Thursday, February 9, 2012

Repurposing with good will, Goodwill, and Mondo.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the second annual Goodwill Good Exchange for Change Fashion Show and Clothing Swap. I went to last year's event as well, which was a complete blast.

And this year's night of repurposed glitz and glamour didn't disappoint.

Here's how the Good Exchange works. Buy a ticket, bring 10 items you no longer want, enjoy food, beverages, music and swag during the cocktail hour, watch a fabulous fashion show featuring creations by up-and-comers who design new looks from Goodwill finds, then go shopping in the boutique that's been created with everybody's stuff. Bring 10 items, take 10 items. Everybody wins.

As for the particulars of last night, my experience was a series of lovely, providential moments.

Because of this crazy-fabulous thrifty-bloggy world I've created, as well as the good will from Goodwill's media relations manager Vanessa, I got a press pass for last night's event.

Serendipitously, I found a spot next to lovely Renee, who was there to cover the event for her magazine.

She knew that there was some Mondo Guerra face time planned, so when the time was right, I tagged along.

I had a few minutes with Mondo, during which I snapped this picture. I asked him about the future of thrifting, based on the overwhelming interest in the evening's event. He mentioned that "repurposing is the future. Taking something and making something new, giving it new life, seeing things creatively, is what going green is all about."

Bravo, Mondo.

I got caught up on Project Runway All Stars today, and I thought it was fitting that Mondo won last week's challenge. The designers had to find a fashion muse in Union Square Park in New York and convince them to give them the clothes off their back. Then the designers used those garments to create new fashion.

During that episode, Mondo explained that thrifting is "how I started designing and learning how to make patterns. I would go to thrift stores and buy a bunch of crap and take it home and rip it apart and see how it was constructed, and I'd turn it into something new for myself."

That is, at its essence, what repurposing (aka thrifting) is all about.

If you widen the net, it's what life is all about. Seeing the possibility in the ordinary.

But I digress.

Long and short, in addition to Mondo, I met a whole bunch of other people last night, all of whom were just as jazzed about the lovely, creative, generous, repurposeful world that thrifting creates.

Everyone has a story.

Camille is a business person, and seemed somewhat offput at first when I asked her what brought her to last night's event. Then her thrifting stories started flowing. She explained how she'd found a Chanel bag at a thrift store for a few bucks. She shared why she'd shed her emotional baggage last night by donating 10 items that were steeped in bad mojo.

There was Sarah, the personal organizer. She helps people get rid of their stuff, and Goodwill is her drop-off destination.

There were men and women, young and old, fashionistas and folks like me in attendance last night.

And I think everyone had a wonderful time.

So much good, so much good will, so much repurposing on so many levels.

According to Vanessa, 700 people attended last year's event, and it was sold out. This year, 900 people were in attendance, and last night's event was also sold out.

I was chatting with some folks who mentioned they thought the event could sell out the Convention Center.

That's how much people love to repurpose.

I completely concur about the Convention Center idea. And it makes my heart happy to know that so many people are repurposeful.

Being thrifty, being repurposeful, is a singular focus until that focus is broadened. And last night definitely broadened the focus.


  1. Great summary of a very nice evening! I dropped more off at Goodwill yesterday after helping a client sort through her son's old baby clothes and toys. She loved the fact that her donation would help so many others! (And the fact that she no longer has to walk around all those boxes in her basement!)

  2. So nice to have met you, Sarah! Good luck with your business! I'll pass the word!

  3. It was a great night wasn't it? Such a pleasure to meet you too! Turned out one of my friends daughters, Chloe Jarisch, was in the final four. The shorts and black and white motif top....hope to see you soon.