A Christian charity in the UK is rebranding counterfeit designer clothes with its own logo and giving them out to homeless people.
Listen to a Radio 4 report on His Church
The charity, called His Church, has been so successful that 90 per cent of British Trading Standards authorities now hand over all the clothes they seize to the charity.
And His Church has even received calls from America with jeans giant Tommy Hilfiger wanting its help to take counterfeit goods.
Richard Humphrey, the charity’s co-ordinator, told the BBC: “Christmas can often be a time when there’s an expectation of people to have a good time, but there are so many people whose circumstances bring a lot of despair.
“It’s fantastic to be able to give them clothes of great quality as it also gives them a lot of hope and dignity.”
Ann Jackson, senior officer from Norfolk Trading Standards, said the counterfeit market was a “thriving economy”, which “in the present economic climate will get worse”.
She added: “We’re very keen to make sure these goods are used in an appropriate way and we see this as a win-win situation for the good guys – ourselves and the charities that are receiving – and a no-win for those who are trying to sell these goods.”
Mr Humphrey also explained how His Church collected 1,600 pairs of fake Tommy Hilfiger jeans after the company asked them for help.
The jeans company, which has over 1,000 retail stores across four continents, told His Church it believed the charity were “world leaders in rebranding counterfeit clothes”.
His Church will now rebrand the jeans with their “His” logo and take them to homeless centres around Britain.
The charity, which is based in Lincolnshire, gives out the clothes as “gifts”, rather than “hand-outs”.
And Amanda Ado, director of a homelessness group, said: “People who are rough sleeping rarely get anything that’s brand new, rarely get anything that feels like it’s been given specifically to them.
“I guess that’s the beauty of the gifts from His Church that we feel that they’re particularly chosen for our clients”.
She added, “people have very low self esteem when they’re rough sleeping and something brand new just raises their head and makes them feel a bit better about themselves”.