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Promotions & Activations News South Africa

A decade of the Street Store: From local to global, showing how creativity can be used as a force for good

This year marks a decade of the award-winning Street Store, the initiative that won a Cannes Lions gold, but more than that has clothed more than a million homeless people around the world with dignity...
Image supplied. This year marks a decade of the award-winning Street Store
Image supplied. This year marks a decade of the award-winning Street Store

The world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free pop-up clothing store for the homeless, has grown from a good idea into a global movement, with more than 1,000 stores in hundreds of locations around the world, with stores in countries as diverse as Mexico, New Zealand, Ghana, India, Peru, Pakistan, Canada, the US.

The next two instalments are back on South African soil, on 11 June at The Haven Night Shelter in Green Point, Cape Town and 22 June at The Salvation Army in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

Creativity can be a force for good

Founded by M&C Saatchi Abel in 2014, rather than doing just another charity handout, the concept was built on homeless people choosing their clothes with dignity, proving that creativity can be a force for good.

Talking about the immense growth of the concept, from a powerful idea into a sustained global movement, Mike Abel says: “Do you remember the car called Ssangyong Musso that proudly proclaimed on the back that it was ‘Powered by Mercedes-Benz’?

"The Street Store is powered by Ubuntu. Every Street Store in the world relies on people’s generosity of spirit. A decade of Street Stores is a testament to humanity’s generosity.”

Abel says that creativity is fundamental to the concept.

“The Street Store concept exemplifies how creativity can be used as a force for good. To move disadvantaged communities forward with dignity. It is an idea that taps into the human spirit globally. It transcends borders, languages and cultures and drives sustainable change.”

The initiative was recognised as the Best World-Changing Idea in the EMEA region by Fast Company US.

Fast fashion’s growth

Over the decade that the Street Store has been growing around the world, fast fashion has grown exponentially. Fast fashion accounts for 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to this, it is responsible for a fifth of wastewater worldwide.

To put this into perspective, while travel and logistics’ impact has been widely reported, fast fashion has a bigger impact on the planet than aviation and shipping combined.

“The Street Store, which is built on recycling good clothing in a sharing culture, is appealing in that it gives people around the world a platform to drive change amidst the fast fashion flood,” explains Abel.

He says that the Street Store provides people with an opportunity to address an important social challenge – clothing for the less fortunate – through the circular economy, and this is no doubt contributing to the sustained growth of the Street Store around the world.

Find out more

Donations of good, clean pre-loved clothes are welcomed at M&C Saatchi Abel’s Cape Town and Johannesburg offices.

Those interested in finding out more about the next two Street Stores or who would like to become involved or even run their own Street Store, can visit The Street Store or the Street Store Facebook page for all the upcoming events.

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