Guilt-free shopping at its best!

FIRST SWAP EVENT WAS A BIG SUCCESS…

Who would have thought splurging fake dollars on ‘old clothes’ could be so much fun?

I’ve made no secret of my ‘shopaholic’ tendencies… And even though I am ‘on the mend’, shopping more mindfully for versatile, classic ethically-made clothing, I still have too much ‘stuff’. As the owner of a sustainable, ethical clothing brand, I now feel a sense of responsibility to ‘lead by example’. I’ve come to learn that so many women are desperate to ‘buy less, buy better’ and simplify their wardrobes – and their lives.

My desire to put a dent in my overflowing wardrobes (I have commandeered 3 of the 5 wardrobes in our house…) sparked the idea of running a Swap Up Event. A ‘shop’ where people would bring clothing and accessories they no longer loved, and put them back in circulation for someone else to enjoy.

It might come as a surprise to some that Brentwood is home to a very strong community of sustainable small businesses and folk who have strong environmental values. I sought those stalwarts out, including our host, Linzi who happens to own The Brentwood Kitchen. Linzi kindly offered to put on a great supper, complete with flowing bubbles and turned her gorgeous eatery into Brentwood’s first Swap Shop for a night!

I won’t lie, on the run-up to this event – I was petrified. What if nobody came? What if people gave me crap clothes that nobody wanted? What if I got it wrong and I was the only one with a bulging wardrobe of unloved (and unworn…) clothing?

As it happens, it could not have gone better (and this from someone who is excruciatingly self-critical…)

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ALARMING FACTS ON CLOTHING WASTE

The night opened with a few words from myself – sharing some ‘facts’, which, by the look on guests’ faces were quite alarming and binge-worthy food for thought.  

  • On average we buy 70 items of clothing a year (and that means some of us buy more than that, e.g. over 100 new items a year… which equates to buying something every 3 days). 
  • 60% of what we buy ends up discarded (and mostly in landfill) within a year.
  • Only 15% of what we donate to charity gets sold, the rest is ‘exported’.
  • The UK is the BIGGEST exporter of used clothing in the world.
  • Most of our clothing ends up in Africa, and over 80% of it in landfill there – those synthetic fibres seeping their chemicals into the water basin of countries who cannot afford filtration systems.

Our obsession with having something new to wear for the next selfie is killing people, the planet and the future.


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FUN, FIZZ AND MORE FACTS!

With some fabulous fizz and food from our hosts, the night was as much about fun as it was educating ourselves on how to live more sustainably. 

Stylist Lisa Gilbe, told us that buying less is about understanding what suits you – and shared her tips for doing just that. 
Lucy, founder of Loved 2 Go, enthralled us all on how to look after your leather goods (luxury or otherwise) to make them last longer. 
De-clutter expert, Nina showed us how to store our clothes away and ‘origami’ our trousers!  Who would have thought folding clothes could be so much fun!

We were also thrilled to raise £300 for local charity, Lets Talk Suicide Essex with raffle prizes donated by The Brentwood Hairdresser, The Lux Spa Brentwood, La Pomme, Vogels Hair, The Brentwood Kitchen and of course ourselves!

I am so grateful to all who attended for getting into the spirit of the event - swapping until they dropped.  We started the night with over 200 ‘donated’ items and ended up with twelve! 

 Be sure to follow our socials and sign up to our newsletter for updates on the next one – and there will definitely be a reprise!

 Yours sustainably,

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