As I come down the stairs, a gigantic sea of colors, patterns and fabrics spread out on racks organized by gender, season and garment. I am sure this must be vintage heaven.
Shoes to the right, evening gowns straight ahead, suits, dresses, skirts and hats to the left. As I pass the leather jackets, an even larger room reveals containing more treasures. I am canceling all today’s appointments.
The clerk welcomes me, and continues humming the song playing over the speakers – Elvis’ Suspicious Minds. There is no suspicion here – I know what I am doing. I am privileged to choose from the top shelf, and the treasure hunt may finally begin.
So many choices, but where did it all come from?
For Rich and Poor
There are two UFF second hand shops in the city, at Jernbanetorget and in Storgata. Both offers specially sorted vintage clothes from different eras, but have in common that all garments are received at the same central in Oslo.
Through collection stations throughout the country, UFF annually receives several thousand tons of clothes. Specially sorted vintage garments remain in Norway, while everything else is shipped to sorting factories in Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Slovakia. At the end, the clothes are sent out in the world to those who need it most.
The UFF Norge association was founded in 1979, with the purpose to fight against apartheid. In line with current world issues, the purpose has evolved. Today, the main focus is creating a better life for the world’s poorest – together with the poor.
Annually, clothes sold through UFF contribute with several million dollars to various aid projects, which make life better for many people. UFF has played an important role through humanitarian work in developing countries.
I am not sure our grandmothers thought that their dresses, coats and jewelry would become so important and valuable for so many people.
Text and photos by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews