The Clothing Exchange was developed in response to the need for reducing Australia’s problem of wasteful consumption which is soaring above the $10 billion mark each year. Unlike most forms of environmental activism, The Clothing Exchange enlivens and excites people by amplifying the simple, sustainable practice of sharing. While people attend the event seeking a free wardrobe update, they often find themselves equally elated by the prospect of seeing their unwanted clothes getting a new lease on life and feel good taking part in collective action for sustainable development.
The Clothing Exchange invites people to bring the clothes they value but no longer wear to exchange for those they will. Now if you think the idea of 50 relative strangers coming to swap clothes in the one room is a recipe for chaos, rest assured, the process of the exchange is fair and efficient! The exchange rate is accounted for using buttons. Participants are encouraged to bring approximately 6 garments or accessories to exchange (we accept a maximum of 10) and they are given one button for each item which buys another in return. This way regardless of how many participants are swapping it is always equitable and you always have the right number of garments! We have received feedback asking us to assign different values according to our perceived quality of the garments but this would be subjective and lead participants down a more competitive path. Instead, we put the faith in the hands of participants to bring clothes they value and our role is to monitor the quality. As the objective of The Clothing Exchange is to activate fashion waste, this is the best system of exchange and it has proven to be successful again and again.
There is quality control at each event where we count and peruse the garments on entry and intercept any items that are not swappable. It is important that you bring items you no longer wear and think others will value. You must be detached and happy to see your items adopted by new owners. It is also important you give generously – even if it’s sexy, was expensive or a designer label – if you’re not wearing it, throw it into the mix and have a laugh with the person who happily adopts it.
It is essential that items are clean and presented neatly because that’s good manners! A little press and neat folding is fine.
Mia and I got involved so that we could do out ‘little bit’ to help the environment while meeting new people and having fun.
Others can get involved by checking out the website www.clothingexchange.com.au and come along to events which are listed on the events page or email ‘subscribe’ to firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe to our newsletter and keep up with events and swapping news. Alternatively, we are always on the lookout for volunteers to assist at events – contact Vanessah at perth@clothingexchange for further information.