Q&A: ‘Cats Closet provides professional clothing to students in need


Illustration by Olivia Abeyta

‘Cats Closet provides free professional and business casual clothing to Northwestern students to help them enter the professional world.

Nicole Markus, Copy Editor

Northwestern students entering college face a host of new challenges, including navigating the professional world. Access to professional clothing is often essential to landing internships, jobs and professional opportunities, but these clothes can be expensive and difficult to locate. ‘Cats Closet provides students with professional clothing free of charge and was created by Kim Corbin, the assistant director of employer recruiting at Northwestern Career Advancement.  

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

The Daily: What is ‘Cats Closet? How did it start?

Corbin: The program is a resource for professional interview clothing and business casual interview clothing. Students can take and keep up to three items an academic year. Everything is free, it does not have to be returned. Prior to ‘Cats Closet, there was another program called NU Threads that was initiated by a group of NU students. Once the students graduated, NU Threads went dormant, and all the clothes that were collected sat in storage. I thought we should have some type of resource for students that needed items. My colleagues and I decided on ‘Cats Closet. 

The Daily: How can students access the clothing?

Corbin: I host ‘Cats Closet open hours, and those hours are located in Handshake. You can RSVP for the open hours. The open hours usually run for about two hours, and students can come in, bring their Wildcard and scan the QR code. I’ll probably have two in the month of February.

The Daily: What kind of clothing are you looking for?

Corbin: We’re always looking for business professional or business casual clothes. That’s for pants, skirts, jackets, shirts, shoes and even accessories. We run an inclusive closet, so we’re always looking for things that can be appropriate for everyone, such as gender neutral items.

The Daily: What are students’ roles, and how does the closet continue to run?

Corbin: Students have participated in clothes drives and helped me organize the closet and just give me tips. Students can always reach out to me through email if they would like to volunteer, have a clothes drive or have some ideas. The closet has been running since 2018 strictly on donations. It has been a huge success, and I’m very grateful for that. And I just want to add that the students that come to ‘Cats Closet are always happy and eager to try on things, and they can’t believe it’s free. The service has been well-received, and we want to keep it that way. We want to make sure we continue to meet the needs of the students and that it remains free, accessible and stocked.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @nicolejmarkus

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