Local artist raises over £1k selling political fashion via Instagram for causes including Launchpad

Reading-born 20 year-old Jessy Blakemore has raised £1070 to date for charities including Launchpad, by hand painting t-shirts and corsets and selling them via Instagram – with 103 sold and just as many on order.

After boredom set in during lockdown at her family home in Reading, Jessy – who is studying Philosophy at the University of York, and enjoys painting and singing in her spare time – started hand painting Basquiat-inspired art onto a top. She posted her creation on Instagram to her 5,000 followers and received countless messages and comments, requesting that Jessy make more to sell.

Since the end of April, Jessy has been selling her hand-painted t-shirts for £15, long sleeve tops for £20 and corsets for £35 – and her political fashion makes statements about vulnerable individuals in society, racism and an underfunded health system in the UK. All profits from her sales are then donated to Launchpad; You Okay Doc?, a mental health charity for doctors; NHS Charities Together; and Black Lives Matter charities and crowd funding pages for people including Belly Mujinga and George Floyd.

Jessy explained how she feels about the popularity of her tops and why she chose those causes to donate to: “What started as a distraction from uni work and lockdown, has become a really amazing opportunity to do something creative for some good causes. I’m really pleased with how popular the tops have been and how much they’ve raised for charity so far – I’ve had orders from across the UK and abroad (Finland, Portugal, Singapore, Paris and Amsterdam), some of which I’ve had to put on hold so I can keep up with the demand! I think the art reflects the feelings and frustrations of many people at the moment, and I’ve picked charities which directly relate to the statements the tops are making – all of which mean a lot to me personally.

“I live in Reading and see the amazing work Launchpad do to support people who are homeless and in need in my town, and they’ve continued that work with the pandemic going on. There has been social, economic and political inequality and a systemic maltreatment of black people that has lasted hundreds of years, which continues on today with no sign of relenting. Our NHS workers don’t get treated fairly or given decent wages for the life-saving work they do, especially in how they’ve put themselves at risk during COVID-19. So the money raised is a small way of supporting minority communities through the racism they face in the UK, for people in need in Reading, and for key workers risking everything to care and support the rest of us.”

Kate Martin, Fundraising Manager at Launchpad said: “Jessy is a true inspiration using her time and talent in lockdown to raise vital funds for such important causes. We were bowled over when we saw her amazing creations – fundraising has never looked so cool! And it’s efforts from people like Jessy which make our work during the pandemic possible.

“Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we are providing our clients with emotional support and ensuring they have access to the food, treatment and benefits they need – and we are housing rough sleepers so they have a clean, stable and safe place to live. We are so grateful to Jessy and our wider local community for making that possible.”

Jessy has been taking orders for the tops and corsets via her Instagram page – with payment being made by Paypal, which she then donates to Launchpad and her other chosen charities, minus costs for the garments and paint. There is currently a one week wait for orders. Don’t miss your chance to get some beautifully hand-painted and unique clothing – all to raise money for good causes, including Launchpad!

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