#MakeChange: Retail therapy for the homeless

The Street Store extends the popular pop-up store trend onto the pavement to give homeless people the joy of shopping. For free.

Part of the Project

Billed as “the world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free pop-up clothing store for the poor", The Street Store not only provides clothing to the homeless – it gives them a sense of humanity and individuality. This is because the people who "shop" at The Street Store choose their own garments, style them together as they like and take them all home mahala (for free). For many of the shoppers, it is the first time they’ll have had the opportunity to choose an outfit for themselves.

The Street Store was first opened in 2014 in Cape Town by Max Pazak and Kayli Levitan in partnership with The Haven Night Shelter and M&C Saatchi Abel. As homelessness isn't a South African problem, they made the files to create the promotional materials for the store open-source.

To date The Street Store has spread to 160 locations, held most recently in Accra and Islamabad, Pakistan.

The idea behind The Street Store is a simple one: “Curators” apply to host The Street Store and a Dropbox link with a how-to guide and access to all of The Street Store designs for the marketing materials and t-shirts is made available.

A call for donors to drop clothes off at a location is advertised and then the organisers hang the clothes up and display the shoes so the homeless people in various cities may browse the goods easily.

The clothes are hung up on cardboard hangers specially designed for The Street Store. The hangers are available to download freely from the open source files on a website set up for the purpose.

The Street Store is an initiative that recognises that people want to #makechange but often don’t know how. With this initiative, it’s as simple as taking the pledge to host The Street Store in your city.