Front Desk New York December 2009 : Page 28

FrontDesk / December 2009 WHAT’S HOT How to Buy Happiness When the purchase of a new Prada purse or YSL dress helps the homeless, everybody wins BY JULIE ALVIN/ PHOTOGRAPHY BY EVAN SUNG During the holiday season, most people want to give back in some way. This is why we love the new Nolita boutique Use Your Head: Shop for a Cause, which sells high-end designer goods and deluxe vintage clothing, and 100 percent of profi ts go directly to A.C.E., a charity that aids homeless people who are looking to get back into the workforce. Believe us when we say this isn’t your typical musty resale shop—the selection of donated clothing and accessories generally comes fromNewYork’s society ladies and It-girls (Winston Churchill’s granddaughter Celia Sandys is a frequent donator), but the store also sells never-worn pieces donated by designers like Donna Karan,Marc Jacobs, Rachel Roy, Prada and NicoleMiller, who regularly contribute overstock fromtheir current collections. Youmight fi nd a vintage gold Oscar de la Renta skirt from the 1970s, or a brand-new Rachel Roy jumpsuit with the tags still on. (The shop is already a favorite among the local models and boho-chic chicks who love to pair vintage with haute couture.) “People just love the concept,” says Jennifer Joyce, the Executive of Retail for the SoHo Partnership, which works with A.C.E. “At this time of year, when people are tired of the excess of charity galas and writing big checks, this is a way everyone can help. You can donate gently used clothing or you can just buy something, and both ways you are giving to a charity.” 28

How to Buy Happiness

Julie Alvin

When the purchase of a new Prada purse or YSL dress helps the homeless, everybody wins<br /> <br /> During the holiday season, most people want to give back in some way. This is why we love the new Nolita boutique Use Your Head: Shop for a Cause, which sells high-end designer goods and deluxe vintage clothing, and 100 percent of profi ts go directly to A.C.E., a charity that aids homeless people who are looking to get back into the workforce.<br /> <br /> Believe us when we say this isn’t your typical musty resale shop—the selection of donated clothing and accessories generally comes from New York’s society ladies and It-girls (Winston Churchill’s granddaughter Celia Sandys is a frequent donator), but the store also sells never-worn pieces donated by designers like Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Rachel Roy, Prada and Nicole Miller, who regularly contribute overstock from their current collections. You might fi nd a vintage gold Oscar de la Renta skirt from the 1970s, or a brand-new Rachel Roy jumpsuit with the tags still on. (The shop is already a favorite among the local models and boho-chic chicks who love to pair vintage with haute couture.)<br /> <br /> “People just love the concept,” says Jennifer Joyce, the Executive of Retail for the SoHo Partnership, which works with A.C.E. “At this time of year, when people are tired of the excess of charity galas and writing big checks, this is a way everyone can help. You can donate gently used clothing or you can just buy something, and both ways you are giving to a charity.”<br /> <br /> A. C.E is certainly a worthwhile cause. The group helps people break their cycle of homelessness by offering vocational advice, counseling, workshops in resumé writing, interviewing and work experience. Upon securing long-term employment, participants can enter Project Stay, where they gain a support network that encourages them to keep and excel in their jobs.<br /> <br /> Renee Thomas, formerly a homeless drug addict, now works for the Partnership, passing out fl yers for the boutique and sending customers into the store. She started, as many in the program do, by sweeping streets in SoHo to beautify the neighborhood and to acclimate her to working again.<br /> <br /> “The main motive of the program is to fi nd employment, so you can go along with your life and empower yourself,” says Thomas. “I’ve been clean three years now, and I don’t have the desire to use again, especially now that I have such an opportunity. I’m going back to school next year for psychology. I’m going to get as big as my dreams.” This is just the beginning for both Thomas and the store. Joyce plans to eventually expand, opening a men’s location and a furniture store. In the meantime, if you do your holiday shopping there, you might get your hands on a Phoebe Philo–era Chloe dress ($120), a silk-scarf-like Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche blouse ($45) or a neverused white leather Prada bag ($1,100). You’ll also leave feeling good about your purchase, and hopefully fi lled with inspiration to do more for worthy causes—which could be as simple as shopping more.<br /> <br />

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