’ has currently received over 1,100 donated items of new and unused clothing, and is working with 11 referral agencies from across Scotland and England that support women through domestic abuse, sexual violence, human trafficking, homelessness, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.
In a personal letter to Rachael, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“You know, through personal experience, the profound and empowering effect a new wardrobe can have on the lives of survivors of domestic abuse. Through ALICAS, not only are you giving them new clothes, you are giving them renewed confidence, dignity and a way of rebuilding their lives. I wish you the very best as you continue to grow your work.”
“It is such an honour to be recognised by the Prime Minister for the work ALICAS is doing to support and empower women in clothing crisis as they rebuild their lives, while offering clothing retailers and designers a socially and environmentally responsible alternative to landfill and incineration.
“Behind every statistic is a woman in clothing need, and our key goal is to empower communities and achieve our ambitious social targets in the months and years to come – creating an open source toolkit so that the innovation behind ALICAS can have a global impact.”