A FASHION graduate has turned her skills to making hair accessories to raise money for women suffering from domestic violence – sending her creations across the world during lockdown.
Ellen Mooney has turned her family’s home in Banbridge, Co Down into a mini fashion house for her sustainable streetwear designs while the coronavirus restrictions on movement remain in place.
The 23-year-old, who specialised in garments on her Ulster University fashion course, started making scrunchies to send to friends she hadn’t been able to meet up with, but their delighted response led her to broaden the scheme into a fundraiser.
“I’ve been running my fashion brand for six months or so now and during lockdown I was looking for something nice to send to friends.
“It was a nice way of saying `I’m thinking of you’ and I decided to make more so other people could send them to people they’re missing while they can’ meet up.
“It’s a double-sided thing because it’s nice to do, bit also if you’re feeling a bit isolated at home, it’s nice to get it and know someone is thinking about you.
“It was something else that I could do and while trying to help and do my part and so I decided to donate all profits to Women’s Aid because I know they’re really suffering at the minute.”
Northern Ireland is the only region which has not been given significant additional funding for domestic violence refuges and support – despite new figures revealing it hit an all-time high since March
The PSNI revealed that they have received at least 3,755 calls related to domestic abuse since then and the Northern Ireland Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline has seen a 35 per cent increase in average weekly calls.
Ms Mooney has sold almost 500 `I Miss You A Bunchie’ £5 scrunchies since lockdown started and shipped them in their presentation boxes as far as Spain, Australia and the US.
She has raised £800 for the charity.
In keeping with the ethos of her collection, the scrunchies are all made from sustainable fabric – off-cuts and remnants.
Her other designs – printed sweatshirts and t-shirts – use plastic-free, water-based inks which do not contain any animal derivatives and have not been tested on animals and the garments are either organic or recycled.