Live Spring Fashion 2023

Words by  Michelle Robinson
Tammi Pittwood Tammi Pittwood

How fashion is helping stop family violence.

It’s the most anticipated pre-loved fashion event of the year in Taranaki.

Kicking off with a fashion parade, followed by the opening of a pop-up clothing shop, the Taranaki Women’s Refuge has hit on a winning formula to raise funds.

Run by women for women, this year’s pop-up shop is set to have a bumper year as the reputation of the Taranaki Women’s Refuge Pop-Up Preloved Clothing Sale precedes it.

The 10 day event is the largest sustainable clothing sale in the lower North Island and is the Taranaki refuge’s biggest fundraiser, providing essential funds for services.

“What I love, more than the money it brings, is that it’s an event by women and for women,” Taranaki Women’s Refuge general manager Janice Jessiman says.

“All women should have the ability to buy beautiful clothes for a fair and reasonable price.”

Last year’s pop-up shop brought in a record $57,000 net profit, and this year’s new fundraising committee wish to trump that.

Women’s Refuge traditionally received 40 percent government funding, so fundraisers such as the pop-up shop have been relied on for day to day running costs.

The government has recently increased its support to cover most expenses, giving Taranaki Women’s Refuge the unique opportunity to help fund a programme for men wanting to make a difference as partners and fathers.

Along with other services, the income from the pop-up shop goes toward employing a male social worker for the new Aspire Men’s Programme.

“Government services cater to higher risk perpetrators of family violence, but there was nothing catering to those at the lower end of the spectrum,” Janice says.

“So we employ a male social worker for 20 hours per week and we would love to do more.

“We have had many successful referrals, it’s confidential and free.”

For the first time this year, pop-up shop community influencers – local names such as CEO of Govett-Quilliam Sophie Braggins, More FM radio DJ Anna Richardson and nutritionist Michelle Yandle – are enjoying getting behind a good cause and drumming up interest ahead of the event.

Head to the Taranaki Women’s Refuge Facebook and Instagram pages and you’ll see sneak peeks of some of the gorgeous garments on offer, as modelled by the 13 influencers, ahead of this year’s event.

Live’s own Hannah and Jaron Mumby from Favour the Brave are among them.

“Supporting this cause not only aligns with a lot of the sustainable practices Jaron and I have been trying to adopt in our lives, but it’s a whole lot of fun for a good cause,” Hannah says.

The pop up shop is in its ninth year, raising essential funds for the Taranaki refuge through the donation and sale of designer and high street women’s and men’s clothing, shoes and accessories from anywhere between $10 and $100 a pop.  

“With continued support, the community can feel good knowing we’re all doing our bit to prevent family violence in our region.” marketing and community engagement manager Rebecca Johnson says.

“Taranaki Women’s Refuge rely on this event,” visual merchandiser and stylist Gemma Alderdice adds.

Rebecca and Gemma, along with Sue Jameson and Katey Kat, comprise the new committee, giving the event more of a creative edge to maximise contributions, donations and sales.

“It’s a great opportunity to have fun with affordable fashion and push yourself out of your clothing and style boundaries, try something you might not normally wear and designer pieces you might not normally have an opportunity to purchase.” Rebecca says.

Anyone familiar with the popular shopping haul will be anticipating the buzz of lining up with friends before finding a vintage or designer bargain for around $40 to $100. 

Anyone yet to experience it is advised to dress comfortably in leggings or trackpants and tee for ease of slipping in and out of garments away from changing room queues, if need be.

And expect to hear compliments from strangers, Rebecca laughs.

“It’s a real vibe during the event. People will look around and encourage each other, saying ‘try that on’ or ‘ooh I love you in that colour’,” she says.

Shoppers travel from as far as Auckland or Wellington to attend the event. Organisers have even heard of a woman who plans her family visits from South Africa around the time of the shop.

“An important part of the pop-up shop is getting our face out into the community,” Taranaki Women’s Refuge relationships manager Shona Smith says. 

“It’s important we have a presence in the community, so we are more accessible to women who have misplaced feelings of shame or of fear or self-doubt about asking for help.”

The year ending December 2022 saw the Taranaki Women’s Refuge receive 5336 police reports, 1839 calls to the crisis line, 317 bed nights at the safe house and 31 home security upgrades.

“We hear a lot of stories at the pop-up shop events, people come forward and thank us for having helped them in the past,” Shona says.

“So many people have stories, everyone knows someone who has been effected by Domestic Violence.”

The Taranaki Women’s Refuge Pop Up Shop opens at Le Mer Lounge at the New Plymouth Raceway on Friday October 6th with a ticketed VIP opening night from 6pm – 7.30pm. 

The pop up shop runs from 9am – 5pm from Saturday 7th until Monday 16th  October, entry is free.

Share this