When I decided to undergo an ethical cleanse, I did so with the sole intention of taking everybody down with me… I mean, you really didn’t think I was going to walk this path alone, did you? Writes Passions Arabia resident blogger, @kuzmoz
After going through two major life cleansing processes, I realized that all it takes to make a difference is a mindset stubborn enough to make it work and a whole a lot of winging it. After my last article, I started to look deeply into mindful shopping, not necessarily ethical sourcing, but something as small as turning to vegan cotton and leather was amongst the things on my list to hunt.
But all this opened my eyes to how limited the sources actually are. How un-inclusive and not-diverse the pieces are. An old idea started coming back to me, now more than ever, it felt like it was time to materialize it.
I’ll do it, I’m going to do this. I’m actually doing it. I’m going to open a Thrift Shop. I had all my where’s what’s and how’s mapped out. I was lucky to already be in the company of some amazing women who had their own ethical brand that promotes sustainability and eco-conscious habits and products. We decided to join forces being that we share the same values, and our brands can live vicariously through each other… and just like that, we became the proud owners of a corner shop in a mall in Salmiya, our little co-joint hub promoting ethical products, textile waste reduction, and shopping for a cause.
On October 9th, 2019, Odette’s Closette was born, along-side its space partner, AO.
Although the idea isn’t that new to Kuwait’s scene (researched showed there have been a couple of shops that are resellers of used clothes) – Odette’s Closette is more on the modern side of fashion with a hint of funky retro pieces here and there.
Odette’s Closette accepts donations, examines them, and sorts them in designated hangers; anything that doesn’t make the cut gets donated directly to charity. It’s also a non-profit shop, meaning the money coming in from selling these donations are put back into the community via cash donations to humanitarian groups focusing on issues like helping distressed families all over Kuwait and aiding the fund for the education of the Stateless.
For those of you who’ve never been introduced to the concept of thrifting, here’s a “101 breakdown” of what this movement entails:
Thrift shops can be sorted into two main categories; vintage/antique shops and regular secondhand clothing shops. The first kind, owners usually buy the pieces you see on display because they are considered high-end, one-of-a-kind vintage, and their market value remains high over the years because of the brand’s name attached to it. In case you’re wondering, Odette’s Closette falls under the second category. That’s not to say that Odette’s will not be stocking or accepting vintage pieces; anyone is welcome to donate and even negotiate with the owner on a price, and both sides leave happy.
The sole purpose of Odette’s Closette is to raise awareness about our uncontrolled buying habits. Fast fashion is both fast in production as well as elimination, meaning that it’s tempting to be on top of all trends, but once the next trend is out (literally the next day), the latest item you bought is discarded and substituted for a newer, on-trend piece… and what Odette’s wants is to be is a place for all these discarded items to find new owners and not just be textile waste roaming and polluting our planet. Odette’s also aims to normalize wearing secondhand clothing items that are in mint condition; just because an item is discarded, doesn’t make it unwearable.
Odette’s Closette is a non-profit – to further our cause to encourage people to donate clothes instead of throwing them out and to get people more interested in the concept of giving back to the community – Odette’s proceeds are going to be donated to local charities and humanitarian aid groups in Kuwait.
Now, let’s talk a little about AO… the beating heart behind Odette. AO was founded by Maryam, Nadia, and Tahani, three besties with a mission… what’s the mission you ask? Spreading the many ways one can transition into a conscious lifestyle. Their products will provide you with small steps of guidance into an eco-friendlier, cruelty-free, and zero-waste living. AO also promotes mindfulness of health and kindness towards the environment, the latter being a shared value with Odette’s Closette. AO’s 3 main standards of decision-making are: 1) Wellbeing, 2) Accountability, and 3) Gratitude.
The two sides of this little corner shop actively share a will to make a difference in this part of the world where we live. To see a difference, we took it upon ourselves to be the difference and spread mindfulness and accountability and consciousness to our peers.
And that is the story of how a little dream, turned to a life-changing decision, made its way to the heart of Kuwait.