Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Clothing Swaps: A fun eco-way to create new looks.

        Until a few years ago, I was unfamiliar with upcycling or sustainable fashion. I never would have thought a clothing swap would be a fun, easy way to add new items to my wardrobe while being eco-friendly. I met a great friend, Kelsey, whom started an eco-conscious student organization, Closets Collide at Iowa State University. She had the idea to start a clothing swap, where people could bring clothes they wanted to get rid of and swap them for new items. She held a community clothing swap and hadn't anticipated the high level of interest. The success of this event has made it a bi-annual event at Iowa State and has inspired neighboring colleges, such as the University of Northern Iowa hold their own. Clothing swaps are an easy, inexpensive way to acquire new items to add to your wardrobe and can be done as a community or campus wide event or just between a group of friends. After reading a blog post, 2014 Shop Drop Challenge, from Mommy Greenest, I have learned that by pledging to stop buying new clothing and accessories from a shopping mall or store for one month, we can save a billion ton of clothing from the landfill, as each person throws away an average of six pounds of textiles per year http://www.mommygreenest.com/pledge/ . When we buy new clothing items, it requires factories to produce more, using more energy, harmful chemicals, and packing waste.
     I found this great article (http://feelgoodstyle.com/2014/01/31/swapdom-takes-clothes-swapping-new-level/) where the term clothing swap is taken to the next level and has made its way to the web. The company is called, Swapdom and it is a facilitator for online exchanges of men's, women's, and children's fashion. You would create an account and upload images of items that you would like to swap. You can view other members' items and select what you would like, what you are willing to trade for it, and Swapdom will organize the exchange using an algorithm.
image from: http://www.bridgetteraes.com/2014/02/07/swapdom/
              Their goal is to get everyone what they would like and the plus is it is free! The only thing they ask is that you pay a small shipping and handling fee of no more than $2. It is a neat way to get items from a variety of different brands and places without having to pay a large price. This is also eco-friendly because according to the article, only about 20% of all the clothes donated end up in the thrift or second hand stores, everything else is thrown out or sent to an underdeveloped country as a donation. By exchanging clothes with other people, you don't have to pay anything and clothes are given a second chance at wear.

In a future post, I hope to share my experience using Swapdom, as I have to find something to swap. If any readers have used this website, I think it would be fun to hear about your experience.

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