Once upon a time in a land far, far away (LIC) there existed a whole warehouse full of clothes. Indeed this warehouse wasn’t just filled with ordinary clothes, no. It was filled with the magical, mythical clothesmakers by the names of Marc Jacobs, Thierry Mugler, Chanel, Gucci and much, much more. What is this place, you ask? Well, Housing Works, a New York institution, processes all of its fantabulous donations in this deceptively ordinary building. The resident style maven, Coco, tells us more about why and how she found herself here:
Coco with a Giovanni Ravello
FMMH: How long have you been with Housing Works and why have you stayed so long?
COCO: Ive been here here since 2000, and you know why I’m still here–all of these fabulous clothes. This will grab anyone’s attention. Who would think there was a job like this, where you could just be in your own closet everyday and play.
FMMH: What major designers have you seen come in and out of here?
COCO: Everybody. If they’re not here, they’re nobody. We get everybody from Balenciaga to Blass, Gucci, Halston, Krizia.
FMMH: What about the more contemporary lines?
COCO: We get those too. We get Milly, Zac Posen, Marchesa, We get everything! It’s just amazing the things that people donate.
FMMH: Where do most of the donations come from?
COCO: Customers. Better donations are corporate or come from the showrooms and they donate really fabulous stuff. We get some donors who donate their wardrobe because they can afford to shop the collections and seasons. once the beginning of the next season comes we get a whole wardrobe.
Coco with Pucci
FMMH: What would you say is the most amazing piece you’ve seen come in here?
COCO: The Tom Ford donation was pretty amazing. It was his last collection for Gucci, which is a collector’s dream, knowing that he left at the height of his career and that it was the last collection that he did for Gucci.
FMMH: Did he donate it himself?
COCO: Gucci donated it for him–they were cleaning house and we got a lot of nice pieces.
Also, the Yves Saint Laurent collection that we got from a donor who collected YSL for years. Her daughter donated it all.
FMMH: When you go through these clothes and sort them, how do you decide which Housing Works thrift shop get what? Is it based on event? Location?
COCO: Well, I send clothes out based on events such as Housing Works fall previews, spring previews, holiday previews and sometimes in between they will have editor’s choice events. Aything that will fit any of these events I will send some pieces to.
FMMH: What major editors have you worked with?
COCO: Andre Leon Talley, the New York Post fashion editor, the New York Times fashion editor, Robert Verdi
FMMH: Why is Housing Works associated with upscale and designer clothing?
COCO: I think because of the donations that we get, from corporate donations and the quality that we get
FMMH: What if you job were to cease to exist? What would you do?
COCO: I’d find Mr. Big and marry him. (laughs)
Racks of designer duds