In the age of sustainability, we’ve learned a lot about how the fashion industry has impacted the environment through fast fashion, toxic chemicals, and other unethical practices. Of course, we’ve adopted some bad behaviours too, tossing old clothes into the nearest bin and buying from shifty online wholesalers.
But there’s more to giving your old clothes a second life than dumping massive bagfuls at your local op shop (half of which ends up at a landfill anyway). In anticipation of our Collarts Clothing Swap Day — organised by our Fashion Marketing students — here are some ethical and eco-friendly ways to get rid of your unwanted garments without adding to an already destructive cycle.
SWOP CLOTHING EXCHANGE
After successful ventures in New South Wales and Queensland, the Swop Clothing Exchange have opened up shop in Collingwood (and conveniently close to our Wellington St campus). Bring in your vintage or on-trend clothes for resale; if it sells, you can get 25% in cash or 50% in store credit. Don’t worry if your garments aren’t what they’re looking for, as SWOP say they can donate them to a charity of their choice on your behalf, saving an uncomfortable trip home with a big box.
Instead of hedging your bets on a ripped t-shirt, try textile recycling! Recycling Near You recommends various ways to recycle what you have: Old bedding or towels? Send them to an animal shelter or hit up a mechanic! Unsaleable clothing? Look up local garment collections! The website even has an interactive map where you can find drop-off locations or pickup businesses for your ease.
Forget about eBay or Gumtree — Depop is the newest buy/sell app that all the Gen-Zers are using. It’s the perfect platform for the creative individual to get rid of their vintage clothes or discover hidden gems, and you’ll see trends pop up here before anywhere else. There’s also a strong community around the app, and some sellers have even become influencers by sharing their finds through innovative content.
THE CLOTHING EXCHANGE MEET UPS
If you’re searching for other like-minded swappers, try hitting up an event by The Clothing Exchange, a sustainable initiative that organises swaps around the country. Founded in 2006, their events are the perfect opportunity to get active in a sustainable community, and if clothes aren’t your thing, they’ve also put together a zero waste festival and musical instrument swap in the past. Keep tabs on their website and Facebook for the next event rolling into your city!
DONATE TO not-for-profit outfitting programs
Out of all the clothes you’ve gotten rid of over the years, how many of them have been ill-fitting blouses or button-down shirts? Now you can donate them to Dress For Success, Wear For Success, or Fitted For Work, organisations that will make positive change thanks to your donations. These not-for-profits prepare disadvantaged people to enter the workforce by styling them for their first interview or first day on the job, and you'll feel better knowing your garments aren't sitting in an op shop for years.