Beira and Smart Works Collaboration
Beira and Smart Works are proud to come together for a special project that’s close to our hearts. Both companies believe in empowering women to be the best they can be. Beira - with our roots in ethical fashion - and Smart Works - with its mission to equip women for the job market - have found a common ground to make a meaningful difference. Through our collaboration, we aim to support women on their journey towards employment, blending style with a cause and fostering a positive impact in our community.
What is Smart Works?
For nearly a decade, Smart Works Scotland has supported women navigating the intimidating prospect of attending job interviews. Based in Edinburgh and Glasgow, this remarkable charity has been steadfast in its mission to ensure that any unemployed woman in need finds her way to their doorstep. The Smart Works charity treats everyone with kindness and respect, helping women envision a bright future despite facing tough situations like returning from maternity leave, dealing with past incarceration or overcoming homelessness.
Through a combination of high-end interview outfits and career coaching, Smart Works is instrumental in transforming apprehension into aspiration. The 69% success rate makes it clear—Smart Works is making a big difference in women’s lives, and this positive change also touches their families and communities.
One inspiring story revolves around Sam Vanbastan, a seasoned professional who never imagined she would face hurdles in re-entering the job market. However, life took an unexpected turn, and after seven fruitful years of teaching followed by 16 years of self-employment, Sam found herself amidst a challenging two-year quest for a new job. The road was tough; she filled out dozens of applications yet rarely reached the interview stage. The constant rejection took a toll on her self-esteem, making her doubt her capabilities.
At this low point, Sam encountered Smart Works Scotland at a job fair in March 2023. The charity contacted her the very next day, inviting her to an interview coaching session. Smart Works also gave Sam an interview-appropriate outfit that resonated with her personality, free of charge. Within a week of this life-changing encounter, Sam secured a job in the charity sector, embarking on a new chapter filled with renewed self-worth and a sense of purpose.
Another heart-warming example is Rhiannon Wilson, a young woman venturing into the male-dominated technology industry. Following her completion of a software development course, Rhiannon felt overwhelmed and unsure of her footing in this new field. The culture of constant competition left her questioning her intelligence and capabilities.
Then, Rhiannon discovered Smart Works. Her interaction with the charity’s team during her coaching session proved a turning point. The session, filled with friendly and insightful advice, alleviated her anxieties and bolstered her self-esteem. Meanwhile, the dressing appointment provided Rhiannon with a confidence-boosting outfit. Armed with newfound assurance and backed by Smart Works, Rhiannon successfully secured a role as a junior software developer in Glasgow.
Make a Fashion Statement With Beira
Beira is a unique fashion brand based in Scotland that turns unused luxury fabrics into limited edition womenswear. This practice reduces the textile waste that the fashion industry usually creates. Founders Flavio Forlani and Dr Antoinette Fionda-Douglas are deeply concerned about the environment and the unjust social practices in the fashion industry. That’s why they founded Beira as a brand that stands for change, being kind to the planet and fair to the people who make and wear their clothes.
Beira follows a principle called circular sourcing, where we buy unused luxury materials and turn them into new garments. We also use solar panels at our facilities in Italy and have a special shipping method that reduces our carbon footprint by 90%. Unlike many brands, Beira is completely transparent about our practices. We share examples of production costs, so customers know exactly what they’re paying for.
Our ‘honest luxury’ approach means we design durable and stylish clothes and sell them directly to customers, which controls costs. This way, people get high-quality clothing at a much lower price whilst supporting a brand that cares for the environment and its workers. We’re demonstrating a new way of doing things in the fashion world, where luxury, fairness and environmental responsibility go hand in hand.
The Smart Works and Beira Collaboration: Crafting Change Together
Our partnership with Smart Works brings together what we both do best. At Beira, we’re all about ethical fashion, whilst Smart Works is dedicated to helping women get back into the workforce. Together, we’re creating a meaningful impact, one interview outfit and one coaching session at a time.
At the heart of our collaboration is the ‘Maggie Jacket’, named for Maggie Darling, the Chairwoman of Smart Works Scotland and the founding Trustee of Smart Works Charity. Maggie has been a force of change, helping women gain confidence and employment, and we couldn’t think of a better name for a jacket that conveys such a strong message. Each Maggie Jacket is a piece of this shared mission, blending our love for sustainable fashion with the empowering efforts of Smart Works.
The Maggie Jacket mirrors the Jeanne Jacket, with a distinct character derived from the Elena Jacket. The longer fit and enhanced cut along the hips meld seamlessly with the delightful bracelet-style sleeves. Three-button detailing and a versatile collar add a finishing touch to this masterpiece, making it a perfect companion for either a casual ensemble or your most beloved dress. This limited edition navy velvet jacket, priced at £320, is a piece of honest luxury, with only 41 jackets available.
Beira is thrilled to donate £30 from each of the Maggie Jackets directly to Smart Works Scotland. This way, we’re not just creating a stylish jacket; we’re giving back and supporting a better future for women.
Antoinette said: “At the heart of our collaboration is the ‘Maggie Jacket’, named for Maggie Darling, the Chairwoman of Smart Works Scotland and the founding Trustee of Smart Works Charity.
“Maggie has been a force of change, helping women gain confidence and employment, and we couldn’t think of a better name for a jacket that conveys such a strong message.
“Each Maggie Jacket is a piece of this shared mission, blending our love for sustainable fashion with the empowering efforts of Smart Works.”
Maggie Darling, Chair of Smart Works Scotland, said: “Beira has been supporting and encouraging us along our journey at Smart Works Scotland to help more and morewomen back into work.
“We share values and belief in the power of fashion as a force for good and are delighted and thrilled by Antoinette’s generous and gorgeous creation, the Maggie Jacket.
“The funds raised through its sale will help change lives, empowering our clients, helping them gain confidence, find a job and begin to be the best they can be.”
Caroline Cook, Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger, said it’s lovely to be helping with the launch: “I love this beautiful vintage style blazer in this stunning navy velvet and I look forward to showing you how I will style it.”