A decade and counting: Street Store has grown from an idea into a global movement

Next edition is in Johannesburg on 22 June

Joburgstyle is proud to be apart of such a great initiative in SOUTH AFRICA – This year marks a decade of homeless people around the world being clothed with dignity. 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 1000 stores in hundreds of locations around the world proving that creativity can be a force for good.

M&C Saatchi Abel founded the Street Store in 2014, just four years after the agency was co-founded by internationally respected advertising leader Mike Abel. Rather than doing just another charity handout, the concept was built on homeless people choosing their own clothes with dignity.

Estimated to have benefited more than a million people worldwide, the Street Store was awarded Gold at the Cannes Lions Festival and was recognised as a Best World-Changing Idea in the EMEA region by Fast Company USA. However, perhaps its biggest accolade lies in how it has been sustained and embraced across the globe.

With stores in countries as diverse as Mexico, New Zealand, Ghana, India, Peru, Pakistan, Canada, the US, and much more, the next  installment is back on South African soil, on 22 June at The Salvation Army in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Donations of good, clean pre-loved clothes are welcomed at M&C Saatchi Abel’s Johannesburg offices.

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 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

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

Those interested in finding out more about the next Street Store in Johannesburg or who would like to become involved or even run their own Street Store, can visit https://www.thestreetstore.org/ or the Street Store Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/thestreetstoreorg/) for all the upcoming events.