The founder of a popular women’s fashion event has reflected on its impact in the community a decade after it launched inside Newcastle Basketball Stadium.
Rachel Prest, who hosted her first Raid My Wardrobe as a one-off to test the market, quickly knew it was the beginning of something bigger when more than 1,000 people rolled through the doors.
Over the past 10 years, Raid My Wardrobe has become more than just a place to buy bargain women’s fashion clothing – it’s an event that celebrates and empowers women at the same time.
It has worked alongside, and supported, a number of charities, including Uplift Bras, Dressed for Success, VOCAL, Got Your Back Sista, Lifeline, and Samaritans.
Despite juggling motherhood, pregnancies, babies, relationship breakdowns and being on the edge of burn out, Ms Prest kept reinventing herself and her business.
She had busily prepared a huge year of events for 2020 full of new locations, speaking gigs at schools, collaborations and fashion show modelling before the world shut down due to COVID-19.
“Raid My Wardrobe has been on pause ever since,” Ms Prest says.
“I’ve had to inject my personal savings to keep it afloat while applying for small business grants.
“I’m so passionate about the power and importance of recycled fashion shopping and how super fun and addictive it is, plus all the women the event and charities support, so it will take more than COVID to take Raid My Wardrobe out.
“[It] isn’t just about the fashion – it’s about the experience, the people, the smiling faces, the laughter, the shrills of excitement, the connection.”
Ms Prest says lock down saw many women declutter and downsize their wardrobes and, each week, she received enquiries for stall bookings at her next event.
She hopes that, as restrictions begin to lift and life goes back to a new ‘normal’, Sunday 18 October may become a realistic date for the event’s relaunch.
“So, watch this space. Raid My Wardrobe will be back in some capacity this year to celebrate women and have fun while taking care of Mother Nature,” she says.