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This charity is bringing London Fashion Week to the homeless

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Megan Murray
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Accumulate is partnering with Somerset House and Levi’s to open the fashion industry to young homeless adults in London. 

London Fashion Week: the cameras, the celebrities, the clothes - it’s a world that most people don’t get the chance to experience, unless they’re a model, designer or fashion editor. 

And out of everyone, those living on the street are possibility in the most disadvantaged position to tap into this industry, something youth homelessness charity Accumulate is dedicated to changing. 

Accumulate specialises in helping young, homeless people to develop their wellbeing and improve their lives through creativity, hosting workshops and events linked to the arts, fashion, photography, creative writing and much more. 

Over the last five years the charity has partnered with art industry heavyweights such as the Tate and the Barbican, and now they have secured a collaboration with Somerset House, to ensure that some of the young adults they work with who have aspirations in fashion aren’t shut out of Fashion Week.

Looking at youth culture and particularly the iconic-ness of the denim jacket, a selection of young adults living in temporary accommodation in hostels all over London have been invited to Somerset House this week to design their own denim jacket thanks to a generous donation from Levi’s. 

The makers at Somerset House, including artists in residence and screen printers have contributed to the project by giving material and fabrics, enabling participants to interpret the theme and redesign their gifted jackets. 

The project’s design process culminates in a catwalk happening this afternoon with homeless participants modelling their jackets and a photoshoot by Duncan Raban, who has previously photographed stars like Tina Turner. 

If you’re in Central London and want to show some support, check out the charity’s Twitter page and note down the 9 April in your diary, which is when the participants will be presenting their final products at Autograph in Rivington Place and selling them to profit from their creativity. 

The charity also helps source and fund scholarships so that some of the people they work with can attend the Access to HE Diploma course in Design and Digital Media at Ravensbourne University London. These Accumulate Scholarships enable people, who thought university education was unachievable, to achieve that goal. 

The project was founded in 2014 by Marice Cumber who had previously experienced the wonders that creative education can do, and was passionate about helping with the homelessness issue in her own community. 

Cumber says: “The Accumulate creative workshops are planned to be fulfilling, meaningful and mentally engaging and, through their involvement, enable the Accumulate participants to unlock their learning potential and abilities, believe in themselves more, and so build their resilience, sense of purpose and ambition.”

First image : Sabela Peinado / Second image: Curtis Lewis

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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