Photo courtesy of Jonathan+Olivia.
The This is West Queen West S.O.S. clothing drive is probably the best thing to happen to your once-beloved last season designer clothing that's gently stowed away in your closet for, uh, safekeeping. From Monday April 22 to April 28, Jonathan+Olivia boutique is asking shoppers to bring in their gently used designer duds to benefit CAMH’s Suits Me Fine program, which provides clothing for patients to wear on job interviews. In return for donating your much-loved pieces, Jonathan+Olivia is offering 10 per cent shopping discounts to be used during the week of the drive.We chatted with Jackie O'Brien, owner of Jonathan+Olivia, about the importance of hosting next week's drive, and in leading by fashionable example, the fabulous piece she's donating to the cause. How did the idea of a shopping event in support of CAMH come about? "The CAMH foundation initially approached us to donate clothing to the Suits Me Fine Boutique program, due to the brands and collections available at Jonathan+Olivia, and also because we were one of the pioneering stores in the neighbourhood. We sat down, threw some ideas around and came up with the idea of a clothing drive with a distinct type of clothing in mind. The idea then developed into inviting other West Queen West pioneers like Ruth (Fresh), Frank + Jeremy Laing and Richard (Parts and Labour) to host the event with us. With all of our friends and supporters combined, we could really make a difference." What's considered appropriate attire to donate—for both ladies and gents? "What we don't want is jersey. We want attire that's perhaps a little out of fashion or you just don't wear it any more. We need clothing that will help the patients of CAMH, a great example is clothing for a job interview or a wedding." Read on to find out which fab piece Jackie will be donating! Do you have one special piece in mind that you'll be donating personally? Jackie: "My favourite piece is my Alexander Wang black cardigan." Nic Jones, creative consultant at Jonathan+Olivia: "A fantastic white Raf Simons shirt." This event is a great example of fashion giving back, so to speak. Why is it important for Jonathan+Olivia to participate in this initiative? "We realized a long time ago that a store should be more than a simple exchange of product for currency. It should be part of a community, and Ossington is ours. Events like this or our J+O FAMILY project for Sick Kids or the in-store events we hold are our way of giving something back." Do you have a goal in mind for the amount of clothing items you'd like to be donated by the end of the week? "No, I think whatever we can give should be applauded and viewed as a positive action, but let's hope we really make a difference!" Why do you think that this will be an important initiative for J+O shoppers as well? How do you plan on encouraging people to donate throughout the week? "We live in a very impersonal world, in spite of technology connecting us, people tend to get on with their own lives and be a bit oblivious to the world outside. This clothing drive gives everyone, ourselves included, to make a difference and feel part of a community effort, and believe me, it's a nice feeling. J+O will be offering a 10 per cent discount during the week of the clothing drive to customers making a purchase and donating an item of 'appropriate attire'. Given our amazing clientele we're expecting some great items to be donated. Please note, if you have other clothing, then CAMH will be more than happy to accept this." Visit the Jonathan + Olivia boutique, 49 Ossington Ave., from Monday April 22 to Sunday April 28 to participate in the clothing drive.