The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Fashion finds its second act

Drama department hosts its first “New Year, New Me” thrift store fundraiser
Freshman Celene Chen browses through clothes in the sweaters and jackets section. Photo courtesy of Sophia D’Sa, Jillian Ju and Shannon Yu

The MVHS Drama Department held a “New Year, New Me” fundraiser on Wednesday, Feb. 2 during brunch, lunch and after school in the auditorium. This event, mainly organized by senior Naomi Mhamunkar with assistance from Drama and Literature teacher Hannah Gould, raised funds for the drama department by selling donated clothing. Students visited the auditorium to thrift a wide variety of garments, from windbreakers to baseball caps.

Mhamunkar started organizing this event five months ago in September. Going into the project, her main motivation was to promote reusability of clothing — a nod to her long standing passion for fashion.

“Every piece of clothing has its own story and soul to it,” Mhamunkar said. “For example, your prom dress carries so many happy memories — getting ready together with your friends, taking cute pictures and things like that. To see it only be worn one time and then be thrown away is so sad. My goal for the fundraiser was any clothing you believe could still be loved by another person could be bought instead of rotting in the landfill.”

Beyond just sentiment, Mhamunkar recognizes the importance of recycling clothing with the recent rise of fast fashion and, in turn, sweatshops. As a South Asian herself, the issue of sweatshops resonates with her as she recognizes that she could have been unfortunate enough to be born into one. Mhamunkar advocates for thrifting in order to take some of the burden off of these fast fashion workers. By pricing the garments in her event lower than that of those produced by sweatshops, she hopes students will choose “New Year, New Me” over shopping for fast fashion.

When Mhamunkar first pitched “New Year, New Me,” she ran into issues with getting the idea approved by administration due to the concerns about the sanitation of donated clothes. According to Mhamunkar, in the early stages of organization, she received administrative pushback and complaints from staff and district jurisdiction. It took a sit down with all of the district principals, time, negotiation and deliberation for the approval and continuation of Mhamunkar’s fundraiser.

“To abide by health and hygiene standards, I made sure to deal with any pieces of clothing that I felt were unsafe for sale,” Mhamunkar said. “I either threw it away completely or, if I thought it could have been salvaged, I used a special disinfectant spray and quarantined them in plastic bags. I really wanted to make sure as much clothing got on the market as possible.”

Mhamunkar checks out purchased clothes for sophomore Alex Sharma at the checkout table. Photo courtesy of Sophia D’Sa, Jillian Ju and Shannon Yu

Due to the complications with administration, Gould herself was close to giving up. Hence, she praises Mhamunkar’s individual persistence in getting this fundraiser through administrative approval despite the seemingly endless setbacks.

“I said to her: ‘I’m not sure if I can help you with this one,’” Gould said. “But Naomi really doubled down on it and tried very, very hard to address every single one of the concerns from administration, and communicated a lot to make sure that we could move forward in a way that made everybody comfortable.”

The process of getting the fundraiser up and running after administrative approval was not easy either, according to Mhamunkar and Gould. The department started advertising three weeks before the event over school announcements and emails sent to the student body, contacting teachers and administration to promote both the event and to ask for donations. After persistent efforts, Mhamunkar was able to get ample amounts of clothing for the fundraiser, attributing the success to convenience.

“The issue with a lot of people is that they have put things they want to throw away, but Goodwill is so far away and they do not have the time or the energy to drive there,” Mhamunkar said. “Having it be an on-campus fundraiser, where it’s just one extra step in the morning, is much more convenient.”

However, a more difficult hurdle to overcome was recruiting volunteers to work for the event, said Gould. To resolve this lack of manpower, she urged her drama students to sign up as volunteers, as it was an opportunity to help out the department, but she and Mhamunkar still struggled finding volunteers for an after-school shift.

“We were definitely advertising,” Mhamunkar said. “It’s just hard to let the entire school know about a fundraiser that might not pertain to their interests or passions.”

Furthermore, a flood in the Black Box due to recent rainy weather forced Mhamunkar to move the event into the auditorium instead, which introduced several time conflicts with course selection presentations and other Drama department rehearsals. According to Gould, these time conflicts required coordination and effort, but the event was ultimately able to remain as previously scheduled.

Despite these challenges, Gould said the result

Junior Sophie Minogue tries on second-hand clothes with her friends. Photo courtesy of Sophia D’Sa, Jillian Ju and Shannon Yu

s exceeded their expectations. Especially with “New Year, New Me” being one of the department’s first fundraisers, she did not think there would be as many clothing donations and as many people supporting the fundraisers.

“The first shoppers were actually staff members from the office who came in to shop on their break,” Gould said. “That was so sweet because they were super positive about it and really admiring the clothes. They thought it was really great, and there was a lot of positive feedback from staff.”

Not only was the fundraiser well-received by staff members, but students were also able to find pieces that matched their aesthetic and caught their eye. According to fundraiser supporter and sophomore Lauren Moore, the event was very well organized, from the neatly folded clothes to the checkout system.

“Honestly, I was expecting there to be nothing good, but there were some really nice pieces and some of them were really cute,” Moore said.

Moore came to the fundraiser to support her friends in drama after seeing the advertisement posters all around the school. She walked out of the fundraiser with a black and pink windbreaker.

Although they did not solidify a formal goal in terms of funds, Gould was nonetheless surprised with the support from staff and students, especially those like Moore who already knew about the department and the recent flood. The funds from thrifters such as Moore, who came to support the department, help offset the cost of drama productions, which is beneficial since the school does not provide their budget. 

However, this event not only invites old supporters like Moore but also increases exposure for the drama department — a way to advertise.

“A lot of people who don’t necessarily come to our productions and people who aren’t involved in drama heard about it and they showed up for it,” Gould said. “That is a really great thing, because that means that more people might consider signing up for Drama.”

Mhamunkar agrees with the fundraiser’s success, as it contributed heavily to repairing the Black Box after the flood; however, she also puts relatively light emphasis on the financial aspects of it. Instead, she hopes people can take away the message and purpose of “New Year, New Me.”

Freshmen Angela Poon and Grace Lin shop for tops in the t-shirt section of the thrift shop. (Yixuan (Joyce) Li)

“I had no set expectations going in,” Mhamunkar said. “I did not want to be let down or have any negative emotions attached to it. I was really hoping that it wouldn’t just be the money for me, but more so that people can understand the importance of secondhand fashion and what it can really do for the environment. The money was just a bonus to help with the flooding issues that we have had with the drama department.”

“New Year, New Me” sets the stage as one of the drama department’s first fundraisers, but it definitely is not going to be one of the last, according to Gould.

“This was so successful that I could absolutely see it turning into an annual thing,” Gould said. “Naomi is going to graduate this year, but this is a fantastic legacy that she is leaving behind. Someone else could pick up the reins and use the information that she gathered and with the channels that she opened up through admin.”

About the Contributors
Yixuan (Joyce) Li
Yixuan (Joyce) Li, Staff Writer
Joyce is currently a sophomore and a staff writer for El Estoque. When she's not busy meeting deadlines or looking up cat breeds she's less likely to be allergic to, she enjoys playing her violin, listening to music, and writing.
Aletheia Ju
Aletheia Ju, Staff Writer
Aletheia is currently a sophomore and a staff writer for El Estoque. During her free time she likes to read, play the piano, and draw. She also likes to waste time watching video essays.
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