Why You Should Do A Clothes Exchange

Being eco friendly is the new cool. There, I said it. There's absolutely no doubt about it, but if you care about the environment then you are automatically 100 times a better person (and who doesn't love a little self-improvement?). This has been a rather recent realisation for myself, as I am constantly striving to further educate myself on the topic of our environment and the scary predicament that our planet has fallen into. I urge every single person reading this to do the same, even if that just means getting to the end of this post.

Seeing as I am a self-proclaimed fashionista and style-lover (but you can call me what you will), clothes are evidently a fundamental part of my life - I have always loved trying new styles, putting together creative outfits and keeping myself up-to-date with and informed about fashion shows. However, I have had the very sad epiphany of realising that the apparel industry is one of the most harmful to our planet, as we are unnecessarily throwing away millions more clothes than we used to, which is all the unfortunate consequence of the new "fast fashion" world that we're consumed by. Sigh.

As a result of the grand epiphany of mine, I have pledged to myself that I will make a much more conscious effort to manage my consumption of fashion. This doesn't mean that I will never buy new clothes again, I mean, I will ALWAYS love to do so, however, I have decided to be much more eco-friendly when getting rid of my unwanted clothes. This is why I have come across the concept of Clothing Exchanges, where the idea is to essentially "swap" your unwanted items of clothing with those of somebody else. After all, somebody's trash may be another person's treasure and that way, you are not producing any superfluous waste, thus reducing our environmental impact.

As part of the Zero Déchets Festival (Zero Waste Festival) that was held in Montréal last weekend, Shwap Club held a 3-day clothing exchange event that was absolutely free of charge. My ears immediately pricked up after hearing of this, especially as I have clothes that I brought here with me on my exchange that I wanted to be rid of before coming back to the UK. In summary, Shwap Club is a little enterprise where members bring their unwanted garments in the hopes of swapping them with someone else's. The clothes are thoroughly inspected by team members to ensure a good condition, which is great as it guarantees a high quality (ain't no-one wanting hole-y jumpers, let me tell you).

I decided to go along to this pop-up event, mainly because it was free of charge (normally you per $16 per exchange, which, by the way I would STILL spend as I think it's a fantastic initiative) and I also wanted to get rid of those aforementioned unwanted items in a sustainable manner, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. When I arrived, the team were all incredibly friendly and very glad to receive my clothes - I brought along a midi skirt from H&M, some dungarees from Forever 21 and a tight midi-dress from Primark. After giving the racks a swift once-over, my hands were immediately reaching for knit-wear, as we have well and truly descended into Winter (it's already sub-zero here in Montréal and I am regretting ALL my life choices). I ended up coming away with a Tommy Hilfiger navy cardigan, a Tommy Hilfiger navy scarf (I suspect the same person had brought these) and a pair of Guess Jeans. I was elated with my exchange finds, especially as they were premium label items that both practical and stylish. I couldn't believe somebody had wanted to trade those in!

The only downside was that there was no opportunity to try the clothes on, so to my displeasure, when I got home and tried the Guess Jeans on, they were a little too small for me (probably have been eating too much Poutine out here), and so I couldn't fit into them. However, I decided to take them to another exchange/donation shop so that they could find a new home.

The moral of my short story is that you absolutely never know what you'll find on a clothes exchange, as you can see from my fabulous branded items! I am incredibly pleased as I have done a good deed both for the planet and for myself as I feel very fulfilled from this experience. (sorry Phoebe from Friends, I'm going to have to agree with Joey on this one ... there is NO such thing as a selfless good deed)

So to sum up, Clothing Exchanges are an ideal way to get rid of old clothes because:
1. You part ways with unwanted clothing and clear space in your wardrobe
2. You fill that space in your wardrobe with second-hand pieces that are "fresh" and "new" to your eyes without buying brand new pieces
3. You are giving older clothes a new lease of life
4. The environment will not suffer due to overconsumption of brand new items
5. No clothes end up in landfill
6. You can find some REAL treasures

If any of those reasons above sound appealing to you, I would wholly recommend seeking a clothing exchange and trying it out for yourself! I would love to hear any of your experiences with clothing exchanges/swaps!


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