Jay Jamieson was a big student, had to get clothes from adults and paid a price for it.
After all, what one wears to school can be a touchy subject for kids.
“I got bullied because of my clothes,” he says.
At the same time, as Jamieson says, he doesn’t have a lot of money for clothes. When the Grade 11 student at Glacier View was still at Lake Trail Community School a few years ago, he came up with the idea of having a pop-up free clothing shop where students can choose some clothes, whichever ones they want.
“I liked the idea of people being able to get whatever they want for free,” he says.
There’s also a recycling component to this, of course, which is part of why the free clothing shop was held in conjunction with Earth Day activities on Friday.
“It’s really silly how much people throw away,” Jamieson says.
After a couple of years of putting the plan on hold due to COVID restrictions, the idea became a reality. On Friday, Jamieson was back at Lake Trail to help organize a free shop and repair cafe. The event was held for the students during the day. Then, from 3:15 to 7 p.m., anyone could drop by the school to look for some clothes they might like — and to which they could give a little more life.
The repair cafe component dovetailed naturally with the shop idea, as some people handy with a thread were on hand to help restore clothing items.
“We wanted to add a little something else to it,” says Jamieson, who worked with Tina Willard-Stepan, the environmental educator from Comox Strathcona Waste Management, on the event.
“We started this project three years ago, when I was a student here,” he says. “We both liked repurposing textiles.”
Things went on hold for the couple of years, but a few months back, it became a good time to start some firm planning. From there, they, along with Lake Trail leadership students, worked to raise donations, put up posters at businesses in downtown Courtenay and line up some second-hand clothes for Lake Trail.
“We put the word out and told people to just drop off donations,” Jamieson says.
He was pleased by the response, especially from the students during the day. For some, it was a chance to pick out some clothes on their own, without a parent around on a shopping trip, so they could come up with something that’s definitely to their tastes. For Jamieson, the choice leans toward the tropical.
“I’m not really into style,” he says. “I’m really into Hawaiian shirts.”