This month’s theme on Hubbub’s new LinkedIn discussion group Fashion Future Network is textile recycling and earlier this month we ran an event for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion to explore clothing take back schemes. So this is a good time to reflect back on a pioneering campaign which Hubbub led at Mother’s Day earlier this year.

From A Mother To Another was a clothing gifting campaign which we ran in collaboration with children’s and baby clothing retailer JoJo Maman Bébé and Barnado’s. We were amazed by the response; during the six weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, 50,000 garments were collected that would otherwise have been discarded or recycled. These clothes helped 4,000 vulnerable families in the UK who are struggling to make ends meet by providing free high quality clothing for their children.

The campaign was driven by Hubbub’s desire to find creative ways to extend the lives of the clothes we buy. An average family spends £11,000 on a child’s clothing throughout the course of their upbringing, while nearly one third of UK clothing ends up in landfill, losing all value. We conducted polling at the start of the year and discovered that only half of mothers currently pass on their children’s clothes to help others save money, yet there’s often a lot of life left in children’s outgrown and unwanted clothing.

So what were the elements that made it work? There were five which stood out:

1) Be topical

The hook of Mother’s Day gave the campaign a focal point for action and communications – particularly with the media. It offers the opportunity to have a long-term impact; our ambition is for gifting to become an integral part of the Mother’s Day tradition.

2) Keep it close to home

It was important that the recipients were UK families, rather than anonymous recipients overseas. Our polling revealed that over half of mothers would be more likely to pass on children’s clothing if it helped families in the UK.

3) Gifting

Throughout we referred to it as a gifting campaign, rather than donations. There can be a stigma attached to the word ‘donation’, whereas people are understandably happier to receive a gift, especially when as beautifully wrapped as these were.

4) Keep it simple

We deliberately kept the communications simple and there was one clear call to action, which allowed it to reach a large audience cost-effectively.

5) Value clothing

The campaign showed appreciation for the value of clothing - it gave mothers a simple way of ensuring that perfectly good clothes would be given another life with somebody who needs them.

‘From A Mother To Another’ clearly showed that there’s a place for more of these types of gifting campaigns for children’s clothes. Hubbub plans to repeat the campaign in 2016 under the name ‘Bundle of Joy’.

If you’re a retailer interested in collaborating to extend this proven formula then we’d love to hear from you.

Do you think gifting schemes are effective in reducing textile waste? Join the conversation at the Fashion Future Network.