On a warm, Friday evening at the start of August, Environment Trust hosted its first clothes swap (or swish). We sought to raise awareness about the state of the fashion industry and, over an evening of music, drinks, fashion advice and fun, enable swappers to sustainably revamp their wardrobes. Our event was supported by Swop It Up, a clothes exchange initiative for schools run by student founder Zaqiya Cajee.

A treasure trove of clothes awaited thanks to donations from supporters and corporate volunteers, and once swappers arrived to exchange their glad rags, the evening was in full swing! Sophie Hawkins, who makes sustainable heritage workwear from natural materials, curated a designer rail and helped our swappers learn how they could repurpose, mend, or naturally dye their clothes.

According to the Environmental Audit Committee’s 2019 report ‘Fixing Fashion - Clothing Consumption and Sustainability’ (its summary well worth a read), textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined. As context for our event, student volunteers researched issues associated with today’s fast fashion industry and made posters to highlight its offending ethics, waste and pollution. We asked swappers to share their discoveries of sustainable fashion tips and brands, helping us reduce the environmental impact of our clothing choices.

Our event crucially provided solutions so that we can all be part of refusing fashion from the offenders, reducing our consumption, reusing what we have, and recycling what remains to help shape the Fashion Revolution. Action starts locally by supporting charity shops and clothes swaps like ours. As the EAC report shows the UK buys more clothes per person than any other European country (recycling just 1% of materials used to produce clothes and sending 1 million tonnes of textiles to landfill every year), there’s a lot to be done but we can make a difference!

Join us at our next swap on Saturday 19th October, 2 – 5pm at the ETNA Centre, and feel inspired to make meaningful change as we learn more about our impact and rehome a brand new look. Thanks to all who attended and our wonderful volunteers! We look forward to seeing you at our next!

See our next Swap!