An Auckland charity store owner was shocked when a popular New Zealand clothing brand allegedly threatened to call police on them for taking stock that the label had dumped in a rubbish skip.
However, the brand has claimed the items “were not fit for purpose” and said they regularly donate excess stock to charities.
The charity clothing store owner, who the Herald has agreed not to name, runs a shop that lets buyers decide what they can afford for items.
After being told Moochi had dumped shoes into a rubbish skip outside its head office in Grey Lynn, and knowing how many Kiwis are in need during a cost-of-living crisis, the charity store owner decided to recover the discarded couture yesterday.
Moochi, however, denied the claims and said nothing in the bin was “brand new stock” and “was not fit for any person, whoever they are, to wear”.
“These were manufacturing samples, that were either single shoes, mismatched pairs or broken stock,” a spokesperson for the brand said.
The charity owner disagreed.
“Some of them were odds and some of them were seconds but they are absolutely fit for a second life,” they said.
By the time their car was half loaded they said a staff member from Moochi came out to tell them they couldn’t take the stock and that they needed to return it to the skip, claiming the brand was going to be sorting through it.
“That stuff was going in the bin, the skip was full of fabric off-cuts, clothing racks, signs that could have been repurposed, notebooks – there were all sorts of stuff in that skip. There was no way that was going to be sorted today,” the charity store owner said.
“The stock was getting wet on the side of the road in a commercial skip, anyone could have rummaged through that skip.”
When the charity store owner refused to put the stock back in the bin the woman from Moochi threatened to call the police, they added.
They said they shared who they were, where they were from, and that the stock would be going directly to people in need.
The Moochi spokesperson claims their team member “was not made aware these people were from a charity” and “felt threatened” by the person taking the stock from the rubbish bin.
The charity store owner said they felt disappointed by the ordeal.
“It’s disappointing, especially when the work we do is directly helping people within our country that are living in extreme poverty and they’re massively marginalised.
“I don’t understand why brands are choosing to put stuff in [a] landfill versus literally giving it directly to people in need.
“Clothes are not trash because they are, like housing, a human right.”
Jane Treseder’s unique non-profit charity, Fix Up Look Sharp, works with Kiwi men to alleviate the emotional and financial stress of sourcing suitable clothes for an interview, meeting or important life events.
Fix Up Look Sharp relies on donations from shops similar to Moochi which provide old or slightly damaged stock, which Treseder works hard to acquire. She was confused why a local business might throw the clothes away.
“Why wouldn’t you make the effort to make sure those clothes aren’t wasted and given to people in need,” Treseder said.
Her charity struggles most to obtain shoes for people in need.
She also said often clothes not for sale are given to staff members or relatives.
Jacinta Fitzgerald, the programme director for Mindful Fashion, a collective of designers working towards sustainable fashion in New Zealand, agreed with Treseder’s sentiments and said “fundamentally, clothing should not be wasted”.
“We would like to see any surplus or excess stock going to those people rather than being thrown away,” FitzGerald said.
Moochi said it attempts to sell excess stock through online warehouse sales.
“If there is stock remaining from these sales we donate these products to our charity partners, with whom we have worked for a number of years,” Moochi’s spokesperson said.
“It is our belief in making these donations that we want to maintain a person’s dignity at this vulnerable stage of their life, so we only belief in donating product that is fit for purpose.”
FitzGerald highlighted that this issue doesn’t just speak to the issue of Kiwis without clothes, but also another issue in New Zealand.
“Textile waste is a massive problem in New Zealand,” Fitzgerald said.
“We need to have a conversation about what sustainable fashion actually means to us as a country.”