Swishing – the cure for fast fashion?

Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by retailers for the rapid updating of trends and clothing available in shops and online. We are urged to buy buy buy the must have latest look for this month, even week, but what is the real price of this constant consumerism?

While the majority of us love clothes and fashion, the issue with regular buying goes much deeper than the financial impact on our wallets. The impact on our earth is much greater than you’d think.

  • Eighty billion pieces of clothing are produced worldwide every year. For every 5 of these pieces, 3 end up in landfill within 12 months.
  • Clothes made from polyester can take 200 years to break down.
  • The carbon emissions generated by the clothing of the average UK household is equivalent to driving an average modern car 6,000 miles.
  •  More than 50% of the emissions from clothing production comes from three phases: dyeing and finishing (36%), yarn preparation (28%) and fibre production (15%).
  • Approximately 300 million people who produce cotton are still living in poverty.

(All facts taken from Fairtraide, Greenpeace, and Ellen MacArthur Foundation)

But we all want to look and feel good, and we all (hopefully) have a burning desire not to trash our planet, so, what can we do about our desire for nice, new clothes? SWISH!

I’d never heard of Swishing before I moved to Devon: it’s basically a clothes swap party. Cool, right?! It’s so easy to arrange and really, really fun. I manage to update my wardrobe at least 4 times a year without spending a penny. And, if that’s not enough, I can have a clear out of items that no longer suit me or fit me and give them a new home. It’s so great to bump into your friends looking great in your pre-loved garments.

Swishing is a brilliant way to get a whole host of new outfits before a new season or a holiday. Follow these easy steps to a brand new (to you) wardrobe and a guilt free conscience.

  1. Arrange a date and a place, this could be your house, a community space, a garden. Anywhere!
  2. Invite friends, stating that they must bring a minimum of 3 items of clothing they no longer want, but they’d be happy to receive.
  3. Ask friends to drop off clothes at a specified time before the event.
  4. Before the event, arrange the clothes into types, sizes, colours, or get creative and drape them over household items. I’ve been to a swish where clothes were hung on a washing line!
  5. Ask friends to bring a bottle or nibbles, Swishes are very sociable events.
  6. Allow some time for browsing before the official Swish start time. 30 minutes is plenty.
  7. If possible, arrange a space for trying on: a toilet, spare room or a screen are ideal. Provide a few mirrors if you can too.
  8. Call ‘Swish!’ and let your friends choose any items they want from the collection to take home.

You don’t need to limit Swishing to clothes, you can Swish household items, jewellery, soft furnishings, sports equipment, books…the list is endless!

Why not hold a Swish in aid of a charity and charge a small entrance fee?

If you fancy a Swish and you’re in the Devon area, why not come down to Teignmouth Rugby Club on 1st March? They’re holding a Swish to raise money for the under 15s tour. Drop off clothes at 6.30, enjoy a drink in the bar and be ready to Swish at 7.30. See you there!

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