New Collaboration: TFM x NWC Thrift

Just a few months ago, I noticed a new shop opening up amongst several beloved hair salons barbershops and the Ma Dukes chicken spot near my Harlem apartment.  The window dressing had that unmistakable feel of an old school thrift store, so I really had no choice but to go in and check out the selection. 

Over the past few months I've found great joy in stopping in to chat with the shopkeeper, Venus and the other colorful personalities that seem to stop by on the regular.  What makes this thrift store really beautiful, aside from the great selection of hidden gems (mostly women's), is the purpose behind the NWC (Neighborhood Women's Collective) Thrift Store. 

NWCThrift

Like past collaboration opportunities, I wanted to sit down with Venus in order to get a first hand understanding of how vintage clothing and the shop fit in to her organization's efforts of neighborhood empowerment.  Below is a condensed version of our conversation.

Me: It seems like just yesterday you opened up. How long have you actually been open at this location?

Venus: NWC Thrift opened up on November 5th of 2016. So, it's been a few months.

Me: What does NWC actually stand for?

Venus: NWC is short for Neighborhood Women's Collective, which is a non-profit focused on connecting social & economically challenged women with opportunities grow in those aspects of their life.  We reach out to organizations that may provide help to women of color affected by domestic violence, those that have been incarcerated and seeking a productive community outlet and also many who have affected by HIV.  What offer workshops, work experience in this store, employment training and other means of growth. 

Me: So in essence, this shop is just a part of a much larger initiative...

Venus: Yes, the thrift shop serves a few purposes.  It is a way to raise funds for our programming. We are a non-profit and we work in here on a volunteer basis. Also, the storefront is the physical hub for our growing organization.   

Me: That's such a great cause in this neighborhood and during these times.  How about you, what is your background? 

Venus:  I'm originally from Georgia, but have been in NYC for many years.  Professionally, I come from a long career in academia.  I've taught at City College as well as other institutions. 

Me: So even though you're very stylish, you don't come from a fashion background.  Where do you pull your style from and what is your favorite vintage era? 

Venus:  No, I don't come from that industry, but some of the women that source the items in the shop have spent their lives around fashion.  I'd say my style is part Afrocentric, part Business and part funky (ayy!).  My favorite era is the 20's and 30's.  The styles were so glamorous.  The cuts of the garments were just so elegant. 

If you'd like to learn more about Neighborhood Women's Collective, donate to their cause, or are interested in volunteering at the 2494 Frederick Douglass Boulevard (between 133rd & 134th Street) store, please reach out to Venus at (914) 257-3635 or visit their official website at www.neighborhoodwomenscollective.org.