Fight Fast Fashion: SWAP Don't SHOP
Some years, you ask your family for PYREX for Christmas, but instead get SPANDEX.
You tear into the wrapping paper hoping for vintage mixing bowls, but instead wind up with 5 outfits perfect for starting your career as a backup dancer, complete with glitter leggings and something else we simply nicknamed "Boom Boom Jeans".
Apparently, my family thinks I need to lay off the jam-making and flannel in favor of twerking and lycra.
But honestly, anyone who says you can't twerk in flannel hasn't seen ME make marmalade.
Once you've gotten a good laugh out of your Boom Boom Jeans - I changed outfits every hour on the hour at a New Years party - what's a girl to do with such metallic finery? Repurpose these garments as bike reflectors?
This eco-friendly idea is dear to my heart. Years ago, my close friends and I would get together for wine (usually that fine vintage with a giant rooster on it), cheese, and clothing swaps. Though most of that original crew have moved, and my taste in wine has improved, the tradition continues at Moore Manor a couple times a year!
What's a clothing swap?
Remember raiding your older sister's closet? It's like that, but the adult version.
It's fun, it saves you money, and it gives you a chance to catch up with your friends.
First, I'll tell you how to do it.
Then, I'll tell you why it's important.
And throughout, I'll show you my favorite pieces snagged from swaps - and if you know me, you'll recognize a number of these as my regular go-tos in day to day life.
How to Host a Clothing Swap:
Text your friends. The more the merrier. Let them bring a friend, even.
Find a date that works for most of you. Weekdays are usually easier.
Go through your closet. Haven't worn it in a year? Put it in the pile. Shoes you never broke in? Pile! Accessory gifts you keep from guilt or obligation? Throw it on the pile.
Go through that closet again. And this time pull out those items you've been hoping to diet back into for the last three years. Love yourself the way you are, and give it to someone who will enjoy it now!
Buy your favorite beverages and snacks of choice.
Have a box/bag on hand for things to be discarded or donated.
Why to SWAP instead of SHOP, by the numbers:
80 billion clothing items purchased each year worldwide
15.1 million tons of textile waste produced in 2013, 85% of which went to landfills
0.1 % of textiles collected by charities that is actually recycled into new fiber
80 pounds of clothing each American throws away per year
20% of clothing donated to charities is actually resold, 80% goes to the landfill
Chilling with my adorable niece in (probably) Mallory's shirt last year.
*This gallery contains affiliate links. This means that if you click through and give the product a whirl, I get a tiny fee for spreading the news at no extra cost to you. This helps me offset the enormous amount of time that goes into Compost & Cava.
The numbers in these stats are so massive, the situation is hard to grasp. But there's some great reading out there, so check out this Newsweek article, this one on fast fashion (you'll never set foot in H&M or Forever 21 again, gross), or this Huffington Post one. Basically, fast fashion is creating a massive waste problem.
And reality check: despite your good intentions, almost everything you donate goes in the landfill.
Only 0.1% of clothing is being recycled.
Everything else? Landfill.
(Nicole's crop top and me, hiking in Costa Rica.)
Ok! Back to the fun stuff!
Here are some of my favorite pieces I've collected from clothing swaps throughout the years. I wear them all the time, I get tons of compliments on them! But you know what? Most of them aren't things I necessarily would have tried on in the store, which is crazy considering how often I wear all of these now.
I love playing around with a new outfit, I love that they were free, I love that it's a sustainable fashion choice. But you know what I love the most?
Knowing I haven't contributed to fast fashion.
(Me, drinking too much bourbon in Lauren's old dress.)
I'm not much of a consignment shopper or thrifter with regards to clothes, but I'll wear YOUR clothes all day long, friend. This is utterly irrational, I know. And I'm working on it.
But I promised you I'd keep this blog honest, and every day is another step toward a greener life.
Mallory's shirt and I, shooting a wedding together.
Life moves at such a frantic pace these days, and I've had so many wonderful evenings with my favorite and most inspiring women, cheering each other on, laughing at those weird relics we've dragged out of the closet (my psychedelic DJ-ing kitten tank has yet to make it to a clothing swap), and catching up on the things that matter.
So next time you're considering dropping $16 on a glass of wine you can't pronounce at that unmemorable but so chic new spot downtown that only allows valet parking, throw on some yoga pants and call your ladies instead. I promise, you won't regret it! And you'll now have $16 to spend on cheese at Trader Joe's instead.
Now. Back to blogging...
...in Lauren's skirt.