By Valeria Donoso ‘22, Abigail Santiago ‘22 and Charlotte Berl ‘22
Fits For Change (@fits.for.change) is an initiative created by Valeria Donoso ‘22, Abigail Santiago ‘22, and Charlotte Berl ‘22 to redistribute wealth through organizations that are doing transformative work among BIPOC communities. We sell second hand clothing at low prices for monetary donations which amplify and support BIPOC organizations while promoting sustainable fashion with the intention of decreasing the negative impact fast fashion has on our environment. To us, Fits For Change is a reminder of the fact that the fast fashion industry enforces racism, not only by having women of color work under inhumane conditions, but also by contributing to pollution, unnecessary water usage, and consumerist values. We personally do not have the means to donate as much as we would like to in order to support those fighting for basic human rights; therefore, Fits For Change provides us a way of doing so regularly while also working against fast fashion. Since its founding, we have donated to Black Transwomen Inc., Davidson Community Fund, and Know Your IX. As we move forward as an organization, we hope to expand so that we can continue to donate to the organizations and people we want to support.
Wearing clothes from Fits For Change is an artistic protest for basic human rights. We use our voice to educate and encourage individuals to express themselves and their views with our clothing, and it has broadened the connection between art and social change. But using art to leverage social change is nothing new. Art from people like Frida Kahlo, Banksy, Kendrick Lamar, Picasso, and Billie Holiday has driven and continues to drive the transformation of our society with its voice and vulnerability. Using fashion and education, Fits For Change uplifts and highlights organizations that are already out there who work to fill-in the gaps that our inequitable system has created. The organizations we highlight receive 100% of the proceeds from our sales, but our buyers are also educated about the effects of racist systems and the people/organizations that want to change those systems.
For me, starting Fits for Change was a chance to work at the intersection of two things I am passionate about. I have been passionate about the environment for a while and have worked on numerous projects looking at the impact of our consumption on the environment — specifically centered around fast fashion. Fits for Change allows us to work at and educate on this intersection of work — how can we, as consumers of fashion, work to curb the effects of fashion waste, as well as use our dollars in a way that is meaningful and tangible? I am someone who is deeply interested in fashion, and seeing how fashion can be such a liberating experience for some and also a very limiting experience for others has opened my eyes. I believe that Fits For Change, although we are technically not creating or producing new art, works to play into fashion as liberation, while working to get rid of some of the barriers that come with fashion, specifically slow fashion, such as price and accessibility.
I’m not going to pretend Fits for Change is creating some sort of huge cultural shift, even within the Davidson community. I think part of the reason that our project has been successful is because of the fast fashion industry. While we are looking to sell clothing in a sustainable way, the reason we’re successful is because people have been taught to continuously want new clothing at cheap prices. We don’t think about the labor and human or environmental impact. However, as members of this system, we are doing our best to use it to our advantage. So the “cultural shift” that we’re working towards is about changing mindset. I hope this challenges people with the financial flexibility to think about the companies they are buying from and how they are impacting the community around them. To me, Fits for Change is an active process of educating ourselves, acknowledging that the work we have to do within ourselves to change our mindsets and our lifestyles is only just starting.
We are excited to continue to grow Fits for Change and to give more to different orgs that are doing great work. We hope to get as many Davidson students involved as possible.
Valeria Donoso ‘22 (she/her) is a Biology major on the Pre-Med track from Miami, FL. Abigail Santiago ‘22 (she/her) is a Computer Science Major from Miami, FL. Charlotte Berl ‘22 (she/her) is a Computer Science Major, Environmental Studies Minor from Middletown, DE. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.