In order to raise money for Upstream Ottawa, public relations students sold repurposed clothing in a temporary thrift store. (Pictured left to right) Emily Grinnell, Erik WIlson, Jack Beeston, Holly Szabo and James Schleihauf Photo credit: Stephen Priel

Algonquin College’s public relations students hosted a pop-up thrift store on April 3 to collect funds for the Upstream Ottawa Foundation, which focuses on mental health and addictions.

The thrift store offered students used clothing and accessories, with the most expensive item being 20 dollars.

PR students chose a thrift store because it was the easiest to pull off and because it is popular among students. This is according to Jack Beeston, a public relations student who was dubbed the “man in charge” of setting up this second-hand shop.

“We realized it would be the easiest to throw and probably the most successful as well because the buying and selling of used goods has boomed recently we’ve noticed. We did trend research and looked into the statistics and we really think it’s the best way to do it,” said Beeston.

Renée Jewer-Pineau looks for her newest shirt to add to her closet.
Renée Jewer-Pineau looks for a shirt to add to her closet. Photo credit: Stephen Priel

Dylan Martyn, a graphic design student, proved Beeston’s research true. Martyn said he visited the second-hand store because it was nearby and because he is a big fashion fan who likes the idea of repurposed clothing.

“It was pretty close to where I was and I’m a big fashion head,” said Martyn.

Students’ attraction to retro materials also applies to fashion, Martyn said.

“The same reason other older things are appealing, you have people who collect vinyl even though everything is digital now. It’s just an acquired taste and especially with clothing a lot of people like to dress as a way of expression and some people are into that kind of clothing and want to send that message,” said Martyn.

PR students were given the task of creating a campaign and selecting a cause to assist. They decided to aid those dealing with mental health and addiction challenges. As a result, they came up with the moniker Concurring The Current.

The title was picked because it relates to the name of the organization they chose to support (Upstream Ottawa Foundation) and it was a creative way of describing how people conquer mental health and addiction struggles.

Another student in the public relations program, James Schleihauf, said that because mental health problems can not be seen, they are often overlooked and are thought to have less of an impact on people’s wellbeing.

“I think it’s something that is a lot harder to see, whereas your physical health, you’re injured, and people can see it and there are obvious ways to treat that. With mental health, because you can’t see it, there is the stigma around it and people can be very dismissive if they haven’t been through it,” said Schleihauf.