Have you ever had that feeling of panic before a big event, where you feel like you have nothing to wear? Running into a shop on the high street, you’re well aware that the clothes aren’t made in the most ethical or sustainable way, but that top is only £19.99 and the event is tonight.
Welcome to the world of fast fashion: an industry built on a feeling of urgency and a throwaway culture. The World Resource Institute reports that “the number of fashion seasons has increased from two a year” to as many as “50- 100 microseasons”. The result is that we feel as if we never have enough, and the consequences for the planet are devastating.
In the EU, the average amount of clothing bought has increased by 40%in just a few decades. Did you know that it takes 2,700 litres, or the amount of drinking water needed by one person for 900 days, to produce just one T-shirt? Despite the success of Marie Kondo, it is clear we are all buying more than we need, and more than the earth can provide.
What is clothes swapping?
All is not lost, there may be a solution to the problem, in the form of clothes swapping. This circular economy model, gaining in popularity of late, means that getting that new wardrobe just became more sustainable. Why buy something new when you can swap something you no longer wear for an item that needs a new home?
Social media influencers have been key in shaping this new trend, with Ella Grace Denton and Jemma Finch founding Stories Behind Things. The platform advocates conscious consumption and organises ‘clothes switches’ throughout the year in London. Jemma Finch told Euronews Living, “we believe in reconnecting to your wardrobe and redefining the sense of ‘newness’ that we have been conditioned to crave.”
Finch also gave us some of her own sustainable fashion tips such as, “re-organise your wardrobe, keep what you love and consider re-injecting love back into pieces you don't wear, this can be done through embroidery or personalisation.”
Interested in swapping your clothes? Here are 5 clothes swaps happening this November in London
1. Stories Behind Things ‘The Big Clothes Switch’, 28th November
The next ‘clothes switch’ event organised by Stories Behind Things is on 28th November at London's WeWork in Devonshire Square. Not only will you be able to swap clothes, this event is paired with Natalie Glaze’s Book Swap Club, so you will come away with some new reading material too.
Tickets are £15, and can be bought here.
2. Nothing new November: Clothing Swap event
This event is organised by the Camden Friends of the Earth group, and will focus on ways you can make the most out of your clothes. Everyone is welcome, and you are asked to bring 3 to 5 items of clothing to swap.
Registration is free, and can be done here.
3. Festival of Sustainable Fashion - The Big Switch, 24th November
This event will be taking place at the O2 Academy in Islington, and is an antidote to Black Friday consumerism. During this event, you can swap 10 pre-loved items, or you can purchase tokens on the day.
Tickets are £3 for early bird, £5 for general access, or £8 for a VIP ticket and an upcycled tote as a goodie bag.
4. Fat Positive Clothes Swap, 11th November
Head down to this clothing swap for all genders and people size 16 and above. You can sign up and gain more info via the Facebook event. The swap will take place in Deptford Methodist Church.
It will be run on a suggested donation of £2-5.
5. The Queer Clothes Swap, every month
This one is hosted every month, and information is given on the Apple Tree London Facebook page.
These events provide a LGBTQ+ friendly, gender neutral space to get that sustainable wardrobe.