In an unusual community initiative, a women’s club in Andheri has launched a ‘clothes library’ that offers to rent formal outfits to people who cannot afford such clothes themselves, for use at a job interview, social event or festive occasion.
Called Umang (Hindi for Joyfulness), the initiative was launched on September 1 by the 30-member Inner Wheel Club of Mumbai Green City, a women’s club-based in Andheri.
On offer are a total of 130 saris, 15 salwar-kameez sets and numerous ghagra-cholis, jackets and suits.
“The objective is to make highquality formal and functional wear available to those who need it,” says Urrmila Sanghvi, vice-president of the club.
“We have all donated to the library and we have been very careful to select only those outfits that are in perfect condition. We have been working on this project for a month and a half and it’s great to see it finally get off the ground.”
Rental rates for the outfits range from Rs100 (plus a returnable deposit of Rs350) to Rs700 (plus a returnable deposit of Rs2,500) for a minimum of three days.
The ‘library’ is being run out of a vacant shop belonging to one of the members and will be staffed by the women of the club, who will take it in turns, working two to a shift.
The club comprises a total of 30 women, aged 35 to 50, ranging from doctors to artists, businesswomen and homemakers.
So far, the library has had one user, a homemaker called Reena who declined to give her full name or any other details.
“I picked a sari from the library and wore it to a family occasion because I didn’t want to spend on a new one,” says Reena.
“It was a very affordable option for me.”