On Feb. 18, Ford’s Closet, a new student-run consignment shop, hosted its first pop-up shop in VCAM, selling clothing that had been offered by members of the Haverford community. While the original owners of the clothing item received a large portion of the sale, a portion of the proceeds were redistributed throughout the community. The pop-up shop, designed to encourage sustainable fashion and eliminate clothing waste, was the culmination of the efforts of Mimi Lavin ‘24 and Allison Cubell ‘24, who were backed by the Haverford Innovations Program (HIP).
Lavin and Cubell were inspired to start this program when they thought about the environmental impact of the fashion industry, unused clothes, and how enjoyable they found thrifting to be.
“The fashion industry has a negative impact on the environment and we wanted to help reduce waste while supporting the community,” they said. “So we came up with the idea to create an on-campus consignment store where students can both get rid of their old clothes and shop for new pieces. Shopping secondhand is also a fun and budget-friendly way to reduce stress!”
In addition to sustainability concerns, their organization, which they named Ford’s Closet, also wanted to help redistribute wealth. They achieved this by donating a portion of the proceeds to an organization which directly supports Bi-Co students’ needs.
Students were invited to drop off their clothes in VCAM from Jan. 27 to Feb. 2. At every step of their process, Lavin and Cubell were overwhelmed by the community’s response. Shayna Nickel, director of HIP, had noticed this too when Lavin and Cubell started gauging interest via a web survey.
“Within 48 hours they’d received over 200 responses indicating support for a consignment event,” said Nickel. “I have students send out surveys all the time but this broke the response records.”
Despite promising survey results, the clothing drive exceeded even those expectations.
“We ended up collecting about 500 items,” they said, “way more than we prepared for.”
The pair then spent two weeks sorting, pricing, and tagging each of the items that had been dropped off, while advertising the upcoming pop-up shop on their Instagram.
The pop-up shop proved to be just as successful as the clothing collection. Over 100 students stopped by VCAM to purchase clothing, which was laid out across racks, tables, and bins in VCAM. The majority of dropped-off clothes were purchased and redistributed throughout the Haverford community, marking the event as a huge success. Clothing that was not purchased was either given to the Committee for Environmental Responsibility (CER) for its own clothing swap, returned to the seller, or held onto for a future event. (Sellers were able to specify their preferred choice during the initial drop-off.)
“It was great to see so many people show up, and even more rewarding to see people wearing their new clothes around campus.” Lavin said.
“Allison and Mimi faced a number of challenges and did an incredible job orchestrating the undertaking and navigating setbacks,” Nickel said. “On a personal note it was a lot of fun to get regular updates on turnout and sales that Friday night. It’s always exciting to watch students take an idea from a seed to execution.”
Those interested in keeping up with future plans from Ford’s Closet can follow their Instagram.