Worn by Us - the celebrity cast-offs clothing store raising funds for charity

Nicola Gleave, Suzanne Joyce and Rebecca Maher

Nicola Gleave, Suzanne Joyce and Rebecca Maher - Credit: Archant

When Nicola Gleave was given a second chance at life she launched a not-for-profit business selling second hand designer clothing, some of it donated by celebrities. Emma Mayoh reports

Nicola Gleave (in front of a Karen Millen dress)

Nicola Gleave (in front of a Karen Millen dress) - Credit: Archant

‘When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was in complete shock,’ explained Nicola Gleave, founder of Worn By Us. ‘It’s something that you think happens to other people. It’s not something you ever think is going to happen to you.

‘It was June 2014. I remember the words coming out of the consultant’s mouth at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. I was looking at them but nothing was going in. But then it started to dawn on me, the realisation came across me. The first thing I thought was that I was going to die. But then something came over me which made me think I’m not going to die. I think it’s the thing that got me through.’

It was when Nicola, 44, who lives in Prenton, turned on her television in the days after her diagnosis that she started to notice cancer being mentioned more and more

‘Cancer was there,’ said Nicola. ‘On the television, every time I turned on the radio it was there too. Every magazine and newspaper, there it was again. Cancer stories were everywhere. It was like they were haunting me. I didn’t want it or need it and wanted it to go away.

Shoes and accessories

Shoes and accessories - Credit: Archant

‘The words of my consultant kept going around my head too. The statistics of one in two people will get cancer, diagnoses have risen and particularly in breast cancer. I couldn’t escape it.’

But this experience spurred Nicola on and just a few days after she received her devastating news, she started to think of ways she could raise money to help cancer charities. She realised there were so many charities clamouring for attention and fundraising and so many were not getting what they needed. Initially, she chose Clatterbridge Cancer Care as a way of giving thanks and paying back for the excellent treatment she received.

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‘I went through the treatment process and am pleased to say that after a tough time I’m now well. Clatterbridge is an amazing place and I wanted to say thank you. The diagnosis has given me a new passion; I want to raise awareness and get people talking about cancer.

‘That’s what really drove me. But there are so many charities that need help that I decided to spread it around to lots of different charities. I realised that the way to capture people’s attention and interest was through something that was popular and that people loved. Celebrities and clothes definitely do that.’

Nicola then launched her fashion resale ‘not for profit’ business. Celebrities or individuals donate some of their own clothes or accessories.

The donor can choose which charity they would like to support. Pictures of all of the goods for sale are on the website for people to either buy at auction or at a set price and then at least 70 per cent of the ticket price goes direct to the charity.

Some of the high profile names who have donated since Nicola set the charity up are former Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm, Jacqueline Gold, Katie Piper, Peter Andre, Coleen Rooney and Claire Sweeney. Nicola also gets fantastic donations from members of the public who have special designer garments they would love to see having a new life, benefitting a charity.

‘We all have clothes in our wardrobe which we no longer wear,’ Nicola said. ‘Fashion designers and stylists use clothing in photo shoots and campaigns that don’t get used again, the same in TV, film, and music videos.

‘I’ve been bowled over by the amount of celebrities and individuals who have supported me already, it’s been absolutely incredible and I already have so many people to be so grateful to.’

Worn By Us has gone from strength-to-strength. Nicola now has big ambitions and would love for her business to be the first place people go to if they want to buy clothes worn by celebrities. With the grit, determination and strength of character she has shown, there is no doubt she will do it.

‘Since I decided to tell my own cancer story I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of stories I’ve been told by people who have been similarly affected,’ explained Nicola. ‘

‘My hope for Worn By Us is that it will allow us to build a community of people with a shared passion and purpose, who want to give back, share their stories, make a donation, and come together to raise awareness of cancer.’

How to donate

You can donate to Worn By Us by either visiting www.wornbyus.com or contacting Nicola on 07446 177642 or nicola@wornbyus.com.

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