Tuesday 20 October, 2020

Back on the Rack is Kingston’s best kept secret

Scores of patrons start their Saturday morning thrifting experience at 28 Collins Green, the home of Back on the Rack.

Scores of patrons start their Saturday morning thrifting experience at 28 Collins Green, the home of Back on the Rack.

For many, Saturday nights are lit and all, but why not start your month-end Saturdays with a bit of retail therapy?

Kingston’s best-kept secret is Back on the Rack (BOTR) - a monthly thrifters paradise. And, the only thing better than thrifting on a Saturday morning is getting an outfit for Saturday night and shopping for a worthy cause.

BOTR started at least 18 years ago as an annual event. At the time, there weren't any other thrifting events of its kind on The Rock. 

“The first one went incredibly well and we almost sold out. We realised we could get donations from shops at the end of the season. A lot of the clothes we sell are completely unused and still have the tags on,” Stewart stated as she started on the biggest misconception about the event.

Highlights from the last staging of Back on the Rack

What started out as an annual gathering quickly became a monthly do. “We’re now at the point where we can make hundreds of thousands in donations to the Missionaries of the Poor’s food programme.”

Indeed, donations and volunteerism keep the BOTR vehicle humming. Shoppers love the fact that they can get so much for so little and make an event out of their Saturday mornings.

Stewart, a Montego Bay resident, travels to Kingston for the last six days of every month to chorale the team and execute plans for the upcoming event. Last month’s staging was packed, partly due to closure in July for renovation.

With all this rain, thankfully, a partnership with the ATL Automotive Group facilitated a timely re-roofing.

The biggest attraction, which is a bric-a-brac of sorts, is the household department with items ranging from clocks to electronics, and figurines to paper doilies. “We have [several] departments:  Menswear; a $100 special sale section; Boutique for high-end pieces; a Denim department; a warm wear section — popular with patrons who are travelling abroad; a tent for linens, and a $50 Ben' Down area. But, people come in and they rush to the household section,” Stewart shared with LOOP Lifestyle.

Internationally, thrifting is a major trend in sustainable fashion, which gained popularity in 2013 with the Ryan Lewis & Macklemore hit Thrift Shop. Thrifting promotes sustainability in fashion through the re-use (read recycling) of garments before they deteriorate. It is a pocket-friendly alternative to purchasing high-end designer duds.

Additionally, thrifting allows for less clothing in landfills and fewer production which results in less wasted resources. In turn a reduction in pollution.

Things to know about BOTR:

It is based entirely on volunteers’ availability and nobody gets paid whatsoever.  

The sole purpose of BOTR is to make regular donations to the Missionaries of the Poor food programme.

Some days are better than others, but as Stewart mentioned, “it always works itself out”.

It is fun for the entire family; there's even a kid's section too.

Fathers from the Missionaries of the Poor provide music and refreshments.

Back on the Rack takes place every last Saturday, from 9 am to 2 pm.

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