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Fashion brand Belstaff donate Black Friday sales to The Big Issue

10 per cent of all full-price sales this weekend will go to Big Issue vendors – and Belstaff celebrated with a fashion shoot starring vendors both in front and behind the camera

Heritage fashion brand Belstaff has pledged to give 10 per cent of all full-price sales over the Back Friday weekend to The Big Issue to help vendors and our mission to dismantle poverty.

The team-up comes after Belstaff pledged earlier this year to donate one coat to a Big Issue vendor for every one sold between April 8 and May 15 during the first Covid-19 lockdown.

In total, 350 coats have been donated to vendors across the UK and the partnership was celebrated recently with a unique photo shoot that put Big Issue vendors in the spotlight both behind and in front of the camera.

Carlos Gonzalez Perez has been selling The Big Issue, on and off, for a decade. But he is also a self-taught photographer whose work has been exhibited around the world, documenting city life, exploring architecture, searching for unusual subjects with an eye for interesting angles and unlikely juxtapositions.

And his latest assignment was to shoot fellow vendors in London locations – William Herbert near Angel station, Sharon at London Bridge and Roel in Victoria – all of them sporting brand new jackets courtesy of Belstaff.

“The three vendors were honestly like models,” says Perez. “They were so charming, so natural. They made it extremely easy. One or two were a bit shy, but they were so easy to work with.”

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Perez credits the flexibility of The Big Issue with giving him the space and time to follow his photography work. “But as a very social person, I also enjoy meeting new people,” he says, before explaining how he met one of Belstaff’s directors while selling the magazine, told her about his photography, sold a few pieces of work to her and eventually landed the job of shooting vendors on the quiet streets of London just before the second lockdown.

“When some people there heard a Big Issue vendor was also taking the photographs, I’m not sure what they expected,” says Perez, who scouted the locations a few days before the shoot – choosing classic London architecture, autumnal colours and trains to represent the journey a Big Issue vendor can take for his backdrops.

“I think maybe I broke a stereotype about Big Issue vendors. Some people were quite surprised to hear about how many exhibitions I’ve had, how much I’ve travelled for my work. I don’t know if they were shocked by the quality of the photographs but maybe they were by how seriously I take the work and how professional I am.”

The resulting pictures are terrific, showcasing Belstaff jackets, our brilliant vendors and Perez’s classy photography in fine style.

Tracy Griffin, Big Issue Foundation interim CEO, said: “As we enter the depths of winter, we are reminded of everyone’s need to stay warm. That’s why we are so grateful to Belstaff for providing 350 jackets to Big Issue vendors across the UK through their buy-one-give-one spring promotion.

“We are also so pleased that we will be receiving 10 per cent of every sale made from November 27 to 30, which will help provide much-needed support with health, housing and finance for vendors at this critical time.”

Big Issue vendors need your help now more than ever. More than 1,000 vendors are out of work because of the second lockdown in England. They can’t sell the magazine and they can’t rely on the income they need.

The Big Issue is helping our vendors with supermarket vouchers and gift payments but we need your help to do that.

Pleasebuy this week’s magazine from the online shop ortake out a subscription to make sure we can continue to support our vendors over this difficult period. You can even link your subscription to your local vendor withour new online map.

Thank you all so much for your ongoing support.

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Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

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