By Abigail Tsang
For the past few months, the Envirogroup has been working diligently to organise Westlake Girl’s very first clothes swap, encouraging the recycling of clothes and reduction of fast fashion!
The event went ahead on Friday 26 June and was extremely successful as students across every year flocked to secure the best items of clothing. Students had previously exchanged their clothing for a token which could be used to secure a clothing item at the swap.
Almost all of the clothes were taken up by others and many students responded enthusiastically towards the event, already asking when the next clothes swap will take place! For those who hadn’t brought in their unwanted clothes to exchange, they had the option of donating money to ‘Keep New Zealand Beautiful’ (a non-profit organisation focused on the protection of our country’s environment), for an item of clothing.
However, the main focus point of the clothes swap was to both allow and motivate people to sustainably refresh their wardrobes, swapping out unwanted clothing for other pieces of clothing which they would wear. 80 billion new garments are created annually, each of which (if not made sustainably) can be the product of countless harmful dyes and chemicals which severely pollute and destroy the earth that we live on. On top of this, many workers in the fast fashion industry are underpaid and working under harsh conditions. Increasing the lifetime of every garment, through exchanging and swapping clothes, is an amazing way to reduce the purchasing and production of new clothes. This saves both people’s bank accounts and the environment, which is an exceptional cause to get behind!
If you want to get more involved in the prevention of fast fashion which is detrimental to the health of our environment, there is a Slow Fashion Challenge that you can find on Instagram under the username @slowfashionseason. The Slow Fashion Season challenges you not to buy any new items of clothing for at least three months, but instead to trade, DIY, or buy products from second-hand stores or sustainable brands. The fashion industry is one of the largest polluting industries, so it is vital that you understand where your clothes come from and how to reduce the expendability of them. We must all take action so that we can keep the earth that we live in, a thriving and healthy place for generations to come.