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Pockets for Change

By Eleanor Toulmin

Pocket Change Co-Founder and YWCA Supporter

Entrepreneurship is about exploiting a gap in the market – and a group of young female entrepreneurs at the University of Melbourne are doing just that.        

Let’s talk about pockets. Or more specifically, the lack of pockets in women’s clothing. How annoying it is. And what Pocket Change’s Pocket Pop Up is doing to fix it.

You see it all the time. Women dancing in a circle around their handbags at a club. Women at playgrounds with their phone in their bra and their keys in one hand playing with their kids. Women in active wear juggling a phone, wallet, keys and coffee between two hands. Women between meetings at work with their laptop, notebook, pen, phone and swipe card clutched awkwardly to their chest. Because if nothing else it just looks weird to carry your handbag around the office with you.

How many times have you been caught out wanting somewhere to hold your grocery list, and ended up losing it to the bottom of your basket because you didn’t have a pocket to put it in?

Now just imagine if you had pockets for your stuff. You could have two hands free to play with your kids, you could walk around the office without being distracted by the worry that you may drop your phone at any minute, you could tuck a tampon in your pocket for emergencies. Or if not your stuff then just a place for your hands!

This is where Pocket Change comes in. Pocket Change run pop up shops and an online store that only sells pocketed clothing from Australian designers. Through market research of 450 women they found 85% of women want more pockets in their clothing. And that 63% of women would be willing to pay more for clothing with pockets.  Pockets are a need that women are crying out for. But that designers aren’t hearing… yet.

“It’s not as though there is a central ‘Women’s Pocket Committee’ that we could complain about it to,” says co-founder Sarah Agboola. “So we decided to do something about it ourselves.”

“We are curating a pop up featuring only pocketed clothing from 18 exciting Australian designers. As well as vintage Savers clothing for women on a student budget.” Downie thinks for a second before adding: “And plus sized clothing! It’s all about making fashion accessible.”


Toulmin agrees: “No matter how small pockets are - and sometimes women’s pockets are really small - here is something really awesome about young women trying to fix this issue for themselves.”

Pockets were popular with the large hooped skirts worn in Europe in the 1700s. But then fell out of favour with the introduction of the slim-cut, high-waisted Empire gowns of the 1800s. Pockets made a relatively brief reappearance in the practical styles of the war years, before disappearing again in the 1950s. And thus continued the boom-and-bust of accessible and pocketed fashion, and to some extent gender roles more broadly. A view captured by Christian Dior in 1954: "Men have pockets to keep things in, women for decoration."

“Men’s clothing is practical and women’s clothing is just pretty.” says Alidjurnawan.

“Which really goes against everything women are doing these days. The fact that gender inequality goes right down to the impracticality of women’s clothing is ridiculous. We may not have corsets anymore, but the lack of pockets in women’s clothing is a whole other type of restriction that we shouldn’t have to deal with. Sometimes it’s the little things. Like not having to keep your phone in your bra while you play with your kids,” says Agboola, who also runs a M-Time, a ‘mumcierge’ service that provides subscription cleaning, groceries and nannying packages to new mums.

In this fashion-conscious world we should put our money where our mouth is – in clothing that is both fashionable and functional and that means pockets. So I for one will be going to Pocket Change’s Pocket Pop-Up to stock up on pocketed clothing. It’s on this weekend - May 28 and 29 at Magic Johnson (27-29 Johnson St, Collingwood, Victoria). Partly because the ladies are donating all of their profits to support other young female entrepreneurs. But mostly because if I buy pockets this time then not only will I have space for my stuff but also, hopefully, designers will put pockets in next time as well.

Because what are fake pockets good for? Absolutely nothing.

Find out more:

Pocket Change website: http://www.forpocketchange.com/

Pocket Change Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1751010585142338/

Instagram: 4pocketchange

Photo Credits: 

Project Manager/Stylist: Fiyona Alidjurnawan

Model: Selby Staynor

Model: Maria Luisa Sumargo

Hair & Make Up Artist: Rachel Phuong Ngunyen

Photographer: An La (AJ Co Photography)