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Q&A: Noreen Sibanda

Please tell us a little about yourself. (Name, background, and any relevant personal details you’d like to share)

My name is Noreen Sibanda, I was born in Zimbabwe and have been in Canada for 20 years. I am a therapist sessional instructor, mother, sister, auntie, and daughter. I usually describe shopping as a sport as I love to shop- home goods and especially clothing.

How did you hear about From My Sista’s Closet (FMSC) and the WAWT brunch? What were your initial thoughts when you learned about the concept of From My Sista’s Closet?

I heard about FMSC from Dayirai and then on the WAAT community hub. The concept of my sister’s closet was a no-brainer for me. Growing up with two sisters, I was used to “shopping’ in their closets and at times right from their bodies.

What was your experience like at the WAWT brunch?  How did being part of the FMSC’s soft launch event feel?

It felt natural and easy. There is no shame in taking from a sister especially knowing that they had previously loved the clothing item and I was giving it another life. Have you seen the WAWT women dressed- these are the closets to find treasures.

Can you describe your experience with the gifting closet as a giver and/or receiver? What items did you give, and what stories are attached to them? What items did you pick, and how do they fit into your wardrobe and life?

I donated 2 dresses and a skirt. The first dress was a one-time wear for me because it was a little tight on me. The other dress had been in my closet since 2014. I went to a wedding in it and went on vacation with it. I believe someone else could love it more as I no longer gravitated towards it as much. The skirt is from an African designer- l loved it cause it had pockets – can never go wrong. I had been previously asked to donate it and I finally did

I received a black gorgeous evening gown from FMSC- I had a gala that evening and it exceeded my expectations when I finally put it on. I accessories with some shoes and a bag, and within a few minutes, I had a complete outfit.

How has receiving clothing from a community event changed your perspective on style and sustainability?

I have always liked purchasing staple items that can withstand the trends and I believe FMSC helped me realize that even when I have outgrown or out loved my staple piece, they can have another life in someone’s closet. Like the Zulu saying “induku enhle igawulwa esizweni” meaning,  “the most beautiful stick is found in foreign places”. I have learned that beauty can be affirmed in many spaces including From My Sista’s Closet.

 

How did the event make you feel in terms of community and support? Do you feel more empowered after participating in the event? If so, how?

It felt easy to just pick an item of clothing without having to worry about the price tag. I was like having a personal stylist providing you options and you didn’t have to spend hours searching through the racks. I feel empowered and am ready to engage in more exchanges.

Do you see yourself getting more involved with From My Sista’s Closet’s clothing drives in the future? What aspects of FMSC’s mission resonate most with you? (To cultivate an inclusive and sustainable fashion ecosystem that facilitates the exchange of gently used clothing among women.)

Yes, I do see myself engaging with FMSC. Reducing the shame in shared clothing resonates with me the most.

What would you like to say to other women considering participating in FMSC’s initiatives? Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for women interested in sustainable fashion?

In my culture, it is normal to share between sisters and FMSC is allowing me to extend my sister circle beyond those that I close to me and try on different styles that I would not have normally gravitated towards. Its a great way to try on the style of women that you admire- Thank you Emily!

Do you have any additional thoughts or reflections on your experience with FMSC? Do you have any suggestions for how you would like to see this initiative grow in the future?

I want to see the next generation participating in FMSC- I can no longer share clothes with my niece but through FMSC, she can still have that experience.