If your wardrobe's looking a little barren, tomorrow brings you the opportunity to step into a huge Whangārei-based walk-in wardrobe and step away with smart attire for nothing but a donation.
Dress for Success (DFS) Northland is hosting a clothing giveback with their overflowing stocks in response to the rising community need as a result of Covid-19.
The giveback with a conversation about excess clothing in the DFS Northland storeroom. DFS Northland chair Sarah Hoyle said clothing stocks are generously donated by individuals, companies and organisations, so the DFS team can support women to dress professionally and confidently as they take a brave first step into their new future. However, every now and then stocks build up.
"In the past, we have redistributed some of these items through online clothing sales, but this year, because of all the current and future hardship being felt in our communities due to Covid-19, we wanted to do something different. We wanted to be able to re-gift this clothing back to our community in a time of genuine need."
More than 1000 items are waiting to be gifted through the Walk-in Wardrobe and volunteers have been collecting more. Everything, including shoes and accessories, are available for a koha.
DFS hopes to re-gift more than 70 per cent of the clothing and anything left will be donated to Northland charities, such as North Haven Hospice, Habitat for Humanities, Salvation Army and The Red Cross.
DFS is an international brand, known for supporting and empowering women into new phases of their lives. DFS Northland supports women - and men - through Dress to Impress, an initiative they began more than 12 years ago after noticing a need in Northland - to build courage and find the confidence to seek employment. As well as providing clothing and accessories, DFS Northland offers a wide range of other support services, including career planning, CV development, job searching and connections to other support services.
DFS Northland manager Krystal Wojnowski said she had seen client issues increase tenfold since lockdown.
"There's always been issues but, post lockdown, those issues are tenfold. We've got clients living in their cars waiting for emergency housing, mental health issues, the whole push to find work is very personal and it can trigger people.
"We try to have a lot of empathy and build them up to become work-ready but it's very hard if you've got all this going on and if you're sleeping in your car. Clients tell us their anxiety has increased since lock down.
"We have a lot of very thankful clients as well. They are very grateful for our service and to have someone to talk to."
She said the DFS wardrobe still has plenty of items after many people spent lockdown clearing their closets.
"The community is very generous and we have so many clothes that come in, it's just nice to be able to channel them to others."
The event was also made possible by sponsors Henderson Reeves Lawyers, Career Focus NZ and Villa Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors. Community volunteers, including regular DFS helpers, will support the event as "shop assistants" on the day.
The Walk-in Wardrobe is open to men and women in need of several outfits of smart attire. It will be held Saturday October 31 from 10am-3pm at ONEONESIX Bank St. BYO bags.
• The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
For more than 15 years Dress for Success Northland has served the communities of the north.
With the help of a network of volunteers, it assists women to reach their potential by enabling them to be work-ready, equipped with skills to help them find work and dressed suitably for interviews and the workplace.
A parallel programme called Dress to Impress does the same for Northland men so all can achieve and succeed.