Here’s A Brilliant Solution For All Those Unclaimed Clothes At The Dry Cleaners

Photo: Getty Images.
Ever wonder what happens to clothing that lingers at the dry cleaner…forever? Those suits dropped off eons ago and dresses long abandoned are usually donated to local charities after a certain amount of time (it’s legally mandated in many states), and some dry cleaners even sell the unclaimed merch. Action on Addiction, a U.K.-based substance-addiction organization, has a more specific, pretty inspiring idea for where all of those neglected wardrobe workhorses should go. The Dry/Clean Initiative, a program which Action on Addiction created in conjunction with ad agency Leo Burnett London, provides recovering addicts with unclaimed clothing from dry cleaners — to wear to job interviews. In a video about the initiative, a recovering addict named Debbie talks about her struggles with substance abuse (which began at age 10), and how it’s affected her job prospects. “The drinks and the drugs had always come first, and that made it impossible to find work…I just need someone to give me a chance," she says in the video, which Adweek shared yesterday. The initiative's name is meant to be a play on words about alcohol and drug addiction, according to a rep for Action on Addiction. As part of the Dry/Clean Initiative, which has been in the works since August 2015, Action on Addiction also sent wine-stained button-down shirts to CEOs of nationwide dry cleaners in the U.K. with hang tags that read: “We’re sure you can get [this stain] out. But for more than 1.4 million UK people, alcohol is a much bigger problem. And now there’s a simple way you can help,” with details about the initiative and an email address,, to contact with donations. “It’s a chance for someone who’s struggled with addiction to walk into a job interview and turn their life around,” the tag reads. The organization also posted details about the Initiative on its help-center boards, for recovering addicts to receive Action on Addiction's salvaged dry cleaners' finds. The project is sort of in the vein of Dress For Success and its focus on empowering women in need professionally (in part by providing donated, work-apropos clothing) — but with a focus on the long-forgotten garb left at the dry cleaners. (Which, according to the video, comprises as much as 15% of all items dropped off for cleaning.) The initiative is currently only happening in the U.K., but will hopefully expand farther if there's interest from dry cleaners as well as addiction-focused charities elsewhere, a rep for Action on Addiction tells us. Check out the video below.

More from Fashion

R29 Original Series