Could you buy anything new in 2022? Meet Yorkshire’s clothing barters on a mission to save the planet and cut fast fashion
Shuffling and swapping clothes in person, online and via apps is becoming more and more fashionable to allow people to save money, refresh their wardrobe and reduce the harmful impact fast fashion.
A Yorkshire clothes barter promises to ‘buy nothing new in 2022’, having been inspired by Leeds Clothes Exchange which was established in 2008 and now has nearly 3,500 members in its database.
“I must have gotten out of the habit of ordering quickly from Amazon. But it’s more of a habit than a need,” said former debt counselor Sarah Cutts.
She said: “I have been trying to reduce my family’s waste for a while. And after going to the Leeds Clothes Exchange I realized what a brilliant initiative it was.
Knowing how much it could benefit people in her area, especially those struggling with money, Sarah decided to organize a clothing swap in Wakefield.
“You wouldn’t believe how many items are from fast fashion brands, so at least we’re doing our part to undo some of the impact,” Sarah said.
Fast fashion is cheap and popular, which is why the production of clothes has doubled in recent years, but the lifespan of clothes has decreased, however.
The costs reduced by fast fashion are said to have a double negative impact on the environment, producing more carbon emissions than aviation and shipping combined.
“We all have far too many clothes that we never wear and forget, but in fact we could trade them, recycle them or donate them,” Sarah said.
She added that people are often put off by the idea of exchanging clothes, but everything is carefully checked so that everyone can exchange and receive good quality items.
“There’s so much pressure for everything to be designer labels or to wear different outfits to every event, that people end up going into debt just to keep up with the Joneses,” said Sarah, whose mission is to bring everyone to exchange clothes, including those who are in debt.
She said people often buy more to feel good in the short term, but then they can get into debt.
“Clothes swapping can save the planet and money too,” explained Sarah, who joined the Nothing New in 22 Facebook group in which members work together to find solutions to avoid buying whatever. be it again this year.
“With the rising cost of living, growing online influence and popularity of buy-it-now sites like Klarna, the situation will only get worse, but we can all do our part to bring a positive contribution and creating change,” explained Sarah.
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But even some influencers modeling fast fashion for their followers are becoming increasingly environmentally and cost-conscious.
An aspiring changemaker is fashion and beauty influencer Victoria Chic from Yorkshire who used instagram to model a range of clothes but is now trying to counter that as much as possible by using the clothes swap and sell app Vinted.
She said: “I get a lot of things sent to me to model online, I then sell or trade them on Vinted or donate.
Instagrammer Victoria, who has built a loyal following of over 100,000, admits that most influencers who make shopping videos also pick up clothes after being modeled in them.
“I love shopping at Primark because I love trying out new clothes, styles and colors. But I couldn’t afford to buy all these clothes all the time, so I take most things back.
Victoria said most influencers do, which is common practice in the fashion and beauty industry.
When it comes to shopping for clothes to keep, Victoria said she likes “car boots and charity shops”.
During Victoria’s recent maternity photo shoot, she said she wore “some of the most stunning dresses” that came from photographer Ronel Martin’s studio wardrobe for models to wear rather than new ones.
(Photo credit: ELA Creations photography – Caption: Ronel Martin specializes in boudoir maternity sessions, using Epta Maternity Rentals)
Another way social media has been used to counter the negative impact of fast fashion trends is the rise of local Facebook groups where people exchange high quality products.
From fast fashion to designer brands
Yorkshire entrepreneur Camille Johnson said she lost her fashionista ‘mojo’ at the start of the pandemic, prompting her to start her own ‘Clobber Swap’ Facebook group, before returning to work .
The group has grown from 30 bartering friends to now nearly 7,000 members in two years.
“At the turn of 2020, I felt like I had lost a bit of shine. I decided to take matters into my own hands and shake up and declutter my work wardrobe by organizing two piles: a for me and one for my three sisters.I couldn’t believe how many quality never worn items I had in my wardrobe and I thought why oh why do I have so many clothes.
“The pile for my sisters was much bigger than the clothes for charity and to my disgust many were new with tags.
“I was wondering if anyone else would be interested in swapping fabulous clothes,” said Camille, who lives in Huddersfield.
This was the birth of Clobber Swap who, according to Camille, made quite a name for herself among the women of Yorkshire.
“The clobber love is so visible and it gives women the confidence they need to explore fashion and feel good about themselves.
“After Clobber Swapping with a lot of local women, I felt like I was starting to get my zing back.
“The best thing was that everyone else on Clobber Swap was too,” added Camille, who runs The Hive co-working space in Wakefield.
300,000 items go to landfill every year, so swapping clothes is a way to extend the life of an item by reducing the amount of waste, Camille explained.
“One of the best things about Clobber Swap is that it’s a sustainable, guilt-free way to refresh your wardrobe. Your unnecessary clothes don’t have to harm the planet by going to landfill” , she said.
Creating a Swapping Movement
The group grew organically to over 6,000 members across the region in 12 months, reaching over 60,000 women across the country.
There are more than 3,000 posts and 13,000 comments each month in the group, which has become a “fun and quite addictive” community, Camille said.
So much so that the group now hosts regular live events such as makeup tutorials, fitness and diet sessions.
Camille, who has since registered the band as a business, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled with the success of Clobber Swap so far.
“We have women of all shapes, sizes and ages using the clobber exchange; that’s wonderful. “With utility bills and the cost of living at an all-time high, it’s a way to look good and feel fabulous every day without costing the earth.”
Visit clobberswap.co.uk to find out more.
Whether you’re swapping clothes online or in person, it seems we Yorkshire folks love swapping our favorite items with several ethic pioneers starting their own projects.
Leeds Clothes Exchange, set up by a group of friends from a small studio in Hyde Park 14 years ago, “saved around 126,000 pieces of clothing from landfill”, co-director Lauren Cowdery explained.
“We process 1,000 to 1,500 items per event, running 9 events a year,” said Lauren, 37, who may have encouraged other exchangers to “go for it.”
“Come to one of our events (the 4th Saturday of the month – excluding July, August and December), swap with friends or organize your own swap,” she added.
Do you like swapping clothes? Let us know and post your “eco find” pics @YorkshirePost @SophieMeiLan_