Thrift Up is a proposed non-profit event created for the Design for the Public Good course at Tyler School of Art & Architecture This pop-up thrift exchange event doubles as a fundraiser and supply drive for Women Against Abuse, Philadelphia’s leading domestic violence advocate and service provider.
Women Against Abuse was founded in 1976 as a part-time hotline in a women’s center, and has since become one of the country’s largest domestic violence agencies. WAA provides a broad range of services, including issuing short and long-term shelter, legal representation, community education, and outreach, public policy advocacy, case management, and more.
A Closer Look at the Organization Women Against Abuse is Philadelphia’s leading advocate against domestic violence, and even with the abundance of effective resources they’re able to provide, the organization still struggles to keep up with unrelenting demand.
The organization’s programming stands to benefit from increased funds, and tackling the problem of domestic violence at a grassroots level will require new dialogues with the broader Philadelphia community.
The Story Behind Thrift Up… From the very onset of the brainstorming process, I was hoping for an event that would not only spread awareness but would produce something tangible to benefit the organization and the individuals in its protection. While trying to consider what some of those immediate needs might be, a few key resources came to mind: funds, shelter, and supplies.
Earlier this spring, I watched a Netflix mini-series called Maid, which follows a young mother escaping an abusive relationship. During her stay at an emergency shelter, she is introduced to a “boutique,” where everything from clothes to shoes, to household essentials and toys, was made available to these women free of cost. Having the freedom to choose clothing and belongings for themselves, and gaining a rare sense of normalcy from the simulated act of shopping, allowed domestic violence victims to regain lost parts of their identity and redeem feelings of independence. This scene came to mind while I was drafting this project.
It was apparent during the research process that many domestic violence victims leave dangerous situations suddenly; sometimes, with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Chances are high that they are at a financial disadvantage, have nowhere to go that will provide for them, or both. With all of these factors in mind, I started digging deeper into the idea of an essential supply drive — but what about this would appeal to the public?
Upcycling and thrifting clothing is a hot topic of conversation right now, especially among younger audiences. It’s cheap, sustainable, and exciting. And so, the idea of a mutually beneficial, pop-up thrift exchange — open to both the public and to the DV survivors who might benefit from it most — came to be.
Reflections and Final Thoughts Thrift Up was an immensely rewarding project for me. On one hand, designing specifically for an event was something new — planning each logistic with a purpose while managing the bigger picture at the same time was a challenge it took some adjusting to.
But more importantly, it felt amazing to design for a cause I felt passionate about. Even though Thrift Up is completely hypothetical, I felt very invested in doing the research and pulling it off properly. The subject matter felt heavy, even exhausting to work with at times, but it put a lot of things into perspective for me. I’m very grateful to have the privilege of designing an event, hypothetical or not, that might ease some of the pressure on survivors of domestic violence, and I’m looking forward to seeing where else I can go with non-profit oriented design.
See the entire case study for Thrift Up at: https://medium.com/tylergaid/thrift-up-8e1427f5722f