Every younger sibling is familiar with the concept of hand-me-down clothes, or simply borrowing your sibling’s clothes because “she has a dress that I like”. Now, what if I told you that clothes-swapping is no longer limited to between siblings or friends. That’s right, you can now swap clothes instead of buying new ones every time a new trend makes the rounds!
The rapid rise of fast fashion has led to overflowing closets but still left us with the excuse that we have nothing to wear. Every time a new trend finds its footing in the fashion industry, recently bought clothes find themselves being pushed to the back of the closet to make way for new clothes that will, undoubtedly, be replaced in a few weeks. Not only is this hazardous to the environment, but it leaves a dent in your pockets as well. However, this is a problem that can be solved by clothes swapping.
WHAT IS CLOTHES SWAPPING?
A majority of us have a pile of clothes that we never get to wear, be it due to lack of occasions or due to them being the wrong size for you. Clothes swapping allows you to bring a pile of unwanted clothes and swap them for someone else’s unwanted clothes. The organizers of said clothes swapping events are in-charge of estimating the value of clothes on the basis of brands, condition, and quality, and in turn, they hand people tokens or coins which they can use to “purchase” clothes.
As we evolve and grow, so does our fashion sense and in this process, we often forget what’s already lying in the back of our closet. Clothes swapping events not only give you the opportunity to update your wardrobe, but they also allow you to put your old, pre-loved clothes to good use.
They allow for a more circular fashion to take precedence, which essentially means elongating the life of clothes by reusing, recycling, and upcycling clothes and accessories. Clothes swap events are not only more sustainable but also help elevate your wardrobe and fashion sense while being wallet-friendly! While a fairly new concept in India, quite a few platforms have taken the initiative to be more eco-conscious by organizing clothes swap events. Here are a few you should look out for:
GreenStitched is an organization that advocates for sustainable fashion in India. While it had originally started as a platform that served to curate sustainable fashion news, it is also responsible for organizing the first film festival focused on sustainable fashion called the GreenStitched Film Festival. Starting from Bangalore, GreenStitched has now expanded this film festival to various cities including Mumbai and Pune. It was this drive to make the fashion industry a closed-looped one that led them to organize clothes swap events called SwapStitched.
SwapStitched is similar to other clothes swaps in that you can bring up to 10 items of clothing that are put up for swapping after going through a quality check. You can then use your tokens to “buy” pre-loved clothes (and if any tokens remain they can be used at later events).
Established in 2016, Fairtrunk originally started out as a blog informing readers about sustainable fashion before it took up curating more conscious brands for its audience. It is now responsible for organizing clothes swap events in India. At their clothes swap events, Fairtrunk organizers register customers and conduct a quality check for their clothing. If approved, these clothes make their way onto the swap floor and the customer is given a certain number of tokens in exchange (which they use as currency for the swapped clothes). However, there’s no need to worry if your clothes don’t pass the quality check as they can still be donated to Fairtrunk’s NGO partner, Seams for Dreams. And if you have any leftover tokens, they can be used the next time you attend a clothes swap event!
3. Fashion Revolution India
Headed by Suki Dusanj-Lenz, Fashion Revolution India is the Indian branch of the global platform, Fashion Revolution, renowned for its energetic advocacy of sustainability, transparency, and ethicality in the fashion industry. Besides spreading awareness about working conditions in the fast fashion industry, Fashion Revolution India organizes clothes swap events in collaboration with Global Fashion Exchange (GFX) and local platforms and have successfully done so in Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, and Ahmedabad.
Established in September 2018 by Delhi-based founders Nancy Bhasin and Vaybhav Singh, ThisforThat is a platform that allows users to swap clothes online, by means of an app. The TFT app offers users the option of listing clothes, bags, shoes, accessories, and cosmetics online (which are then subjected to a quality check before being approved). Users have to click pictures of the item they want to swap and fill in any details they are asked for. Once approved, they can agree to a temporary swap of the item (lasting 1 to 4 weeks) or a permanent swap. You simply have to click the ‘swap’ button under an item you like and the owner can then decide if they want to swap another item with you or swap for credits, instead.
Based in Hyderabad, India, Switcheroo is a part of the Global Shapers Community. In addition to spreading awareness about ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint, it has organized several clothes swapping events in Hyderabad and through them, hopes to help people shed their inhibitions towards swapping clothes with strangers. All clothes at these events which have no takers are either donated or kept aside for future events. If you live in Hyderabad or happen to be in the city when the next event takes place, do drop by!
6. The Exchange Room
Founded by Sai Sangeet Paliwal and Prithvi Rao, The Exchange Room is a Bangalore based wardrobe-swap initiative started in 2014, with the intention of putting the unused clothes people had to good use. The Exchange Room events require customers to register prior to the event and pay a nominal entry fee, necessary for the self-sustenance of such events. The items are valued based on their fashionability, condition, and quality, and customers are given credit on the basis of this value. Customers are allowed to both, swap and shop here. With a large number of branded clothes being up for swapping, The Exchange Room events are a must-visit!
Clothes swap events while being extremely eco-conscious and sustainable are great fun to attend too. If you know of one happening around you, do check it out with friends and family!