Consciously clothing community outfit outgrows its space

Publish Date : 05 Dec 2023
Koha Apparel
Looking for space - Koha Apparel

In today’s frenzied world with its focus on fast-fashion, for some it’s about shopping like a billionaire, for others it’s purely about staying warm.

For the latter, Koha Apparel is there to help. Established in 2019, the non-profit provides clean and quality clothing for those in need, while focusing on the major challenge of diverting textile from landfill.

The organisation was recently awarded an accommodation grant for 2023/2024 from Albert-Eden Local Board to assist with the lease at its Mt Albert base.

“This is an initiative that the local board is very passionate about and is keen to support where we can,” says board chair Margi Watson.
“Keeping clothing in circulation aligns with our local climate action priorities as well as the council’s vision for zero waste by 2040,” she says.


Shoppers rummaging through Koha Apparel's clothing racks at Auckland Central Market

Koha Apparel at Auckland Central market

The lean, non-profit machine runs 15 clothing pop-up services per month throughout Tāmaki Makaurau, providing access to second-hand clothing to about 1,000 people weekly.

It’s also a third-party distributor of clothing donations for various charitable and community organisations. Clothing is collected or sent by courier to its partners to assist communities further afield.

Koha Apparel founder Charli Cox explains, “We know that material deprivation increases risk of poor health outcomes.

“Our organisation is committed to enabling improved life opportunities for those within our community by providing quality clothing. This can improve outcomes for attaining housing or work opportunities and helps increase the dignity of our people and social inclusion.”

Clothing being repaired at Koha Apparel

Repairs in action at Koha Apparel

From uplifting communities to upsizing operations space

While the Mount Albert space is affordable and serves its purpose well, Koha Apparel’s operations is outgrowing its 98 metres squared premise on New North Road.

Koha Apparel’s hub in Mount Albert houses clothing donations and provides a location where volunteers sort, launder and repair clothing to distribute to pop-up locations.

The hub also hosts monthly repair workshops where the public can walk in with garments to be mended and provides a retail space for second-hand clothing to be sold at affordable prices.

The growing organisation requires more space with plenty of foot traffic, that’s secure and within the city centre or fringe suburbs. With limited funding, vacant properties across the central area are unaffordable for the not-for-profit.

“The aim is to further develop our small, but important space and community. This includes expanding the operational support at our Mount Albert location, but also our store and repair workshops, eventually with sewing classes”, says Cox.

“We want to extend ongoing discussions with the local community and beyond on consumption practices and encourage customers to make ethical and sustainable fashion choices.”

Get in touch

Know someone who can help or want to contribute? Contact Charli Cox

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