Hope Virgo

A bride doing good

Hope Virgo, a mental health campaigner based in South London, made an extraordinary #OrdinaryActivist statement at her wedding in August this year, by wearing a dress from Brides do Good.

Hope explains that “I had always wanted to get married, and am extremely lucky that because of where I was born I am able to choose not only who I marry, but when I get married and how the wedding will look. I am very conscious of the millions who, because of where they are born, because of their upbringing, don’t have this luxury. The world we live in is full of so much brokenness and injustice, and I wanted to tackle some of that brokenness at my wedding – but I wasn’t sure where to start. I spent a long time looking for dresses and tried some on in high-end shops. One day my mum sent me a link to an article in The Times about Brides do Good – that was the way I wanted to go with my wedding dress.”

Brides do Good is an ethical and sustainable bridal brand based in London, which only sells pre-worn or pre-made dresses. A third of their profits support charity projects working to empower girls and end child marriage, a form of modern slavery. Hope explains that the dress was “not just an investment for myself, but for others too. I went for an initial consultation, and they made it easy for me to be part of the mission, which was really important to me.”

Hope believes that when we are thinking about humanitarian problems, like modern slavery, “we all want to do something, but we often just don’t know where to start. The wedding dress was an easy way for me to shine a spotlight on a serious issue and open up a conversation in this space. I care about Brides do Good’s mission, and I like the projects they are doing locally – I can see the impact they are having.”

At the moment, Hope is leading a campaign on Eating Disorders called #DumpTheScales. Alongside her campaigning, she works with Refugee Charities to help empower others, and to help make change. She is excited about “hearing people’s stories, and turning brokenness into positive outcomes for them. It is amazing to see people’s lives transformed.”

Hope concludes that “it can feel overwhelming knowing how to support organisations, knowing how to campaign on such big injustices, but there are things we can do daily to help transform life for others. Yes you might not be getting married, but you too can be part of ending injustices and brokenness in the world.”

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