They say a dress can be lifechanging, and while for the most part that can be an exaggeration, it couldn’t be more true with the Sacred Heart Mission’s campaign #giveafrock.

‘Give a frock’ has brought together the women of AFL, along with some fabulous fashionistas, encouraging the message ‘Women for Women’- in support of women experiencing homelessness and chronic disadvantage.

The campaign launched in 2015 when D’Arne Finnis, St Kilda Football Club’s CEO Matt Finnis’ wife and friend of the Mission, wore a dress she bought from the Mission’s South Melbourne op shop to the Brownlow Medal red carpet.

Carolyn Clark, Sacred Heart Mission Board Member says wearing a Sacred Heart Mission op shop frock on the red carpet raised awareness of the work we do at Women’s House for those who may be socially isolated.

“Then last year D’Arne rallied more women across six AFL clubs to ‘Give A Frock’, including AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan’s wife Laura McLachlan who donated the dress she wore on the red carpet,” Carolyn says.

“Many other women of the AFL followed suit donating their pre-loved frocks worn to footy-related events, which were auctioned off at an op shop event or sold online, thus the ‘Give A Frock’ campaign was born.”

This year, the ‘Give A Frock’ outfits kindly donated by some of Melbourne’s most fashionable women, will be sold to raise much needed funds for our work with women in the community.

On any given night, there are more than 22,000 Victorians experiencing homelessness, with nearly 10,000 of these being women.

A donation of $50 will fund one woman’s visit to Women’s House for support.

Sacred Heart Mission has a long history of effectively assisting the most disadvantaged members of our community to rebuild their lives. Since opening its doors in 1982, the Mission has evolved into an innovative organisation, sustained by a deep pool of generosity and support from the community.

I sat down with the team at The Sacred Heart Mission to have a chat about this wonderful cause, the fantastic campaign, and how we can all get involved.

What an absolutely beautiful concept – how did the idea for the campaign come together?

In 2015 D’Arne Finnis (partner of St Kilda Football Club CEO – Matt Finnis) wore a dress purchased from a Sacred Heart Mission Op Shop to the Brownlow dinner. She kindly did this to help raise awareness of our work in the community.

She did this again in 2016, along with Jo Richardson and Karen Masson (partners of St Kilda Football Club’s Coach and President). They all wore dresses bought from our Op Shops and spoke about the importance of our work with women experiencing homelessness.

Last year, women from across six AFL clubs ‘gave a frock’. Laura McLachlan (wife of Gillon McLachlan – AFL CEO) also got involved by donating her dresses, increasing awareness and funds for the Mission’s Women’s House even more!

This year, D’Arne and Laura will again be Ambassadors for Give A Frock, joined this year by the wonderful Chyka Keebaugh from Real Housewives of Melbourne.

Please tell us about Women’s House and how this campaign aims to help

Sacred Heart Mission’s Women’s House is a welcoming, safe and supportive environment for women who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless.

donation of $50 will fund one woman’s visit for support at Women’s House. Donate $100 to provide one woman’s meals for a whole month. More info; https://www.sacredheartmission.org/seek-help/help-for-women/womens-house

What is your dream outcome for the campaign?

We would love to raise $40,000 for the Women’s House. Over 100 individuals visit each month, with about 24 per cent being refugees or recent arrivals.

Many visit multiple times and sometimes with children. 500+ presentations monthly are typical.

We would also like to raise awareness of our organisation and op shops, while giving women in the community an opportunity to get involved with us and have a bit of fun!

Our second hand shops in Melbourne raise almost 30% of Sacred Heart Mission’s funds and aim to raise awareness of our work.

Our customers say we have the friendliest and best op shops in Melbourne – each has a unique personality and stock that reflects the spirit of its local community adding a little local flavour to the shopping experience.

Women can pick up a bargain, attend a fun event all while supporting a great event.

You must be so excited to have all these wonderful women involved – who have been some of the highlights throughout the campaign?

This year, D’Arne and Laura will again be Ambassadors for Give A Frock, joined this year by the wonderful Chyka Keebaugh from Real Housewives of Melbourne.

The upcoming fashion show sounds like it’s going to be such a wonderful event – what can guests expect?

If you’re in need of inspiration for your new season wardrobe, we’d love to see you at the #giveafrock Fashion Show at The Glasshouse on 18 October, and bring a friend. Come and join some of the most fashionable women in Melbourne at the 2018 Give A Frock Fashion Show.

This year’s event will showcase frocks donated by women from your community which will be sold on the night at the W4W Pop Up Shop, helping raise much needed funds for Sacred Heart Mission’s Women’s House.

Three ways to get involved in #Giveafrock 

  1. Join Melbourne’s most fashionable women in hosting your own Frock PartyRegister your party via email;
  2. If you’re in need of inspiration for your new season wardrobe, we’d love to see you at the #giveafrock Fashion Show at The Glasshouse on 18 October, and bring a friend! Tickets available here
  3. Grab yourself a bargain frock and wear a dress that matters from the Frock Shop at our Prahran Op Shop on Commercial Road from 19 October.