Designer beanie collection keeps homeless people warm this winter

A top fashion brand is keeping the homeless warm this winter through its sales of beanie hats and scarves.

The London-based designer label Masato has pledged to donate one beanie or scarf to a homeless person for every one bought in their stores and online.

So far the winter campaign has collected 643 beanies and scarves since the collection started on World Homeless Day on 10 October last year. It will run until 29 February.

Service users at Glasgow City Mission were delighted with their new hats

The brand is named after designer Masato Jones, who runs the company with his life partner, managing director Mike Jones.

Mike said they have a personal connection to the project.

“There have been times, a couple, where we have been close to losing the house because of people not paying bills on time, saying they haven’t got the money. It’s not just us, it is our fellow artists, creatives and self-employed people that face that,” Mike told INSP.

Hats and scarfs can be bought from their website or through concessions in shops across the UK. One such shop is Wear Eponymous in Glasgow’s Princess Square. Shop owners Elaine Burns and Alan Armitage have been surprised by how the collection has taken off in Glasgow.

“We get such a lot of people coming in directly for them; they have such a huge social media following so people find out about the project there,” Alan told INSP.

The hats are displayed proudly at the front of the shop, and Alan and Elaine said they were happy to have a way to make a real impact.

“We see homeless people on the streets here and didn’t know how to connect what we do with helping those in that position, and when the Masato team came up they too were very aware of the issue,” said Elaine. “They sent us an amazing email after they visited, saying how much they were surprised by the issue of homelessness in Glasgow.”

The team in Glasgow's Wear Eponymous

The company hope to expand the beanie and scarf collection to Tokyo, where they said homeless people are neglected by the government.

“Masato has always wanted to give something back in terms of the company, even though we’re a small company,” said Mike. “Because we have a high social media profile we want to give something back from certain products to raise awareness of homelessness and to raise money as well.”

In Glasgow the hats and scarfs from Wear Eponymous have been donated to Glasgow City Mission, which is visited by almost 130 men and 10 to 20 women every night for a warm meal.

“78 beanies and scarfs have been donated to ourselves,” said Glasgow City Mission marketing and fundraising manager Graham Steven.

“Many of the people who come to Glasgow City Mission are homeless and feel worthless. For a lot of the lads at this time of year it is just cold outside and a hat serves a practical purpose, but it also conveys a message of care and of love. It’s a nice gift that we can pass on.”

Find out more about Glasgow City Mission.

You can buy a beanie or scarf on the Masato website, or by visiting Wear Eponymous.