NEXT weekend will mark the fourth Raid My Wardrobe, an annual market bursting with stalls selling high-quality recycled clothing, shoes and accessories.
But this is the first year market founder Rachel Prest has also held a bra drive.
A collaboration with charity Uplift Project, Prest is encouraging Novocastrian women to bring along their unwanted bras for the drive.
The Uplift Project distributes donated bras to women in impoverished communities throughout the Asia-Pacific region (including to indigenous women in remote areas of Australia).
Since its inception in 2005, the Uplift Project has distributed about 750,000 bras throughout countries such as Tonga, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
Instances of fungal infections, thrush, breast feeding leakage and mastectomy discomfort can all be alleviated by a properly fitting and good quality bra.
However, the expense of bras is often too great for women in impoverished communities, who may prioritise basic needs like food and education for their children over their own.
The opportunity for collaboration presented itself to Prest when one of her customers emailed her regarding the Uplift project.
‘‘I had a quick look into it and I thought, ‘This is fantastic’,’’ she said.
‘‘I posted on Facebook, ‘Would you buy a preloved bra?’, and a lot of my customers said ‘No way!’ and I thought ‘Wow! Some of the bras we own are hardly worn’.’’
Prest says she has always held a vested interest in sustainability, and saw unwanted bras as a missed opportunity when it came to recycling clothing – especially with women in need.
‘‘I have this whole community of women who are into recycling and are happy to recycle their clothes and I’m sure that everyone in my community could at least find one bra to donate, if not a few more,’’ she said.
‘‘We could have a thousand or so bras that we could donate to the Uplift Project that they could donate to the Pacific Asian region where bras are too expensive to buy.’’
NSW co-ordinator for the Uplift Project, Anna Davis, said Prest had been ‘‘delightful’’ to work with.
‘‘It’s wonderful from our point of view – we are a non-profit organisation and she’s been very happy to involve her clients and contributers in Uplift,’’ she said.
‘‘She’s given me links to what she’s been doing promoting Uplift through her Facebook and website, so it’s great to have her on board.’’
Prest said she had received overwhelming support from her Raid My Wardrobe community, which has close to 4000 followers on social media, but could do with some assistance from the business community.
‘‘I’m looking for someone in the business community who may help with transporting them. I’m imagining if we’ve got boxes and boxes of bras, it would be great if someone could help with getting them to the depot,’’ she said.
Prest hopes the bra drive will become an annual event with her market. Raid My Wardrobe and Project Uplift’s Bra Drive is on Sunday, June 1 from 10am to 1pm. Entry is $5 and there is free parking.