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This month has come to a finish and #SecondHandSeptember with it. Did you know about it? The last 30 days represented an excellent opportunity for everyone to extend the life of beautiful clothes, reuse and repurpose them.

At Ecobuy we believe that buying second hand is a great sustainable habit to keep all year long: remember, estimates suggest that one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or incinerated every second all around the world! If you thrift, not only you are very likely to find unique pieces, but you also save clothes from a bad ending.

In general, you don’t have to buy new clothes to refresh your wardrobe. Local vintage stores  allow you to express and experiment an original personal style without shopping brand new items.

For example, when your favourite jumper frays at the sleeves, the pair of jeans that fit so perfectly is full of holes, or a button is missing you can bring them to a tailor or even play with threads or patchwork to fix themThe advent of fast fashion and mass-produced luxury have distracted us from the value of the handmade, the beauty and utility of sewing, embroidering and mending clothes. Before, when our grandparents’ garment shuddered, it wasn’t as obvious to buy a new one straight away because “is so cheap anyway”. We should reabsorb those traditional habits and there are so many tutorials about “visible mending” online!

Repairing the clothes we love is a way to take care of them, make them last longer and be more sustainable as a result! 

Talking about craftsmanship, fashion DIY is trending a lot with thousands of video classes from “how to create a scrunchie” to “how to create a dress from an old coat” to “how to dye your tees naturally”. Using the sewing machine is a great skill you can learn by yourself to create the garments of your dreams being sustainable at the same time (as long as you use sustainable/ secondhand textiles or you alter old garments, remember!). While when it comes to customisation, you can experiment with embroidery, fabric markers, dyes, scissors, patches, and so on.

If you feel like you don’t have the time and the inclination for DIY, you can opt for renting! Digital and physical rental services where you can access designer clothing for low pricesare increasing a lot. They are a great alternative, even if you have a particular event that requires a specific dress, you wouldn’t wear again. Check out Onloan and Rent the Runaway to rent on a monthly subscription or Hurr Collective for lending your clothes, and pick the one that suits you the most!

Another exciting possibility to upgrade your wardrobe without buying new clothing is our gem, mister Swap Party: an event where people trade their stuff. It’s free, it’s fun, and if it is a public one it becomes a beautiful occasion to meet new exciting people, and again it’s sustainable! But what if you are the one that hosts the clothes swap? How to organize the perfect one?

Organising a swap party, it is not as easy as it seems, there are so many details and factors you must consider, so let’s start!!!

  1. Decide where to host it: in its simplest, it can happen in any place, depending on how many people you decide to invite. You can pretty much swap clothing anywhere, from your living room to a public space. If you want to go big: try to partner with schools, universities, cafes, workplaces, shops or community centers.
  1. Create a clear invitation and a digital registration form so that you can predict how many people might come.
  1. Think carefully about who is participating and attending your swaps, make sustainable fashion inclusive and accessible to all!
  1. Make sure there is a right mix of sizes and at least one match for each size.
  1. Set a specific number of pieces each swapper should bring and have them dropped off in advance to sort and ensure the quality of the items.
  1. State the conditions of those clothing as well. You can tell everyone that you accept only clean pieces in the right conditions, and damaged ones will be refused. Also, be clear about what type of clothing swappers should bring. You don’t want someone who carries a precious bag, ending up with a cheap t-shirt. Alternatively, you can add different coloured labels to the garment, like that a guest can swap her/his “pink piece” only with another “pink piece”.
  1. Arrange your clothes: you can divide the items by category, shape or size or even better organise them by fibre and location of manufacture so that you create a visual representation of important information. Facilitate a discussion about the reason why you divided your clothes like that and raise awareness about critical sustainable topics such us how materials are produced. You can even screen a film that spotlights the conditions in the global fashion supply chain, for example! 
  1. Arrange the space and provide extra services: make sure there are mirrors, clothes hangers, tables for the folded items, chairs, string tape, changing private areas, toilets, good natural lighting, posters or flyers with printed information. And if you want to elevate your swap to the next level add: minding kits, an iron, music, food and drinks, scissors and safety pins, photos station, projector for a film screening and whatever jumps in your mind, be creative!
  1. Consider setting up a lottery and switch system so that not only a few people end up with the good stuff. For example: If you have 15 guests, you can divide them into three groups based on the lottery. Then you give each group  8/10 minutes to choose 1 item, and in round two, you pick another group to go first.
  1. Add extra activities such as an embroidery workshop!
  1. Document the event with photos and videos.
  1. Set up a closing time and once the swap is over, donate the pieces left that no one was interested in.
  1. Check Fashion Revolution out to get their Clothes Swap kits!

No matter how your first swap party turns out, have fun and keep experimenting new ways to make it better. We are looking forward to seeing your invitation. 

 

About the Author:

A creative freelance writer from Italy, with a nerdy passion for sustainability, especially when it comes to fashion and beauty! I will always be a huge advocate of second-hand clothing, upcycling and DIY!

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