CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Shoppers streamed into the brand new Olympic Outlet store Friday, which is free for all students at Olympic High School.
Nadia Smith got a jean jacket that she plans to put her own twist on.
"I think it’s really nice, like, taking clothes and upcycling them," Smith said.
"Part of our mission is for them leaving feeling better than they entered," Olympic English teacher Amanda Rhoden said.
She got the idea for the store from an out-of-state teacher friend.
Rhoden worked with her co-workers and students and saw the needs of a diverse student population.
“I was a younger sibling,” Rhoden said, remembering when she was a teen. “Seventy-five percent of my clothes came from my sister’s closet, so I would have loved to have something new to add to my wardrobe.”
The store offers donated clothes from Belk and donated construction supplies from Lowe’s.
“The one thing we wanted to make sure is that we made it a boutique for everyone,” Rhoden said. “We don’t want it to ever feel like it’s for a certain type of kid. It’s for all kids.”
Seniors Shelby Sosebee and Kendra Jones work at the boutique.
"I've already learned so much stuff, and I'm realizing that I want to go into marketing now," Sosebee said.
They helped get the store up and running.
"Feeling good about yourself for no cost is great," Jones said. "We need professional clothes. Kids are starting to get job interviews, as well as college interviews, as well as kids going on dates, coming in to get something nice."
"Whether you’re trying out a different style, we have students that are trans, so they may be transitioning into a different type of attire," Rhoden said.
She said it's also a place to escape the pressures of testing, social media and just being a teen.
"Sometimes they might not even come here to get anything. It might just even be a place that they can come and (it’s) a space where they feel good. It’s a welcoming environment -- something else they can be proud of. We want our students to be proud to be a Trojan."
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