Something about the fresh smell of spring makes it a great time to re-organize homes, workplaces and closets.
With the winter months ending and fashion changing from plush sweaters and down-filled jackets to lighter camisoles and leather jackets, rearranging your closet becomes a top to-do list task. Scarves go from necessary to accessory and the excitement leaves us craving a fresh, new start. We eagerly pull up our last season’s spring clothes but sometimes feel dissatisfied with the idea of wearing them another season. Your favourite plaid shirt from the year before has been tagged on Facebook so many times it’s lost its appeal. Before deciding you need to splurge on a brand new wardrobe, consider supporting a sustainable fashion approach by going back to one of our favourite activities as a child: TRADSIES!
At any school during lunchtime, children are regularly participating in negotiations over sandwich trades. Every year after trick or treating, the joy of free candy continues with candy swaps taking place all week. That excitement does not have to end with childhood – we can experience the thrill as adults by trading clothes! Not only do clothing swaps help control your budget (maybe that spring wardrobe allowance can go to a summer vacation instead) but it also encourages recycling. You can trade your goods for trendy pieces you may not find in a generic shop. Keep in mind a clothing swap isn’t always about trading worn items – many of us have items we’ve never worn in our closet that can be traded as well. The potential friendships you can build by connecting you with other fashionistas is an added bonus!
If you’re not feeling the idea of trying this out with strangers, you can start by organizing your own small swap by rounding up a bunch of friends – tell them to bring their friends and the addition of a BYOB to make a fun, social event out of it.
Should you not wish to involve your friends or deal with organizing, have no fear, Toronto already has some great clothing swaps! A quick Google or Facebook group search can help you find one closest to you best suited to your time-frame.
You may feel apprehensive about participating in your first clothing swap. It may make you feel like you’d somehow be lowering your fashion standards
by wearing previously worn clothes or getting new clothes somewhere other than a retail shop but rest assured it’s a way to use fashion in a positive way that reduces waste.
Watching the documentary ‘The True Cost’ which explores the global impact of fast fashion was an eye-opener for me. An emotional look into one of the sides of garment production, it’s encouraged me to approach fashion with an understanding on how it impacts the world. We learn so much about the importance of recycling paper and plastic but we’re not taught enough about sustainable garments. With fashion being a 2.5 trillion dollar industry, it’s our responsibility as global citizens to help make it a fair industry, clothing swaps instead of fast buying can be one step in the right direction. Even if participating doesn’t give you a new piece for your wardrobe, it will be a new life experience and there’s always something to gain in that.