Irish Defence Forces’ charity unveils QR-coded camouflage streetwear to raise vital funds for homeless veterans

The ‘Hope Couture’ collection has been inspired by the unforgiving streets of Ireland and designed to help veterans survive them

by Alison O'Hanlon
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 ONE, Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann (or the Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel) have unveiled a thought-provoking collection of bespoke camouflage streetwear, designed to highlight the stark reality of homelessness that many veterans face when they leave service.

Labelled the ‘Hope Couture’ collection, the clothing line has been revealed at 55 Grafton Street, Dublin.

The unique campaign will encourage the public to donate to the charity by scanning QR-coded camouflage streetwear, and will aim to raise public awareness and vital funds for homeless veterans in Ireland. 

Through its 38 branches, 15 veteran centres and four residential homes across the country, ONE supports homeless veterans who have fallen on hard times and those who find it difficult to adjust to civilian life.

To date, the charity has helped more than 1,000 veterans out of homelessness and provides 18,615 bed nights a year, between its homes in Athlone, Cobh, Dublin and Letterkenny. ONE will open a new six-bed facility in Cork City in late 2023, bringing the charity up to a 57-bed capacity. A waiting list is already in place for the new home. 

Initiated by Droga5 Dublin on behalf of ONE, Hope Couture draws on the most recognisable visual element of a soldier – their camouflage – with the creation of three distinctive patterns that have been inspired by real locations where homeless veterans have slept.

The ‘Hope Couture’ collection has been inspired by the unforgiving streets of Ireland and designed to help veterans survive them. Pictured: Wayne Fitzgerald of Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann (Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel) photographing Brendan Monaghan (Cavalry Corps) modelling the Hope Couture outfit in the shop window on Grafton Street. Picture Paul Sherwood

Irish designer Orla Langan was commissioned to create the collection for ONE, with Luke Street, Royal Canal / Russell Street Bridge and Blessington Street Park, Phibsborough, serving to influence the patterns for the three outfits. The camouflage streetwear serves to highlight the struggles veterans face as they battle homelessness, while also giving them the hope to escape its grasp.

By showcasing the harsh reality of life on the streets, ONE hopes to shine a light on the support needed by veterans of the Defence Forces when they leave a life of service.

Three veterans who are currently in ONE accommodation – Martin Clarke (5 Infantry Battalion), Eddie Culshaw (Naval Service), and Brendan Monaghan (Cavalry Corps) – are at the frontline for the Hope Couture campaign.

They have experienced the benefits of the charity first hand and are deservedly proud of their service in the Irish Defence Forces, both at home in Ireland and on overseas missions. The veterans represent genuine cases of the immense sacrifice made by Ireland’s military men and women and the cruel reality many face when they leave service.

Central to the concept of Hope Couture is a unique design element that has the potential to help its wearer escape homelessness. The designs have been created not just to highlight the serious threat of homelessness, but to give the public the power to help bring hope to these veterans in real time.

QR codes have been integrated into the designs, allowing anyone who comes in contact with the patterns to instantly donate to ONE through their smartphones.

Scanning the QR code on the Hope Couture outfit in the shop window on Grafton Street. Picture Paul Sherwood

This will bring mobile users directly to www.one-veterans.org/donate, where they can contribute to the charity and play their part in the fight against veteran homelessness.

All funds raised through Hope Couture will help ONE meet the rising demand for safe housing for homeless veterans. 

Launching the Hope Couture campaign, Chief Executive of ONE Cormac Kirwan said: “The main objective of Hope Couture is to raise vital funds to enable ONE to continue supporting homeless veterans. ONE’s role is to provide support, comradeship, advocacy and remembrance and the organisation helps veterans to get back on their feet by offering accommodation, mental health support, employment assistance, addiction counselling and peer support. We hope that this collection of unique camouflage streetwear, designed specifically for the campaign, will raise awareness around Irish veterans who are experiencing homelessness and give them the encouragement and resources they need to overcome its challenges. Incorporating the QR code into the design of the clothing will enable the public to donate to the fundraiser with minimum effort.”

Featured image: Pictured: Brendan Monaghan (Cavalry Corps) models the Hope Couture outfit in the shop window on Grafton Street. The ‘Hope Couture’ collection has been inspired by the unforgiving streets of Ireland and designed to help veterans survive them.

Pictures Paul Sherwood Photography

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