By Susan Simms and Bevali Francis

Susan: Bevali and I lived together in Hastings for two years – I was the lodger – and during that time we became the greatest of friends. Just before lockdown I moved into my own flat because ‘after all a girl needs her own front door’. 

Bevali: When Susan wasn’t being her alter-ego blues singer, Sister Suzie, Friday nights became the night to dress up and get ready for the weekend. Getting ready for the weekend and choosing outfits became a bit of a tradition between us.

Isolation wasn’t going to stop us, so we decided we would still ‘Frock Up’ on Fridays and just share a photo to show one another what we’d chosen to wear. We then had the same idea at the same time – we’d invite our friends on Facebook to do it too, as a way to stay connected! I joked “this could go viral”.

On the first day, to our surprise we had 500 other like-minded people wanting to share their Friday Frock Up. It wasn’t just frocks, but a joyous mixture of all kinds of clothes people loved to go out in. It had a surprising side effect too: it’s a page of celebration and positivity; without any prompting, contributors started complimenting one another on their photos and outfits. It’s been an all-inclusive page of pure joy from the ordinary to the extraordinary. 

Founders (left to right) Bevali Francis and Susan Simms

The participants are now a global community with more than 10,000 people all over the world (43% from Hastings) getting dressed up for a night in! Amazing things have happened, friendships have been made and we’ve even had a couple who frocked up and proposed in their pretend home restaurant. 

We’ve had lots of key workers join and if they can’t do Fridays they’ve frocked up on other days. It means everyone has been able to join in. We’ve been absolutely wowed by the whole thing and love the fact that so many people have found Frock Up Friday brings them a little bit of joy in a very lonely and difficult time.

Last Friday we were interviewed on BBC Sussex Breakfast show with Neil Pringle, as well as making an appearance on BBC South East News.

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