Dress for Success Palmerston North – combating fast fashion to help women dress for the workplace.
Dress for Success is an affiliate member group of Environment Network Manawatu and a welcome social and environmental initiative that has been a long time in the making.
The idea of a Palmerston North branch came in 2014 when ex-Mayor Heather Tangauy was packing to move to Auckland. She had quality clothes from her more formal days she no longer needed and planned to donate to the Dress for Success in Wellington. She mentioned this to current board member Norelle Ward and challenged her to the task of bringing the cause to the area.
Dress for Success provides women with professional attire for job interviews and believes every woman has the right to realise her full potential and achieve financial independence. The programme provides professional work clothing for women attending job, internship, or tenancy interviews. A selection of high-quality contemporary fashions, shoes, jewellery, handbags, and make-up (the majority of which are donations) are available. There is also a career support programme also helps women develop employability skills to enter the workforce.
The initiative has a very clear environmental slant. Ward notes, ‘we applied to join ENM as we felt that the repurposing of clothing, shoes, jewellery and other accessories was a perfect example of reduce, reuse and recycle, and a redirect away from landfill. We are still a predominantly consumerist society and we often still buy fast fashion… but even this can have a second chance’
Dress for Success has received large amounts of quality donated items, and if items don’t fit their purpose (work ready attire) then they are gifted it to other places to ensure they are used such as UCOL’s free student wardrobe etc.
Ward is rightly proud of what has been achieved by a group of people with a passion ‘…the service empowers women. Our whole ethos is about gifting and filling their cup to empower them to look and feel their best, putting their best foot forward regardless of the situation’.
This partnered with the clear ethos around minimising waste, reusing quality clothing and reducing the impact of fast fashion makes it an incredible service to both support and utilise.