Suzanne Wallworth, Pop-Up Store Manager, Sharlene King, Pop-Up Store Assistant, and Shona Smith, Taranaki Women’s Refuge Relations Manager, with some of the clothes ready to go on sale at the event. Photo / Tammie Pittwood Photography
Forget fast fashion, when it comes to making your wardrobe work for you, pre-loved clothes are definitely the hottest trend, says Rebecca Johnson.
Rebecca is in the midst of a pop-up style challenge for Taranaki Women’s Refuge, wearing some pre-loved pieces that will all be on sale at the Taranaki Women’s Refuge pop-up shop’s annual charity event next month.
“I love fashion and I love being able to support such an important cause. The work that the women’s shelter does is vital and it’s such a fun way to support the event and hopefully spark a stir. people’s excitement, while showcasing some of the amazing clothes people can find in the pop-up shop.”
Shona Smith, relationship manager with Taranaki Women’s Refuge, says Rebecca is the perfect person to take on the challenge.
“She has been supporting this event since 2017 and has such an eye for fashion. It was in 2017, two years after the event started, that we asked her to model some clothes for us, I still remember the caftan She wore It was donated by Trelise Cooper from her personal wardrobe and was just stunning Rebecca modeled it and then we auctioned it off.
Rebecca, who says the kaftan was even scented with the fashion designer‘s own perfume, has been involved with the event every year since.
“From a personal perspective, I love it. The pop-up store clothes are truly amazing, you can find great hero pieces for your wardrobe at a fraction of the price you would normally pay for hero clothes. such quality. It’s a great way to personalize your wardrobe, while having fun exploring different styles than you usually wear.”
This year’s pop-up style challenge is great fun, says Rebecca.
“Because I don’t pick the pieces myself, I’m given a bag or two of clothes and then have to figure out ways to style the outfits to wear each day.”
Suzanne Wallworth, the event coordinator, is the person who puts the clothes in the bag for Rebecca, and says she’s really having fun with the challenge.
“There are pieces I put in the bag and I can’t wait to see how Rebecca wears them.”
Suzanne isn’t alone, with Rebecca’s colleagues at the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (TAFT) regularly asking her to spin them around and show them what she’s modeling for the day, while her daily updates on an account Instagram attracts a lot of likes.
“Fashion should always be fun. The quality of clothing in the pop-up store allows people to find key pieces that they can wear for years to come and create many different styles and looks around them.”
The pop-up shop sells everything from jackets and dresses to accessories such as handbags, rings and necklaces, says Shona.
“Just changing the necklace you normally wear with an outfit, or trying on a new pair of shoes with it, can totally change the overall look. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a whole new look, just play with the accessories or part of the outfit.”
One of the best things about the pop-up store is the everyday feeling of “brotherhood,” says Suzanne.
“You get women who compliment themselves when they’re choosing clothes, women who give themselves something to try on, because ‘that color would suit you’, it’s really nice to see, and we all know how compliments can make you feel.”
Rebecca says a great outfit isn’t just about looking good on the outside.
“Fashion is really empowering. Finding your own style, wearing something that not only makes you look good, but also makes you feel good. It makes you feel really powerful and strong.”
The event owes its success to the “incredible items that people donate every year,” says Shona.
“So many people support the pop-up shop and the Runway for Refuge event, not only by buying clothes, but also by donating items, buying tickets for the pre-sale party and bringing together a group of friends. Each year we are simply blown away by the sheer quality of the items donated and how truly involved the community is behind the event.”
The quality of the clothes is really amazing, agrees Rebecca, who says every time she opens a new bag of clothes to complete the challenge, she finds more pieces that she will buy once they go on sale in the shop short-lived.
“I can’t pass up a good jacket or coat, being from Western Australia originally where we didn’t really need to wear coats, I’m always tempted by the coats and jackets that are available at the pop-up.”
With items starting at just a few dollars, there really is something for every budget and every style, says Suzanne.
“And all the money raised from the event goes to help the people of Taranaki. It supports the vital work that Taranaki Women’s Refuge is doing in our community by supporting women and children through the provision of services, as well as programs such as the Men’s Program, which offers personalized counseling for men who want to change their behavior and their lives.”
What: Women’s Refuge pop-up store
When: September 24 to October 2
Where: La Mer Lounge, New Plymouth Raceway
More information: A paid pre-sale evening takes place on September 23, then the shop is open to the public, free entry, every day from September 24.
You want to help: donations for the pop-up shop are accepted until September 15. In Stratford, donations can be dropped off at Govett Quilliam, corner Broadway and Fenton, or at the Stratford Press office, 178 Broadway, Stratford.
More details: www.taranakiwomensrefuge.co.nz