by Francis Andrews in New Trends on Monday 19 May 2008

Bottletop is one of the UK’s most exciting new charities, straddling the borders between music, fashion, and health-related education. We caught up with co-director Oly Wayman. Can you give us a quick run-through of the work you do? ‘The main focal point is the belief that poor sexual and reproductive health is the most complex and dangerous threat to young people today, and our aim is to empower young people to make informed choices about sex, using our own music and fashion products to raise funds and awareness. It began with bags and radios made from bottletops in Kenya and South Africa (hence the name of the charity) and we have recently launched a range of bags and belts made from ringpulls in Salvador, North East Brazil. The response has been great on this end and we managed to set up a partnership with the clothing brand Fenchurch to distribute the ringpull bags and belts. They are so into the cause that they don’t take a cut from sales of our products: we receive every single penny, which is really commendable. Importantly, the products need to be of the highest quality so that you are purchasing it for the value of craftsmanship or strength of the music: the fact that it is going to a good cause is really only seen as a bonus, otherwise there is no longevity in the product’.

Given the emphasis on awareness-raising, charities largely rely on exposure to get results. Bottletop has taken this to the fore, using the likes of Fatboy Slim to push the name and campaign. Where did this concept come from? ‘In Fatboy Slim’s case, I really wanted to get him to do a remix for our latest album ‘Sound Affects: Brazil’. I was always a big fan of his remixes and knew that he had a big presence out in Brazil, so it really made sense. Once he found out about the project, he was really into it and put a lot of work into his remix. We’re also in the process of developing our own superstar band to represent the charity, and are half way through recording the first live album which will be a cross cultural project with Brazil. The band features an all star line up, including artists from the Arctic Monkeys, Reverend And The Makers, Babyshambles, Dirty Pretty Things, Franz Ferdinand, and more’.