One dress, One vision, Five days

Junior League of London Seeks to Reduce the Effects of Poverty in the Capital

LONDON, 9 March 2018 – The Junior League of London (JLL) will hold its fifth annual Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI), which is an awareness and fundraising campaign about the effects of poverty on society. LBDI is a week-long endeavor from 12-16 March 2018 where participants wear one black dress, for five consecutive days, illustrating the impact of limited resources on access, opportunities and self-esteem.  The campaign sparks conversations about poverty and raises funds to support the charity’s vision of a London where each person has the opportunity and means to prosper. The LBDI campaign originated in London and since its inception, has raised over £90,000 in London and been adopted across over 80 different Junior Leagues in North America.

Our city’s poverty statistics are troubling, with over 27% of Londoners living in poverty, after housing costs, and with 70,000 children in London going to bed hungry ‘sometimes or often.’ Further, poverty limits resources, options for housing and employment and even the ways individuals can express themselves – making it harder to better one’s life chances. Wearing one single outfit for an entire week will highlight the effects that limited resources can play on a person’s quality of life.

The funds raised in the LBDI campaign enable the JLL to deliver on its mission of promoting voluntary service, developing the potential of women and improving the community. Following the campaign, participants donate dresses and other business attire to the JLL’s community partner Smart Works, a charity that helps women on low incomes prepare for job interviews by providing them with professional attire and career development skills.

Victoria Mullin Gorelik, UK Head of Wardrobe at Smart Works says, ‘Every woman deserves to feel confident and empowered, and the Junior League of London’s Little Black Dress Initiative draws attention to how difficult that can be when living on a limited income.  At Smart Works, we encourage working women to donate smart interview appropriate clothing that they are no longer using which we pass along to our clients during their two-hour styling and interview training session, helping them to realise their true potential and self-worth.  In 2017, the Junior League of London donated more than 150 sets of professional clothing with an estimated value of £15,000.  These clothing donations, such as a beautifully cut dress, and a few words of encouragement can be the catalyst to truly change the lives of the women we see every day.’

Participants harness the power of social media (#TheLBDI) to increase awareness by sharing their personal experiences and insights on poverty issues in London and raise funds through online donations. As JLL President Kimberly White shares, ‘I wear the dress to help those who are unemployed become employed.  The dress demonstrates our commitment to help those in need through our efforts within the areas of Employability and Life Skills development, Homelessness and Education and Literacy support.  We contribute over 20,000 volunteer hours annually to serve our fellow Londoners so that all have the opportunity and ability to thrive.’

Support the LBDI by donating to JLL’s fundraising page.  The campaign can be found on Twitter and Instagram @TheLBDI and #TheLBDI.



Media contact:

Kelaine Blades

Communications VP – Junior League of London, 2017-18

07568 471518/

* Poverty statistics retrieved from Trust for London