The Wardrobe, an initiative by students hoping to provide free professional attire to all Cornellians, will host a launch party on April 26 featuring a fashion show and pop-up shop to spread the word about their project.
Initially under the umbrella of the Dyson Inclusion and Diversity club, this semester the project branched off to work seperately because “it deserves its own attention,” according to Ruth Park ’21, one of its members.
In a survey of 93 students, conducted by The Wardrobe last semester, the club found that approximately half of the students lacked professional attire because of monetary or budgeting issues. Many of the others were international students who experienced difficulty transporting professional clothes to and from home.
Based on these findings, the club decided on the solution of a lending model and pop-up shop, servicing students “who need professional attire now,” Park said.
Through the lending model, students can “rent smaller items like ties, belts, and shoes, while suits will be given out on a permanent basis so they can be individually tailored,” according to the club’s crowdfunding website.
The Wardrobe has been supported by grants and crowdfunding money and donors have helped to supply the inventory of clothes.
“We’ve had drives from Deutsche Bank and Ernst Young, and we’re looking to gain more corporate partnerships and partner with other companies,” Park said.
While The Wardrobe plans to do a pop-up every semester, the lending model of their program will always be accessible.
“The lending model will be a year-long thing. Our inventory [of clothes] will be housed in Willard Straight Hall,” Park said.
In addition, to being easily accessible, The Wardrobe is “trying to accommodate for different body types,” Park said. This includes a “range of sizes [and] we’re doing 50/50 in terms of how we’re allocating our funding for each gender-type of clothes.”
The launch event will include a pop-up shop with an inventory of clothes that people can actually come and take and attendees will get to see what types of clothes they currently have through the fashion showcase.
This program is part of The Wardrobe’s broader goals to foster an inclusive community by academic and social integration.
“I think it’s really nice, just because if you think of a business club it’s more about personal development. […] It’s really nice to see what impact you can make,” Park told The Sun.
The launch party will be in the One World Room at Anabel Taylor Hall on April 26th from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.