How Thread Together gets unsold new clothes to vulnerable Australians

8 June 2024

  • Thread Together takes fashion excess destined for landfill and redirects it into the hands of those who need it most.
  • Their work not only helps save the planet but also helps the country’s most vulnerable communities, one outfit at a time.
  • Thread Together’s CEO, Anthony Chesler, shares how he became disillusioned with his original career path and started a new life as the leader of one of Australia’s most innovative and impactful charities.

Did you know: 1/3 of new clothing goes straight to the tip?

They say one of the most forgotten human rights is clothing. We’re not talking about how badly you ‘need’ a new outfit for dinner this weekend; rather, it’s about basic clothing that fits, is weather appropriate, can help you land a job and simply feels good to wear. For most of us, it’s a given, we’ll have those pieces in our wardrobes. Reportedly, 1 in 8 Australian adults and 1 in 6 children do not have adequate access to essential clothing but about a 3rd of new clothing isn’t sold and goes directly to landfill1 – a tragic disconnect that’s detrimental to people and the planet. 

On The Brighter Side, Georgie Tunny discovers how unwanted clothes are helping vulnerable Australians.

What Thread Together does with unsold clothes

Enter: Thread Together. Providing an ethical response to fashion excess, they work as the go-between for close to 2,000 fashion brands and retailers who want to donate their brand-new end-of-season stock and about 3,000 registered charities that need to provide clothing for those who don’t have access to it. “The best thing to do with the brand-new clothing that’s destined for landfill is to give it to people in need,” says Thread Together CEO Anthony Chesler. “We work tirelessly every day to collect brand-new clothing and bring it back to our centre to get it ready to give to [vulnerable] people.”

Shifting focus to solve problems for vulnerable people

Anthony hasn’t always worked in the not-for-profit space. In fact, the work he used to do was decidedly for profit, helping companies perform better to improve their bottom line. “Increasingly I became disillusioned, so I wanted to shift my focus to solving more relevant problems that could benefit our fragile planet and our vulnerable communities across the country,” he says. In 2019, he joined Thread Together.

“This work has much more closely aligned with me becoming a much better person – it has made me more grounded.” 

“When you are confronted with vulnerability every single day, you appreciate what you have, and it’s not the material things: it’s your health, your relationships and how you spend your time.”

Helping women escaping domestic violence situations

While we often consider fashion frivolous, for some it can be life changing.

“A woman escaping domestic violence may arrive at a shelter with nothing but the clothes she’s wearing.” 

“So, when she arrives, we have clothing there, ready for her,” explains Anthony. “Clothing serves more than just a functional purpose. Often, we forget how powerful it is. We talk about it as the forgotten basic human right. It’s incredibly empowering to see what a piece of fabric can do in the hands of someone who needs it most.”

How CommBank supports Thread Together

CommBank has helped mobilise Thread Together’s clothing service by providing vans to take clothing to remote communities, disaster zones or people who are simply unable to travel. The collaboration isn’t only financial. As part of Thread Together’s corporate volunteering program, more than 1,000 employees have put their hand up to help from across all areas of CommBank’s business each year.

How can you help with Thread Together’s cause?

Anthony says there are 4 ways that we can help. He refers to these go-to principles as the 4 T’s (turns out he is asked this question all the time):

  • TIME. “Give it up to help us to deliver this service by volunteering when you can.”
  • TALENT. “Leverage your talent or skill to help us do some of the things we just can’t do.”
  • TIES. “Can you introduce us to a network of people who can help us do this work?”
  • TREASURE. “Help us raise the much-needed dollars to continue to deliver this important service.“

To find out how you can help, visit:

Thread Together, About Thread Together, view online, 23 May 2024

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