Clothing for all at Ryerson University

Ryerson holds Community Closet clothing swap for all genders

Image of people sorting and picking clothes on a hanger

Image of people picking Clothes – Photo: Renuka Malhotra / The dialog

Stress-free shopping for people of all genders is the idea behind the Community Closet. The group, which held its first all-gender clothing swap at Ryerson University on Aug. 28 and 29, describes itself as “an epic coming together of clothes and community.”

Held at the Ryerson Student Centre’s Oakham Lounge, the event was open to the black community on Aug. 28 and to all communities on Aug. 29. Using fashion as a medium, the Community Closet offered interactive sessions like a discussion on fashion, a sewing 101 workshop and it even included dance breaks. Donations for Black Lives Matter were also collected on-site.

When planning began for the clothing swap in May, the major challenge faced by organizers Afi Browne, Fonna Seidu and Tumaini Lyaruu was finding a place that had gender-neutral washrooms and that was also accessible to people in wheelchairs.

That is when RyePRIDE came into the picture. The organization is an equity service group at Ryerson University that provided space for the event. Other supporters of the event included Krafty Queers, the Racialised Students’ Collective and Nia Zamar.

The day open exclusively to the black community did not generate a huge crowd. But Browne noted that the number of people who donated items to the event outnumbered those who came to get clothing.

“The drop-off locations were flooded with clothes and we expect to have enough leftovers by the end of the event,” she said.

Lyaruu was also not deterred by the outcome. “Though the turnout is less than expected, it’s good that we were able to make the event happen, which is a big thing!” she said.

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Clothing for all at Ryerson University