Sustainability in Action: Post-Holiday Clothing Swap

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The Sustainable Fashion Collaborative (SFC) put on their second event this past Sunday, a clothing swap held at Bella Luna in Jamaica Plain, a restaurant that prides itself on supporting local non-profits.  During Boston Fashion Week 2013, the SFC exhibited sustainably-made fashions in a show that also included works highlighting issues in the garment industry.  For the Post-Holiday Clothing Swap, attendees were instructed to bring 5-10 pieces of unwanted clothing or accessories that were still “quality”. In exchange, participants received tokens for the number of items accepted for the swap to trade in for selections brought by others and free pizza!

I decided to bring mostly clothing and accessories that I have bought over the years but never wore, most still with tags.  The event workers collected all the items first to display “boutique style” on racks organized by type.  Anything rejected was donated to Rosie’s Closet (like one of my BNWT J. Crew skirts. Go figure!)  While the clothing was being arranged, swappers waited at the bar where lucky for me they had Downeast Cider on tap!

When it came time to start swapping, it became clear to me that I did not share the same definition of “quality” as my fellow swappers and those deciding what to accept or reject clearly dropped their standards at some point as they went through items.  Many things could be described as wacky, ugly, pilled, ripped or just plain worn out.  Most of it was just boring.  I had 8 tokens but really strained my taste to find even 2 to bring home.

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As events go, I would say this was a good idea with room to improve execution.  The organizers probably need to find a way to have the clothing dropped off earlier so they have time to really sort through it.

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