Our aim is to make it easy to share good quality, second hand uniform
There’s lots of great quality second hand school uniform in Leeds - and much of it is going to waste.
Clothing production has a big carbon impact. We can reduce our environmental footprint by sharing uniform so that it’s worn for longer and we cut demand for new. School uniform is unaffordable for some families. Sharing means we can save money and help others do the same.
School Uniform for All
In September 2018 we were having conversations about how some families in Leeds couldn’t afford school uniform - and at the same time we came across a school so overwhelmed with lost property that they were throwing it in a skip!
Put those two things together and Leeds School Uniform Exchange is the result! The lost property was rescued from the skip and passed on - now the challenge was doing that on a city level.
Launching Leeds School Uniform Exchange in summer 2019 confirmed what we suspected - that there is a MOUNTAIN of good quality school uniform in wardrobes, cupboards and drawers across the city. Families were only too happy to be able to pass it on.
However we need to understand the reasons why this was not happening.
Why should we share school uniforms?
Charity shops are often inundated with school uniform donations. However they can find it hard to sell unless they have a large selection.
Not having the right school uniform also holds children back. School uniform is supposed to be something that creates a sense of shared identity - but not if a child’s shoes are two sizes too small or they don’t have a winter coat or a bag for their books.
Supermarkets sell cheap school uniform. It’s a loss leader for them to get families into the shops and competition drives the price down. The result is that we often don’t value school uniform - but we should.
Quality of cheap uniform
The cheap price is false and the carbon impact is huge, especially as one of the main materials is polyester - a synthetic fabric made using crude oil. It often needs replacing regularly - so it’s not cheap in the long run.