Dickies and Pivot unite this festive season
Dickies and Pivot unite this festive season
With the festive season upon us, it's natural at this time of year to think about your wider communities, to observe them and the people who form them.
Over in London, like major towns and cities around the world, the magnitude of the homelessness situation hits hard when those around them begin their celebrations.
Covid-19 destroyed lives and communities, businesses collapsed and unemployment increased. As we enter the colder months we are staring recession in the face during what is usually a time for celebration and optimism, but not for everyone. Through Dickies’ Community of Makers programme, we linked up with an organization called Pivot, which uses the creation of beautiful ethically made jewellery to impact the lives of those who have and are experiencing the traumatic reality of homelessness. Keep reading to discover why Dickies’ chose to support this important enterprise.
Through Dickies’ Community of Makers programme, we linked up with an organization called Pivot.
What is Pivot?
Based in London, Pivot, in a nutshell, is a social enterprise that provides training and employment opportunities to people living in temporary accommodation due to homelessness. Beyond this, they offer mentoring, financial and business support.
The training comes in the production of bespoke sustainable jewellery, which is largely in part designed by Founder and CEO Alice Moxley. Before launching Pivot in 2020, Alice had trained as an architect and then worked on the frontline in a hostel in London, gaining first-hand experience on the plight of securing employment when you have no fixed address and live in a chaotic environment. Alongside Alice is Sabella Ibanez, Pivot's Head of Operations. She is responsible for taking the jewellery to sale at an ever-growing number of markets, among many other tasks.
On the challenges of launching Pivot, Alice says: "We Incorporated in February 2020, 49 days before the first UK lockdown. We had Post-Brexit UK to navigate, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis and now the looming recession. It's been a completely wild and unpredictable few years." Optimistically she recalls a line someone told her. "If we can flourish in this environment, we will be great when the world is more favorable again”.
What's the goal?
In a word, multifaceted. As Alice describes, the mission of "Taking creative opportunities into hostels" is at the forefront because access to these is rare at the best of times but especially when you are in temporary accommodation. She also speaks of the importance of “empowering people experiencing homelessness and reminding them that they have worth and that everyone should have the opportunity to pivot their lives and flourish.”
What inspired Pivot?
During Alice's time at Year Here, a year-long programme where she was taught how to set up a social enterprise, she undertook a placement at a hostel in London as a progression and support worker, tasked with getting people into jobs. She recalls her naivety when asking lots of people the same questions to understand why they couldn't work. Set meal times were restrictive; minimal money made traveling impossible and living environments that were noisy and disruptive ultimately bred vicious cycles.
Alice posed the question: if people can't leave to go to work, what work can she bring directly to them? Her background in architecture brought an interest in prefabricated construction, and coupled with her experience of jewellery-making as an escape from her own daily life, it was a natural union and the journey to devising a prefabricated construction method for jewellery-making began.
What makes Pivot's mission so important?
Backing up what your eyes will show you on the streets this winter are facts about homelessness released by UK organization Crisis which states that 200,000 people, the equivalent of 200 packed London Underground train carriages, are facing homelessness in the UK this Christmas.
Shelter also shared government figures in July 2022 showing that 74,230 households in England became homeless or were at imminent risk of becoming homeless between January and March 2022 – including 25,610 families with children. This represents an 11% rise in three months and a 5% rise on the same period last year.
Pivot's aim is to combat this, and its method works. 2 out 6 people on their payroll have graduated from their programme. Jason Thompson is the Head of Workshops, master jewellery maker and was employee number 2. He recalls meeting Alice in 2019, “I met Alice and became a participant on Pivot's first programme. I was able to show her my abilities and over time I ended up teaching and training others.” He continues “The programme gave me something to do in the difficult environment I was in and it then allowed me to transition from a participant to a professional. Accessing this alongside other services helped me to change how my life was playing out.”
The last few years have been unimaginably tough for so many people; the Covid-19 pandemic and the devastating current cost of living crisis suggest things aren't going to let up any time soon. Evictions will rise, and people will end up on the streets in hostels and bouncing from place to place. Pivot is showing how impact can be made.
Pivot joins Dickies Community of Makers
As soon as we were introduced to Pivot we loved what we could see on the surface. As we learnt more, it was apparent we shared values not only on a social level but in how they approach their products and the processes to realize these. The creators are number one, and the craftsmanship is never compromised, it's built for purpose, to last and to facilitate better things. Yeah, that's us too.
On the relationship developing with Dickies, Alice says “As a social enterprise, we aim to be as impactful as we are profitable, and so it’s important we sell products: both to create more work for our makers and to make a profit to run more programmes. The balance can be a challenge. Having Dickies offer this leg up is incredibly helpful as it gives us a big platform to tell the world about what we are doing. They are a huge brand with a great durable ethos in clothing, and with them, we can reach a big audience which is game-changing for us. Maybe one day Pivot will be a big brand and can do the same for a small brand.”
Sabella, who is vital in delivering Pivot's programmes, workshops and events adds: "This partnership brings a higher level of integrity, workmanship and promotes Pivot's jewellery and social mission to an audience who is already interested in how high-end products with a story are made."
Dickies is proud to have donated products to the Pivot team to help when creating their collections and as Alice explains “We get really grubby so it's nice to finally have practical overalls to do the job properly.”
Read more stories and familiarize yourself with other impactful community born initiatives that we've supported and introduced to our community through our social media channels and in our Journal. A favorite of ours was the regeneration of a historic skatepark with Hackney Bumps in East London.
Jewellery with a purpose
"Our jewellery is unique because of the story and ethos we represent. It delivers an ethical message and sustainable environmental message in the shape of long-lasting and beautiful products that are kind to the environment." Alice shares.
It is purposefully designed for people to make in their hostel bedrooms. The prefabricated method eliminates fire, which makes way for unique cold connections and rivets. The sanding and polishing are done using equipment you might use on your fingernails. Everything is considered for the hostel environments they will be built in and the results are a beautiful articulation and engineered aesthetic.
The Sterling Silver line is particularly special. It's 100% recycled hallmarked 0.925 sterling silver, and it marks a journey towards a fully sustainable place. It is crafted using the lost wax-casting method, water-jet and laser cutting techniques. The silver pieces are hand-finished and assembled to a high quality by trained Pivot Makers living in hostels. Here's a few standouts pieces:
Pivot's zero-waste collection is produced from acetate donated by spectacle-maker Cubitts, which otherwise would go to landfill but instead creates elegant ethical jewellery.
Every purchase has the maker's name in the box, striking a connection between the buyers and the person who made it.
Browse Pivot's Christmas collection for gift ideas for your ethically-minded loved ones and the full collection here. Purchase with the knowledge that your contribution will go towards limiting homelessness at christmas.
What's next for Pivot?
The goal is to extend into more hostels and eventually open a purpose-built shop incorporating a workshop that will really enable them to shout about what they are doing. To follow their journey and learn more about Pivot, head to www.madebypivot.com
If you want to get involved and you're in the UK, why not join a workshop?