The consequences of overconsumption and overproduction are becoming clearer every day. The waste mountain is getting bigger and bigger and people from all over the world are being exploited for the clothes that we throw away. It is time to question our consumption behaviour. But what do we replace our old habits with? We highlight some great initiatives below!
Ever heard of Swishing, Swapping and Clothes Libraries? These are very cool alternatives that not only want to change the way we consume but also our perception of it. We also got the chance to interview a number of people from different sustainable concepts that offer an alternative.
The term swishing first emerged in the 2000s when Lucy Shea, Managing Director of Futerra Group (the UK's leading sustainability communications agency), wanted to change her consumption behaviour without compromising her love for fashion. The concept of swishing was born because of her. She and her friends wanted to encourage positive consumption choices but thanks to Twiggy she had the initiative to get more mainstream attention.
Interested in the concept? Organise your own swishing party in Belgium. Futerra also organises workshops on fair fashion and repair. A first collaboration between COSH! and Futerra was planned for the spring, but was cancelled due to the COVID19 measures.
Do you love fashion but have no need to own large quantities of clothes? Then a clothing library is for you! Through a point system or subscription you can easily rent beautiful outfits for everyday life or a special occasion. So you don't always have to buy new pieces but you still have a great variety in your style! Here are some great options:
Swapping refers to the process of exchanging valuable but unused clothes among 2 or more parties. Clothes swapping is a great way to change your wardrobe, save money and reduce your participation in the fast fashion industry.
During our research, we came across an interesting initiative from the Netherlands (Ketting Kledingruil). It involves a filled bag with items that you do not wear anymore or have bought wrongly in good condition. This bag will then follow a certain route, where you can pick out something that suits your personal style. This way, the bag makes its rounds among a group and you get more variety without having to buy anything!
Second-hand shopping is also a good option to avoid fast fashion, but Sara Thot told us that many fast fashion companies use second-hand shops to do greenwashing. She says that the companies use second-hand shops to say that their "abundance" of clothes will find a "new life" there.
So it is clear that switching to conscious shopping is not an easy path. Both the influence of your own thinking and the influence of external factors such as fast-fashion companies, geography, and so on will determine or hinder your choice.
Shops that give their own clothes a second chance to be sold after consumption are what we at COSH! are all about! In this way, the shop takes its responsibility and keeps the clothes in the shop for a longer time. An example of resale is SeventyOne in Antwerp, also on our COSH! 2nd hand map.
At SeventyOne you will find next to the new collections also a resale option. Customers can bring in their retro clothes to one of the boutiques or send them in by post and receive a voucher in return. The returned garments are resold in the resale department of the shop. This system is a perfect example of circular economy whereby garments stay in the cycle as long as possible.