Community pop-up provides free clothing for gender non-conforming, transgender communities

By Amaris Edwards, Staff Reporter

Kailey Ryan


As a trans individual, Wing Yun Schreiber has been experimenting with fashion and gender expression for years.

In January 2022, Schreiber founded Gods Closet Chi, a community pop-up closet that provides gender-affirming clothing to trans and gender nonconforming individuals in Chicago.

“I kind of realized that I didn’t have access to the resources that I needed in order to experiment,” Schreiber said. “I just realized that was really limiting and that is an experience that not only I was having, that other trans people had as well.”

Schreiber recognized that people have an abundance of clothing they could give away and as a community could pool resources and “share the abundance.”

With four pop-ups since the origin of Gods Closet Chi, their events spaces are free of charge with DJs, stylists, tailors and makeup artists to create “a safe and celebratory space where [people] can experiment, explore, and co-create personal expression through fashion,” Schreiber said.

Schreiber said one of the most rewarding aspects of the events is when after people look through the racks and ask how much they have to pay, to which they get to inform the shoppers that the clothes are free.

“The way that people light up and to see that, we just had a lot of people respond really meaningfully,” Schreiber said.

Vivi Montalvo, who attended God’s Closet Chi’s most recent pop-up event this last November, said it was refreshing to be in a space with other gender nonconforming and trans people of color, especially as a member of the QTBIPOC community.

“It made me feel really comfortable and I felt like I could really express myself and everyone there was like hyping other people up who were very new to this,” Montalvo said.

Montalvo also said the racks allowed them to challenge gender expression through their clothing options.

“It made me feel more empowered to think outside of the box with my clothes, and everything was mixed in — there wasn’t like a men’s or women’s [section],” Montalvo said.

Stevie Schakowsky, co-curator of God’s Closet Chi, remembered when Schreiber mentioned the idea of creating the community rack.

Schakowsky said they were both working as barbacks at this time and they wanted to help Scheibeer actualize the rack idea, in part due to their mutual aid experience over the years.

Schakowsky said it has only progressed from there. “[It] just started as us sorting through donations at our old apartment, and then kind-of just has grown so much,” they said.

Schakowsky said the space has been really powerful for them and that there has not been an outlet in Chicago for this sort of thing.

“It’s given me a lot of perspective on also just how much we can really just take care of each other,” Schakowsky said.

God’s Closet Chi will be hosting an inaugural fundraiser event sometime this spring that will consist of two parts. There will be a runway show featuring transgender models, paired with transgender designers, followed by a dance party to close the event. For more details, connect with God’s Closet Chi on Instagram.

Editor’s Note: This story is a part of the Chronicle’s annual Sex Issue which will be published mid-February.