It’s Elsa Ellies and Miles Dunphy here, Co-Founders of OBM ONELAB CIC (“ONELAB”).
Contrary to convention, we chose to write “About Us” in the first person for one reason – we wanted to write a personal note to you.
As professional fashion designers that live and work in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, we have observed the pervasiveness of inequality and poverty deeply rooted within our borough. What has become increasingly clear is a growing polarisation between “the rich” and “the poor” as community displacement runs rampant.
By listening to the aspirations of Tower Hamlets residents, in conjunction with preliminary guidance from Graham Smithers, Head of Services at Job, Enterprise and Training, a division within the Tower Project, we created ONELAB.
ONELAB is a social enterprise dedicated to tackling the root causes of poverty by providing practical training, within fashion, to individuals living with a learning disability, autism or physical disability, who remain some of the furthest from the labour market.
ONELAB invests in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) children and adults, to combat poverty and stimulate overall economic growth.
For many creatively gifted SEND children and adults, especially those living in deprived areas, opportunities to pursue a creative career are highly restricted. In general, creative education fails to develop meaningful opportunities within the design sector for SEND children and adults – a sector in which networks, facilities, and additional expertise contribute so heavily to entry.
The ONELAB dissolves these barriers to entry and empowers SEND children and adults to find their voice through fashion entrepreneurship. We believe everyONE deserves to live fulfilling lives.
Complementary to ONELAB, we are also the Co-Founders of ONEBYME, a gender-fluid, urban DIY fashion brand. Unique to ONEBYME is our engineering of garments from ONE piece of material. It is through this streamlining of what has traditionally been a cumbersome process that we have created a powerful method for the easy transfer of "fashion skills". By leveraging ONEBYME's innovative ONE piece designs, ONELAB offers fashion-industry training that is practical. In this way, the ONELAB bridges the gap between the academic study of fashion and its manifestation in the "real world".
We are igniting change by empowering our learners to find a purpose in life. The ONELAB offers a voice and power to disabled people, a group highly discriminated against, often marginalised from society, and at greater risk of living in poverty.
The ONELAB thus plays an important community role in dissolving barriers that have traditionally prevented disabled people from achieving paid employment. This not only brings individuals who remain furthest from the labour market financial independence, but can be key to building confidence and self-esteem, forming community bonds, and increasing health and well-being.
For organisations interested in a partnership with ONELAB, please complete the enquiry form in "Partnerships". We are most grateful for every request. However due to a high volume of demand, we will be unable to accept all partnership requests immediately. We do kindly ask for your patience. We are working around the clock to ensure all our partnership requests get fulfilled in the very near future.
Thank you very much for your support and interest in ONELAB.