On Friday the 6th at The Sol Collective, a clothing swap took place as part of the city-wide youth pop ups. From 5-8pm, attendees of all ages came armed with garbage bags and laundry baskets full of clothes they no longer needed.
Clothing swaps can take place anywhere, amongst anyone. They are usually organized by groups of friends in easily accessible places like parks or in someone’s yard. At Sol Collective, the clothing swap was open to the public and brought in many attendees with a variety of fashion. Within recent years it has become more common for people to host the eco-friendly event to promote recycling and to bond with the community.
Sustainable swappers of all backgrounds and fashion senses chatted amongst each other excitedly as they picked through the tables of clothing.
“I’m grateful to have been able to attend the clothing swap,” 17 year old Jojo Minnick said.
“because i’ve been trying to get rid of stores that are typically generated by sweat shops from being supported by my money. Being able to attend this event allowed me to not only find some amazing clothes that I have already worn so much, but help keep my cash out of the pockets of big corporations.”
Clothing swaps promote communal sustainability as well as the reduction of fast fashion. By trading with people directly instead of supporting the unjust fashion industry, less clothing ends up in landfills and is instead re-used. By ensuring the continued use of a clothing item, waste is reduced and sustainably utilized to its maximized potential.
Individuals in America alone are suspected to throw out 80+ pounds of clothing each year, mostly in order to make room for new pieces as trends come and go. It is estimated that every second, a garbage truck’s worth of clothing is incinerated or dumped in a landfill. This results in approximately 26 billion pounds of clothing waste being thrown out each year, while 85%-95% is considered still usable quality. The fast fashion industry pumps out trends every season to ensure a constant flow of dependant shoppers, while polluting the earth at an extreme rate.
Large scale swaps are less common than the smaller, DIY scene’s, which has its benefits and downsides. The benefits being that amongst smaller groups, like friends you can get items directly from people you know and fashion senses you admire, while at larger scale events you have even more variety to choose from.
Most swaps are free, as the intention is to get rid of items you no longer need, which allows for people to find items they like no matter their financial situation. The leftover clothes are then donated to thrift stores to given to homeless people directly or to shelters.
Sol Collective is hosted another swap in December for household items, books, art supplies and more clothes on the 14th of December in partnership with Poppiefield Productions from 12:30-3:00pm.