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The Latest in Sustainability and Slow Fashion: Clothing Swaps

Fast Fashion and Landfill

With the current availability of fast fashion and new levels of greenwashing, it is quite difficult for the average consumer to make constructive and conscious decisions in buying clothes. Simply believing companies’ marketing claims of their contributions towards the planet does not counter their detrimental actions that make up the majority of their day-day activities. The end result is obvious to anyone concerned with climate change : the way the majority of consumers purchase fashion is detrimental to the planet.

Many companies omit to explain their environmental footprint in detail, not surprisingly clothing occupies 57% of landfills In addition clothing items are being increasingly left in the ocean where they release toxins in our most important of natural resources and wreak havoc on marine life.

We’ve seen growth in the second hand or ‘thrift’  business which is a step in the right direction however not perfectly sustainable. If you treat this store like any other fast fashion boutique, it will not reduce overconsumption, as thrift stores can justify buying more items because of their appealing cheaper prices. Therefore, even though we’ve seen a renewed interest in thrifting, the landfill problem still persists as consumers purchase items they typically want but don’t always need.


Post WWII: Enter the Clothing Swap 

As the need for alternatives for shopping becomes a crucial step in healing the planet, the concept of clothing swapping has made a resurgence. A clothing swap can also be referred to as collaborative fashion consumption, which allows one person to exchange a clothing item for another without monetary gain or loss. A great solution to freshen up your wardrobe and get rid of unwanted items, assuring they will not end up in a landfill. 

Clothes swapping first appeared post WWII, where income was low and people could not afford new clothes. This is when the make-do and mend campaigns and other swap meets were created as new alternatives to acquire new clothing. These were anonymous to not divulge the buyer's economic status.

Clothing Swapping Events in 2023: Start your Own

Clothing swap events can be organized for communities or friends and family that are looking to promote sustainability through dynamic events. Along with creating a fun community event, these initiatives naturally reduce unnecessary production and create positive change for our planet. 

In Montreal, there is Shwap Club founded by Annette Nguyen where you can visit for a fee to exchange items for new ones curated by their team. Empire Exchange is on the same street as our flagship store where you can bring clothes they will either buy or give you credits for exchange. In Toronto there is T.O. The Good Swap in 2 locations, along with a multitude of organized events. With a little bit of research, you can find clothes swapping groups online or you can also create your own with friends and family!

Anette Nguyen, Founder of Schwap Club photographed inside her shop

Annette Nguyen, Founder of Shwap Club


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