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Pop-Up thrift store in the Sustainability Resource Centre aims to remove accessibility barriers 

By Julieanne Acosta, March 30 2023— 

A two-day thrift store event hosted by the UCalgary Fashion Network (UCFN) and Students in Communications (SiC) began today starting at 12:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. and will be up again tomorrow at the same times. 

In an interview with the Gauntlet, the president of SiC Kaari Hall and co-president of UCFN Hanna Crisostomo talked about why they decided to plan this thrift store pop-up. 

“We did the first thrift store event last semester in October,” said Hall. “That event was primarily catered towards lower-income students and international students who did not know where to source warm winter clothing or even just affordable winter clothing in general. A big push for that first event was to ensure that we could — as a community of students — meet each other’s needs and help each other access what we need or desire to access.” 

“It’s all really about breaking those barriers to access,” said Crisostomo. “Because it’s in such a casual community setting, it’s a way where people can express their identity through different clothing.” 

The thrift store event last October operated on a pay-what-you-can basis and raised close to $1000 that the two clubs donated to Walls Down Collective. Similarly, the proceeds from the this thrift store event will go toward a mutual aid charity that will be chosen at the end of the two-day event. 

Students can also expect to purchase necessities that they may need at the thrift store pop-up. 

“This time around we were able to make use of a sustainability grant from the Sustainability Resource Centre. This provided us with the opportunity to buy a whole bunch of new socks, underwear, menstrual pads, and other necessities for students that they don’t get subsidized on a daily basis,” said Hall. 

The event looks to break down the accessibility barriers that students face when it comes to clothes and provide an affordable and accessible option.

“A lot of students will argue ‘you know what, I can’t afford a jacket right now so I’ll just wear three different sweaters that are lower quality but hopefully that’ll get me through.’ Some don’t have the financial resources to travel and then shop. So we want to make sure students can access their needs and reduce the barriers to that,” said Hall. 

Although donations for the thrift-store pop-up are no longer being accepted, students who have donations can keep a lookout for UCFN events and their clothing donation boxes. 

“At every UCFN event — which is about once a month — we do have a clothing donation box that we bring. We’ve also had a box in the arts lounge for about a week,” said Crisostomo. 

In their concluding thoughts, Crisostomo and Hall encouraged the community to come out to the event. 

“If you are into thrifting and repurposing clothes, you should come out to this event,” said Crisostomo. “Most thrift stores just profit off of purchases, but we choose to donate to mutual aid charities — truly grassroots organizations that could use the financial support the most. This is a great way to support mutual aid charities in Calgary.”

“A lot of people don’t realize that we provide other types of clothing such as children’s clothes so people can come here looking for different types of clothes,” said Hall. “Lastly, students should bring reusable bags for their shopping.” 

To learn more about UFCN, visit their student-run blog. To learn more about SiC, visit their social media.  

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