Our Stories of Support series exists to call attention to people, organisations and communities in our sector. We want it to be a way to increase the chances of people hearing about this stuff.
The Blankfaces does kind of the same thing. They take stories from people who are used to not being listened to and amplify them. The Blankfaces tell the people they work with that they deserve to be heard, then they show them what that means.
They’re the UK’s first clothing label aimed at ending homelessness. It’s the coolest thing ever. Each of their designs is inspired or created by someone who is or has experienced homelessness. It tells their story in their own way. The designer gets a percentage of each product sold with the rest of the profits going to help the small grassroots organisations they work with.
I spoke to The Blankfaces’ founder, Gerard McKenzie-Govan on the phone first thing on a Monday morning and honestly, it powered me through the whole week. His passion was real and infectious as he talked about the fundamental unfairness of the system, and his dedication to making space for the stories of people who have been mistreated by it.
The design process sounds amazing. It’s a twelve week workshop where Gerard and his team really get to know the people they work with – holding space, listening, encouraging them to timeline their journey. It’s a safe place they can go each week to be heard. By the end of the twelve weeks, everyone has at least one design, something that means something to them, something that represents their journey, their story.
Then, the designs are brought to life on ethical, sustainable garments. What makes the brand so brilliant is that at no point is there any compromise – not on their mission, not on fashion, not on quality. It’s fresh and it’s fierce. It’s clothes that look and feel really good.
We are absolutely buzzing because The Blankfaces is coming to Manchester! Gerard has already started working with clients of Mustard Tree and is currently looking for a premises to host workshops and sell clothes. Until a location is confirmed though, you can find a small range of their collections and hand-made accessories at their pop-up stall at Whitworth Locke.
They’re also hosting an awesome sounding event there as part of Pride Month on the 23rd of August and the tickets are now live! There are very limited numbers left so get yours quickly. The campaign the event is for is called ‘The Queer Cash In’ – it looks at homelessness within the LGBTQ+ community as well as the big companies cashing in on Pride. So if you’re in Manchester next Tuesday night and fancy some brilliant tunes, some good clothing and some amazing cocktails, pop down.