Jay Jamieson was a big student, had to get clothes from adults and paid the price.
After all, what you wear to school can be a touchy subject for kids.
“I was bullied because of my clothes,” he says.
At the same time, as Jamieson says, he doesn’t have much money for clothes. When the Grade 11 student from Glacier View was still at Lake Trail Community School a few years ago, he came up with the idea of having a free clothing store where students can choose clothes, the ones they they want.
“I liked the idea that people could get whatever they wanted for free,” he says.
There’s also a recycling component to this, of course, which is part of why the free clothing store was held in conjunction with Earth Day activities on Friday.
“It’s really silly to see all the stuff people throw away,” says Jamieson.
After a few years of the plan being put 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 students during the day. Then, from 3:15 p.m. to 7 p.m., everyone could drop by the school to look for clothes that they might like — and to which they could give a little more life.
The repair café component naturally fit into the idea of the shop, as handy people with wire were on hand to help restore the clothes.
“We wanted to add a little something to it,” says Jamieson, who worked with Comox Strathcona Waste Management environmental educator Tina Willard-Stepan at the event.
“We started this project three years ago when I was a student here,” he says. “We both liked to reuse textiles.”
Things have been hanging in the balance for a few years, but a few months ago it became a good time to start some firm planning. From there, along with the Lake Trail Leadership Students, they worked to collect donations, put up posters at businesses in downtown Courtenay, and line up used clothing for Lake Trail.
“We spread the word and told people to just drop in donations,” says Jamieson.
He was delighted with the response, especially from the students during the day. For some, it was a chance to pick out clothes on their own, without a parent on a shopping trip, so they could find something that was definitely to their liking. For Jamieson, the choice leans towards the tropical.
“I’m not really into style,” he says. “I really love Hawaiian shirts.”