Using fashion for positive change

Chic Mamas Boutique in Hout Bay.

A second-hand clothing boutique in Hout Bay has managed to make more than just a fashion statement in the community by helping those in need.

Chic Mamas Do Care is a clothing boutique where people come in to donate and shop inside the store.

Once a month, they host a “Swap4Charity” initiative at which people receive tokens for their good quality items, which can be redeemed for future sales.

Manager of the store and trustee of the Chic Mamas Trust, Margerett Macfarlane, said it’s a “win-win” environment for the community who stand to benefit from the funds raised.

“We are passionate about what we are doing. We appreciate each and every item people bring in, we believe in sustainable fashion and also the need for education intervention,” she said.

To date, Chic Mamas Do Care has already donated R6.7 million towards educational projects in some of Cape Town’s most impoverished areas.

The store was established in 2010 as a registered non-profit organisation, started at the home of founder, Abigel Sheridan, with monthly fashion exchange parties.

In 2011, they launched the Hout Bay store. In the Hout Bay area, they currently support projects at Hangberg Pre-Primary, Sentinel Primary School, Amoyo, Intle Art, and Kronendal Music Academy, among others.

Ms Macfarlane explained the reasoning behind the name Chic Mamas Do Care: “The name refers to the ‘mamas’ who look after the children in her community. We are all ‘mamas’ who care. And just because we love to look nice and are chic, it does not mean we don’t care. That’s how the name enforces that we do care.”

The first project the store supported was the “Edutrainer” initiative by the Brightkid Foundation, which is a classroom in a refurbished shipping container, delivered in 2011 to a needy pre-school in the Vrygrond community.

Ms Macfarlane said Chic Mamas Do Care took a special interest in supporting educational projects.

“The best and most fulfilling act is when we support a particular educational project and we see the result or the growth of that project and the input it made to many many lives. We believe each child has the right to quality education,” said Ms Macfarlane, who won a Business Woman of the Year award in 1992.

“We have to do something about the fact that about
78% of 10-year-olds cannot read with understanding in South Africa, in any language. That shocking fact is enough to call us to act.”

Chic Mamas Do Care recently donated R10 000 towards Sentinel Primary School in Hangberg and a further R5 000 to Kronendal Music Academy in Hout Bay.

The organisation comprises of a team of volunteers, present in four different locations.

To find out more about Chic Mamas Do Care, visit their
Facebook page or their website for updates on these events. You can find them at www.chicmamasdocare.org.za