4BYSIX | Spotlight
Spotlights are a 12 part series documenting emerging creatives in London. 4BYSIX began as a streetwear brand, founded by Alex Dawber in 2013 whilst studying Graphic Design at London College of Communication. In 2017, Milo Phillips joined Alex and the two decided to transform 4BYSIX into a social enterprise, running workshops and campaigns to raise money for the homeless. Now 4BYSIX uses all of its profits to help people who are homeless in London. Here’s what they had to say about their work..
What sets 4BYSIX apart from other clothing brands?
Milo: Every piece of clothing has a direct impact on somebody else who’s less fortunate and living on the streets.
Alex: We donate something off the back of every purchase. We have community projects of 70 knitters in different knitting clubs that will knit hats for us and send them our way. Then we pass these onto the homeless.
Where do your source your ideas?
Milo: It’s speaking to the homeless people where we find out what’s going to help the most. We find out their biggest needs pretty quickly and often we can run something alongside one of our items of clothing to help that need.
Alex: We recently interviewed some girls at New Horizon Youth Centre and they were saying how embarrassing it was when they don’t have any sanitary products. We then went on to do an up-cycling project where we up-cycled old sweatshirts into scarfs. For every scarf we sell we donate 25% of the cost towards providing menstrual cups for homeless women.
How do you think creativity can inspire change?
Milo: I think creativity is at the heart of everything we do. With Alex being a graphic designer, me working in creative industries, us working together, and then pulling in different creatives is how we got to where we are. I think that creativity and people working together and using their skills as a group can create massive change in the world. I also think if people are in a tough position mentally, being creative stimulates the brain.
Alex: It’s like therapy.
How do you see 4BYSIX collaborating with other brands?
Alex: I think what’s key is us aligning with bigger brands that have a bigger voice.
Milo: We want to influence those big brands to work with us and use their platform to help us help people. I think, eventually, all brands should be doing this kind of thing.
Are there any other projects you’re thinking about pursuing?
Alex: We’re looking to try to get into the prison system and have inmates make our clothes there, because a lot of re-offenders become homeless.
How do you see 4BYSIX developing?
Alex: It would be really cool to have our own space. We’re on the streets at the moment giving out sleeping bags, and we appreciate that it’s an immediate benefit to someone who’s on the street. If we had our own centre, we could accommodate people and run workshops in there. We could get people interning somewhere and get them a job further down the line.
What can people do to help?
Milo: We all walk past homeless people every day, loads of them if you live in London, and I think everyone wants to help but doesn’t necessarily want to go sit next to a homeless person. It can be quite dangerous. That’s where we come in - as a middle man between the homeless people and the people who want to help. Everybody can help, just get in touch - we have the ideas. There’s so many things that people can do to help. Whether it’s knitting a hat or going to hand out emergency warmth blankets, get in touch. If you haven’t got time and you want to represent us, there’s clothes, t-shirts, tracksuits, scarfs; each item has a direct way to give back.