Style Lottery Fall Semester Wrap-Up

The Fall semester has been an exciting time for Style Lottery. We recently had our last closet swap of the year on Syracuse University’s campus (flyers are below).

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We have been working hard to introduce sustainable fashion to the university campus and give people the opportunity to get involved with fashion philanthropy. We encourage people to swap their clothing with one another for a few reasons:

  1. It lets you make room in your closet for clothing you will actually wear
  2. It challenges you to think about what articles of clothing are staples for your personal style
  3. It allows you to find eclectic articles of clothing without having to go hunting for them in department stores
  4. It give you a way to restyle and reuse clothing without creating waste
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We have noticed that we are building a small army of sustainable shoppers who consistently donate from their closets.

We all enjoy finding clothes that we like, so we do all the hard work and bring other people’s closets to our guests. Those who have been attending our swaps know that swapping is a viable way to change up their style and recycle clothes from their closets.

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It is also a great way to get students connected to the community surrounding the university

But why do we do all all of this? Sure, we do it to challenge people to chose sustainable fashion practices like swap instead of relying on trendy fashion. But we also host these swaps to connect students with members of the community.

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Our volunteers give of their time to support our mission of using fashion as philanthropy

We are building a culture where we recognized that we can use fashion to touch the lives of others. The clothes that are donated from the university swaps are taken to the community where we host a program teaching girls about sustainable fashion.

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Talking to the group about developing their individual styles

At the end of our community program, the girls receive a free shopping spree.This semester, we worked with Girls Inc. in Syracuse at the YWCA. We had a wonderful time engaging with the girls and helping them find clothes to fit their styles and personalities.

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Some of the girls at the event. You can see their bright personalities!

At the beginning of the year, we had a goal to give away 20 Style Lottery shopping sprees. We have 5 recipients from the Exodus House and 17 from Girls Inc. We did it!! And it was all thanks to you all. When you swap with us, you’re giving to girls in the community. Thanks to donations from our last two swaps, these girls got a free shopping spree at Girls Inc! The swap cycle is complete.

You all have make what we do possible. Thank you for your generosity and willingness to try new things.

As always,

timisign

Restyle, reuse, reward

Photo cred: Kyra Hamann

Can the Corporate World Do good?

This summer I had the pleasure of hosting my first corporate swap with an organization called ISEP (International Study Abroad Program) in D.C.. I was an intern at ISEP and the idea to have a swap at an office came from a conversation with a coworker. Somehow, talking to her about my hobbies lead to me telling her about how I use fashion to uplift individuals from low-income backgrounds through my nonprofit Style Lottery. It turns out that I’m so passionate about fashion sustainability and philanthropy that I talk about it all the time without realizing it!

I have hosted more than a dozen swaps, but this was my first time introducing it to the work world. By corporate swaps, I mean hosting a Style Lottery style closet swap I set up the swapping space at an office or corporate building. For ISEP’s swap , I organized a conference room at the office around noon and left the door open for the entire office to either donate their lightly used items and/or swap. At the end of the day, I stopped by to see the number of donations left on the table:

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Items donated by ISEP staff

I noticed that this group was a little different from other groups I had previously hosted closet swaps for. The ISEP staff participated in mostly giving and did little taking in exchange. Several people thanked me for hosting this event at the office and for selecting a charity to where remaining clothes will go. I picked Martha’s Table, a local D.C. nonprofit organization, as our charity for this particular swap because of its direct benefit to people in the community. The organization offers a variety of services for low-income individuals, for example:

Martha’s Outfitters also offers a free clothing distribution program to clients referred by one of the 100 agency partners throughout the Washington, DC area, allowing them access to free casual and work clothing, interview attire, housewares, and linens.
One of my favorite aspects about swaps is the giving back part. I enjoy partnering with organizations that have made a  commitment to walk alongside people in the community. These organizations support community members in their time of need and help them get back on their feet. With corporate swaps, businesses and large corporations can join the business of doing good quite easily. That afternoon, after the swap, I took two boxes of donations to Martha’s Table with a new sense of fulfillment. I have the privilege of being the middle (wo)man between these nonprofit organizations and the corporate world. Simply donating the excess in your closet can make a world of difference in the lives of people you may never personally meet.

Special thanks to ISEP for letting me bring the closet swap experience to the office. Every office and corporate staff is unique and has different social causes they are passionate about. I keep this in mind with every swap that we plan with Style Lottery. I plan to work with both the corporate world and nonprofits one day, and when I do, I hope I encounter great companies like ISEP that have the courage to embrace new ways to address social ills in our world.

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Click here to read more about how Style Lottery uses fashion to impact the lives of women. Or watch one of our closet swaps in action here.

Style Lottery #1

I’m excited to announce that today we had the opportunity to give our first Style Lottery to five beautiful women from the Exodus House. These ladies were headed to a dinner tonight so we have the privilege of styling their outfits and helping them get ready .

We had been given their sizes earlier so were able to pick out dresses for them beforehand. Some of them were a hit and a perfect fit and others required a replacement or a second look.

My favorite part of the whole day was taking the ladies to the attic to let them shop from the Style Lottery closet.

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I was overwhelmed with happiness when I saw them going through the racks with gusto and unbridled excitement.  It was so wonderful to see that something as simple as a shopping spree could put a smile on someone’s face. We love our happy customers!StyleLottery#1 2432x3648 StyleLottery#1 2432x3648-004 StyleLottery#1 2432x3648-003 StyleLottery#1 2432x3648-002 StyleLottery#1 2432x3648-001

After they picked out their clothes and got dressed, we sent them to hair and makeup. Our volunteer, Jen (a fellow Syracuse grad student), applied makeup and gave the ladies a natural makeup look.

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During this first Style Lottery, we discovered just how much clothing can contribute to how we feel about ourselves. Our biggest success of the evening was with Sam. Sam is a beautiful girl with a great curvy shape. Jen and I went through dozens of outfits, but none of them were really her. With the help of one the ladies, we found this gray blazer and paired it with a top from the Style Lottery closet. She wore her own pants and boots. She loved the outfit and rocked the look to the dinner. We could see the look of relief and confidence she wore along with her outfit. We knew we’d made the right choice. She looked, on the outside, the way she felt on the inside– like a beautiful, confident young woman. StyleLottery#1 2432x3648-006

And this is why we’re doing what we’re doing. We want to make more women like Sam smile. She deserves to be pampered and to look nice and we’re here to help.

Special thanks to the women who attended the December Clothes Swap. Without them, this first Style Lottery would not have been possible.

Special thanks to Exodus 3 Ministries for nominating these women to win a Style Lottery.

If you know a woman who would enjoy a Style Lottery, you can nominate her here. Our next Lottery will be after Spring Break 2014. Our goal is to give away at least 15 Lotteries. Spread the word.