St. Anthony’s and City College’s Fashion Department Organize Clothing Drive

By Natalia Bogdanov

Staff Writer

City College Image Consulting Instructor Kelly Armstrong and St. Anthony’s Free Clothing Program teamed up to bring professional attire to the Fashion Department’s Advanced Personal Styling Course and to San Francisco’s largest free clothing program.

Armstrong has been partnering with St. Anthony’s for two years and has greatly appreciated the collaboration this partnership has brought about.  “The fact that you (St. Antony’s) are allowing my students to have access to your clothing closet is a gift that continues our partnership and allows the students a service-learning experience” said Armstrong. 

This year when Armstrong found out that professional attire was low in stock at St. Anthony’s, she decided to put on a clothing drive in order to collect the clothing necessary for both her Advanced Styling class as well as the non-profit itself. 

This specific clothing drive seeks to collect professional attire at the Chinatown Center, Evans Center, and Ocean Campus. Donation Bins are also available off campus at Nordstroms, Express, Aerie, Hotel Nikko, Mark Hopkins, The Hotel Council, NEMA luxury Apartments, Don Ramon’s Mexican Restaurant, and Bmagic Bayview. 

Clothing collected will be used by students in City College’s Advanced Personal Styling course in their three-month-long project entitled “Image Makeover” to style predominantly low-income San Francisco residents for the current job market.  

The Image Makeover project provides the fashion student’s clientele with three professional outfits specifically geared toward their personality and their potential future professions, completely free of charge. One of the main goals of this project is to allow students to have hands-on experience and opportunity to develop a clientele group within the styling field.

Any professional attire that is not used for the student’s clientele will all be donated to St. Anthony’s and a private presentation of the Image Makeovers will take place on May 4 at 8 p.m. at City College’s Downtown Center. 

Unlike Goodwill, clothing services at St. Anthony’s are completely free for San Franciscans who are low-income or homeless. “The clothing that is generated through clothing drives is donated to us, and in turn, we process and quality-check the clothing, and ultimately distribute it to the over 10,000 San Franciscans that our program serves each year, including men, women, and children” Manager of the Free Clothing Program David Watterson said. 

Each year, St. Anthony’s gives out more than 36,000 articles of clothing, which comes out to more than $3 million in donations per year. “Each year, we serve nearly 2,500 children from low-income families in and around the Tenderloin, providing them with backpacks, school supplies, shoes, and of course, clothing. It’s a huge cost burden that we are able to relieve for their families” Watterson said.

St.Anthony’s is particularly aiding the Advanced Personal Styling course by making their clothing store available to students by appointments to select clothing and accessories for their clients free of charge. Upon arrival, they will begin by receiving an orientation of the store and how their Free Clothing Program operates. The personal stylists then have just 30 minutes to select 2-3 complete outfits for their clientele.

A lot of students like Haja Mondisa, who is pursuing a Fashion Styling/ Personal Styling Certificate at City College are getting very involved with this clothing drive. Mondisa works at Nordstrom in downtown San Francisco and was able to get Nordstrom involved in the clothing donations. 

“It’s crazy. I found out that Nordstrom usually donates their lost and found items to Goodwill or St. Anthony’s and Nordstrom hasn’t had them pick up anything in awhile” Mondisa said.  After being informed about this, Haja contacted St. Anthony’s and had the program pick up over 11 boxes of donations. 

After Mondisa had accomplished this, she quickly received cooperation from the Express and Aerie stores in downtown San Francisco’s Westfield mall. “My goal is to get a total of 5 stores willing to host barrels for donations,” Mondisa said. 

Fashion Department Chair, Natalie Smith said “I applaud Kelly for the extraordinary work she is doing with St. Anthony’s and her students. We’re in the midst of challenging times at CCSF, and the fact that faculty and students have turned their focus to help those in need is a beautiful testament of what makes our college community special.” 

Article updated on 4/1 to include minor corrections

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