Have you ever thought about how many times you purchase an outfit, wear it once or twice and never pull it out of your closet again? Before you know it, there is a stash of clothing that is barely worn, simply in an effort to stay trendy with what’s happening around you or because you don’t want to find yourself posting the same outfit on social media too many times. The idea of The Clothing Swap started almost four years ago while Kirstyn Church lived in Leeds. Kirstyn Church is a registered associate nutritionist. She moved to Trinidad when she was just seven-years-old and since then, has considered Trinidad her home. Kirstyn said while at Leeds, a friend of hers at the time mentioned that she was going to a community clothing exchange and she decided to join her. After falling in love with the concept, that is being able to bring your clothes in and exchange them for others with the only cost being that you pay to enter, she was convinced that this was a venture she needed to start on her own. The Clothing Swap is set up in a very similar way. It allows members of the community to bring in good quality clothing (one to 20 pieces max per person) and swap them out. It’s a great way to refresh your wardrobe without having to buy new pieces. It helps us to be sustainable ‘shoppers’ in an economically-friendly way.
Like most of the Kirstyn’s generation, she says that she is trying to make steps towards a more sustainable way of living; be it at home, when going out, with what she buys and even with what she eats. Fashion is another avenue where we can look to make small changes to positively impact our environment. The fast-fashion industry (which is built on low-paid wages to women working in factories) is taking over. Often times, the material used is 100% polyester (a synthetic fibre). Thirty-five percent of microplastics in our ocean come from synthetic clothing. After an average of five weeks’ use, these garments typically get thrown away, ending up in a landfill. The Guardian UK stated, “In terms of environmental degradation, the textile industry creates 1.2bn tonnes of CO2 a year, more than international aviation and shipping combined, consumes lake-sized volumes of water, and creates chemical and plastic pollution.”
By bringing in your clothes to The Clothing Swap, you are able to prolong the usage of clothes that are still in very good condition with like-minded consumers. There are many ways in which we can become more sustainable and eco-friendly with regards to fashion. The first step we can make is to source clothing made locally since they have a lower carbon-footprint and you know exactly who has made your clothes. We have an abundance of talented, local, fashion designers available to us. A more affordable option can be to visit a thrift-store which consists of second-hand clothing that you can buy at a lower price. Before you buy a clothing item, ask yourself if you can commit to wearing it at least 10 times. Remember that the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) can be applied to fashion as well.
The Clothing Swap will be hosting its first event on July 20th at Grundlos Kollektiv (11 Cipriani Blvd). The entry fee is $30 which contributes to the rental space and food for volunteers. This is a plastic-free event so please walk with your reusable bags. If interested please follow The Clothing Swap TT on facebook or @theclothingswaptt on Instagram for more information.