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Clothing Library

What is the stereotypical image of a lawyer?

As an aspiring lawyer, it didn’t take me long to realise that the stereotype is filled with suits, ties, and tight black dresses.

But what is beyond those clothes? Who makes them? Where do they go when they are no longer loved by their owners? How can people just starting out in the profession afford them?

Dressing professionally is an unavoidable aspect of many fields of work, so it seems inevitable that our wardrobes would start to fill up over time with clothes that may not fit our size or taste anymore. The global fashion industry accounts for 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per year —that's more than the aviation and shipping industries COMBINED. It’s the equivalent of driving 4 trillion kilometres in an average vehicle. Furthermore, an estimated 170 million children around the world are engaged in child labour, with many of these children suffering in exploitative conditions to produce the clothes we wear every day. Yet whilst the average Australian purchases 27kg of clothing a year, it is estimated that 1 in every 8 people are living below the poverty line, unable to afford new clothing.

But this doesn’t have to be the way…

With society’s clothing consumption habits creating an excess of clothing on the one hand, and university students being unable to source the clothes they need to enter professional work on the other, the Griffith University Clothing Library team paired excess with need.

The Clothing Library project has been in development since the beginning of this year, and in recent weeks has finally become a reality. The library operates similar to a traditional book library, providing free formal wear for students to use for interviews, placements, and internships. Students return the clothes when they no longer need them, after which they are washed and made available for the next student. From the beginning, our project’s guiding philosophy has been to reimagine the way society consumes clothing, transitioning away from the ‘buy-own-dispose’ model of consumption and instead promoting circularity.

The clothes are sourced by the generous donations of the Griffith staff and alumni community, and more recently, the incredible generosity of the ACC Australia community. At the recent ACC Australia In-house Legal National Conference, our Clothing Library team was thrilled to have the opportunity to host a donation drive. Thanks to your generosity we filled suitcases, car boots, and then a whole room on our university campus with corporate clothing!

Each of these clothes come with a beautiful backstory, some even going back two or three generations. Since the beginning, our project has strived to recognise and remember the story of each garment, infusing meaning and value into clothing which has become lost in an era of fast fashion. The Clothing Library Project was so grateful to all ACC Australia members for the donations received at the conference, and are so excited for students to take these garments on a new adventure.

The first pop-up pilot project for the Clothing Library will be open at Griffith University next week, and they cannot wait to see where the project goes from there! If you would like to get in touch with their team, please contact Sophie at

Thank you so much to the ACC Australia community for getting behind this project!