The third annual Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) has begun! This week, LBDI participants wear the same, black dress for five days, to raise awareness of poverty in London, while also raising funds to support the Junior League of London’s mission.
Melody Sach, Toi Neibler, and Margaret Thorneycroft volunteered at the Kensington & Chelsea Food Bank on Tuesday, as part of their volunteer experience this week. They dried dishes, cleaned the shelves, and helped the members of St Luke’s Church in whichever ways were needed.
Melody has been with the League for years, and has ‘worn the dress’ in previous LBDI campaigns, as well. The initiative has an important, additional element to traditional fundraising. She said:
“[The Little Black Dress Initiative] is a really unique way to raise awareness of poverty in London.”
Toi said the campaign raises awareness of the additional, financial hardships that some individuals, women in particular, face when seeking work. There is a standard that you have to look good to be successful in the work place, and the LBDI seeks to help those women.
She added: “It really gives you a sense of perspective. You don’t appreciate the different outfits you have until you ask, ‘What if I didn’t?'”
Both ladies said the black dress was an awkward outfit to work into their everyday lives, as even heading to the food bank from work, Toi was asked what party she was headed to. Her reply of a food bank earned confused versions of, “In a black dress?!” But we all agreed that because it was so out of the ordinary, it caused people to ask questions, sparking conversations that enable LBDI participants to raise awareness about who the campaign seeks to help as well as the work of the JLL.
Margaret recalls first hearing about the LBDI, when JLL members, Natasha Turner and Cynthia Ward, created it in 2014.
“It’s a great way to illustrate the difficulty women face in the working world who can’t afford smart clothes.”
Members of St Luke’s said they were very grateful for the help from Junior League, and really enjoyed hearing about LBDI. They also hope it will continue and grow!
By Casey Dey – JLL spring 2016 intern