BIG Thank you to everyone who came to The Festival of Sustainable Fashion at Hackney House last Saturday 24th November. I would like to share my deepest gratitude for an incredibly positive response from everyone who attended. It is inspiring to me and the Sustainable Threads team to see your interest and your passion for change in the fashion industry. We hope the event helped you feel inspired by our speakers, our talented repair team and from a day focussing on solutions to many sustainability issues we are facing.
Many thanks to Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop for the fantastic Clothes Swap on the first floor. If you want an alternative to shopping yet still need something new for the Christmas season, we encourage you to start your own swaps amongst your friends, family and colleagues. #Newtoyou is at the heart of swapping. Follow our hashtags on our instagram and facebook for more inspiration.
A huge thanks to the tailors and menders in the Repair Cafe on the top floor and to those of you who brought clothes to us for mending. The team had a fun & creative day helping you give a new lease of life to your slightly tired but very loved items. We encourage you to look for repair cafes in your local area and we will soon list some recommended places for you to go, on our blog.
On the Sustainable Threads stage we discussed sustainability in the luxury market with Kresse, the owner of luxury brand Elvis & Kresse, Britta Von Basedow, Couture Designers & Senior Creativity Pattern Cutter – we’ll be uploading video of this to our blog soon. Our concluding message from Kresse was to “be an awesome human”. With every decision you make, how can we each take responsibility to be an awesome human, to each other, to our communities and to the earth.
Our afternoon panel Q&A was hosted by Fashion Roundtable founder, Tamara Cincik. An in-depth and inspiring Q&A with Jodi from Black Neon Digital, JJ from Noki, Rafaella fromFashion Roundtable and Zero Waste blogger Pip Sadler. Let’s keep the conversation going at Sustainable Threads. Share your thoughts, your ideas, your concerns and your solutions. And thanks again for your swapping and your mending!
1) Make yourself comfortable and grab a beverage. Go through your closet and pull out all those gorgeous clothes you never wear. Try them on one more time. Nope? Are you emotionally dethatched and ready to let go? De-clutter & refresh your wardrobe at the Big Swish tomorrow! Gain value from clearing out and use the space for items you will actually wear! Often we hoard clothes we know we will never wear again because we feel guilty about letting them go to waste. The best items to swap are good quality garments with a long potential lifespan. Pick your five preloved items and put them back into Betsy’s collective wardrobe, you’re giving them a second life with someone new who will treasure them. Items should be washed and folded, free of faults. Personal, old or damaged item are unswappable. As usual bring the quality you expect to find. Only take items likely to be valued by fellow swappers, do not bring anything you wouldn’t like in return. Ask yourself, would I be proud to give this item to a friend? If the answer is YES, take it to the swap!
2) Check in with Betsy’s team from 11:00, bring max 5 items to this event. You will get a membership card and a stamp for re-entry.
We are the #swaplution to fast fashion, we are one of the #haulternatives. To be an effective competition to “buying new” and to ensure your experience is better than shopping, we have quality control standards in place at all our events. Our criteria are based on quality not style, because taste is personal! You will find a wide array of styles to choose from – from handmade to designer garments via high street basics, sometimes with the price tags still on. For each item that we accept, you receive tokens in exchange. They are your currency. Betsy’s token system is designed to ensure you will receive fair value for the items you donate; you can use your credit at any of our events!
If your items are not suitable for swapping you can either take them to the repair cafe or leave with us to get them recycled.
3) The swish opens at 12:15 with a brief introduction to the ‘rules of the game’. Play fair and have fun! Follow our swap etiquette and be a gracious swapper. Respect others space and time, no elbowing no rushing. Avoid any unnecessary hoarding, if it does not fit put it back or give it to one of Betsy’s PAs! We ask swappers not to take more than 3 garments to try at one time. Soon after the first round of trying on, items will find their way back to the racks; be patient, open minded and relax and you’ll attract clothes something perfect for you. Stick around and mingle. Someone will come up to you to tell you that the item you picked was theirs, someone else will complement you on how great that colour looks on you.
4) Once you have swapped til you dropped, use your tokens to pay for your ‘new-to-you’ items! Our eco-friendly alternative gives you all the pleasure of retail therapy without contributing to the detrimental impact of fast fashion on the planet and communities.
5) Now every time someone compliments you on your gorgeous ‘new’ outfit, you can proudly answer, “Thanks, I got it at Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop”. Take photos, share them on line, stay in touch, and help us making sustainable fashion mainstream! Follow Betsy’s adventures here: https://www.instagram.com/betsysclosetswapshop/
Why Swish? We asked Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop for a blog post on why Clothes Swapping is the new Black.
How many people associate the term ‘second hand’ with being forced to wear hand-me-downs of questionable taste from older siblings and family friends? It was not our colour, probably not even our size. “You will grow into it,” they said, but we had to wear it … end of.
Fast forward to now.
You are a grown up and you wear whatever you want, whenever you want!
You cannot wear those shorts at work. It’s the dress code!
You cannot wear that gown and Mary’s wedding. You wore it at John’s graduation and everyone has seen it on Instagram.
You cannot wear flared jeans. They are not in fashion and nowhere to be found on the High Street.
You cannot wear those heels. You got them when you had a car and now you cycle everywhere instead.
You cannot wear that jumper. Your ex bought it for you during that holiday in Wales and emotions are woven in with the yarn.
You cannot wear that dress you rocked when you were 20. You’re 30 now and your figure has changed.
You cannot wear that coat you impulsively bagged at the sales. You just do not like it.
… And so it comes to pass that your wardrobe is overflowing with stuff you do not use, maybe you don’t even want that stuff anymore, and yet you still feel like you’ve got nothing to wear.
“Well,” you say “I could just get rid of my unwanted clothes by donating them and buy something new.” We’ve all don’t that haven’t we? Only, there are consequences to this way of thinking.
Consider that the “Something new” you nip out and buy off the shelf takes A LOT of resources to be made. The planet resources are finite. On top of that, this type of ‘fast fashion’ is the second most polluting industry in the world today.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Betsy.
Betsy is your SWAPLUTION!
The idea is to put all those garments you no longer want back into a ‘collective closet’ called “Betsy’s Swap Shop” for other people to appreciate, wear and enjoy. Those of you who choose to participate in this process get something you’d love to wear in return.
Clothes Swaps are events where you swap your clothes with friends, acquaintances and/or strangers. We try to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion by offering a better alternative to shopping. People take great quality clothing that’s collecting dust while remaining un-loved in their wardrobes and swap them for different wonderful garms of your choosing! It is an excellent way of renewing your wardrobe without the guilt of spending a fortune on the high street, without the danger of harming the planet.
Betsy’s Closet Manifesto is based on 3 key points:
Second Hand First
One size does NOT fit all
Do I really need it? Our choices as conscious consumers make a statement: We want to slow down the machine and prevent textiles from ending up in landfill. The swap is not a GUILT CLEANSER, not a quick-fix-absolution from our fast fashion sins. We try to live sustainably and to reduce our carbon footprint by sharing the clothes we already have collectively.
Swapping clothes is just one way to help put an end to wasteful behaviour. Swishing is sustainable for your bank account too! Create a wardrobe by combining individual pieces. In this way, you can form outfits for any occasions … and all for the price of a pair of socks!
Imagine what might happen if, rather than falling into the trap of immediately buying something new, we instead start to use and share our fashion items as a community of like-minded people. The big corporations will have to notice the trend and might stop squeezing all the natural resources out of the planet and all the money out of our wallets.
Let’s consume less, let’s produce less, let’s spend more time enjoying food, music and nature instead. Let’s all get involved in the SWAPLUTION!
Beauty comes in all sizes and shapes. We promote confidence and positive body image. Come to our clothes swap events with a mate or on your own. You will find plenty of friendly faces. Try on something unusual and experiment with your new look. I bet you will be showered with compliments from fellow swappers!
The fast fashion industry wants us to look like cloned mannequins in shop windows: one size fits all, but we are all different! Our clothes send a message. They are a reflection of our personalities and a way to express who we are and how we feel, a creative way to boost our confidence.
Be a gracious swapper. We want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable. Swapping is about sharing and not a race to grab the best pieces.
No sample-sale-elbowing your way through the rails to grab that 90% off designer dress (which might not even fit after all!). If you do not like shopping centres and outlets, Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop is your natural habitat. At the swap we relax, we experiment trying on something different, we see something which “this is just your style pal!” [congratulations, you broke the ice and just made a new friend]
There is something for everyone take time, enjoy yourself and the right piece will FIND YOU; make sure you stay for the whole event as new items are added all the time when new swappers check in. Not just for #fashionistas, our events strive to be a platform to share ideas and connect with #likemindedpeople. Never judge the book by the cover, but if you are drawn to someone’s #look chances are you got something in common, and that is a friend who you have not met yet.
If you resort to #retailtherapy when you feel down, come to the swap instead.
Do a wardrobe inventory. How about a good old clear out? These clothes too big? Too small? Too far from your current mood? Not quite your style anymore? Probably not, but they are still in good shape and totally wearable. So, take it along with you to the swap!
If something is no longer right for you but it is still in great condition, set it free to a loving new home and make room for new gems that match your unique style. Someone’s trash (not quite literally, bring something you would be proud to give to your friends), is another person’s treasure!
Bring your pieces of excellent quality, unwanted clothing, on hangers if possible, to trade and exchange for other gently worn items.
No shoes, bags, jewellery, bathrobes, pyjamas or night wear, tights/plain leggings, underwear, lingerie, slippers, socks, stockings. No badly stained, shrunk, bobbly or ruined items. Check seams, hems, buttons, zips. Scan for rips, tears, loose sequins or beading, etc. Items that fail to meet these standards will not be accepted and will be returned to you. For hygienic reason and as a courtesy to your fellow swapper, wash all items.
Our motto is, “Bring the quality you expect to find.” The swap is not an upgrade. It is an exchange of equal value.
Hand in your unwanted clothes at the check-in counter. Our team checks quality, weighs the garment to record how much textile waste you are diverting from the landfill it would otherwise end up in. We will then issue you with a membership card and record your token credit.
Move on to the main floor and start to browse. Choose from the many new items that are continuously being placed on the rails. Kilos of beautiful #garments which you can exchange for other excellent quality #preloved items with a story. Bags and bags of #textilewaste diverted from #landfill, resources put back into #circulareconomy.
Perhaps you will not always leave with the same amount of items you brought. This is why we have membership cards, to keep track of your token credit which can be used at a later date at any of Betsy’s events going forward. To be fair to all swappers, we have introduced a token system because we believe it is a much fairer way to exchange fashion than one-for-one, and it’s more flexible than like-for-like.
At the swap tables and rails are messy, we go for the #jumblesale. Swishing is a game, a #treasurehunt. In shops everything is neatly and carefully arranged in a way that paradoxically makes #choice overwhelming. At the swap you have got a pile of clothes in front of you. You spot a #pattern you like; your hand feels a soft #fabric You look for something you do not know, until you find it. You take your time to assess the quality, to check a #label
Normally you would head to your #sizesection, but do you still believe sizes are an exact science? Can we all be squeezed into an even number system? And as you search for your perfect fit, you might also find something that your friend would absolutely looooove. Take it! This friend always compliments you on your #clothesswapfind but she has never been to an event. Spread the sustainable message and invite them to the next one.
At the swap you find all styles and seasons. And if the latest high street trend does not suit your #figure at the swap you can find all sorts of models and #fashion to enhance your unique #beauty !
Experiment, try something unusual. Or just go for your favourite colour as usual, because it looks good on you and makes you #feelconfident
Take your pick! When you are ready, check out at the front desk and pay using your tokens. How cool, how easy, how convenient, and perhaps most importantly, how sustainable is that?!!
Now every time someone compliments you on your gorgeous ‘new’ outfit, you can proudly answer, “Thanks, I got it at Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop”.
Just by wearing something found at the swap, you will have become a SWAPLUTION AMBASSADOR.
Follow Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop on FB and Instagram; our pages aim to share useful sustainable living tips, spread the eco-friendly message, provoke thoughts, connect like-minded people, have a giggle, encourage behavioural change, promote positive body image, and last but not least appreciate fashion as a creative way of expressing our unique personalities.
We’re thrilled to announce we’ve upgraded to a new venue ‘Hackney House’ for our #SustainableThreads ‘Festival of Sustainable Fashion’ on Saturday 24th November. The event is a celebration of fashion, creativity and recyclability – we’ll be popping up at Hackney House, where you can expect to find a Repair Cafe, The Big #Swish Clothes Swap hosted by @betsysclosetswapshop whilst on the ground floor we’ll be running another Sustainable Threads Panel Discussion. There will be entertainment, refreshments & Eco Stalls promoting how we can make a difference! Come join us – it’s FREE! And in a world where the problems are all around, we need to work together to find Solutions! Let’s have that conversation together. Find tickets at www.lcrn.eventbrite.co.uk
why shop, when you can swap
why buy, when you can try (something different from your ordinary without the guilt of an impulsive purchase)
We’re thrilled to announce we’ve upgraded to a new venue ‘Hackney House’ for our Sustainable Threads ‘Festival of Sustainable Fashion’ on Saturday 24th November.
The event is a celebration of fashion, creativity and recyclability – we’ll be popping up at Hackney House, where you can expect to find a Repair Cafe, The Big Swish Clothes Swap hosted by Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop whilst on the ground floor we’ll be running another Sustainable Threads Panel Discussion.
There will be entertainment, refreshments & Eco Stalls promoting how we can make a difference! Come join us – it’s FREE! And in a world where the problems are all around, we need to work together to find Solutions!
Let’s have that conversation together.
We’ll be posting more about the Swish soon – but are thrilled to have Betsy’s Closet Clothes swap hosting this great part of the event for us!
Please bring up to 5 items of unwanted clean clothes in good repair (any damaged items are better suited for the Repair cafe downstairs!) to swap for Betsy Swap Shop tokens & then get swishing!
We’ll have them sorted onto rails ready for you to find something to swap for & then you can capture the moment of feel-good waste-free fashion on our very own Instagramable Green Carpet!
Sustainable Threads is our continuous conversational space, creating a platform for the fashion consumer to speak and be heard, taking inspiration from each other and focusing on consumer power and achievable, sustainable solutions. http://sustainablethreads.org.uk/
So save the date and bring yourself, your friends & a few unwanted items of clothing to the FREE The Festival of Sustainable Fashion on November 24th 2018
The Festival of Sustainable Fashion is a celebration of fashion, creativity and recyclability. Popping up at Hackney House in East London, you can expect to find a Repair Cafe, The Big Swish Clothes Swap hosted by Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop, panel discussions and eco stalls.
Sustainable Threads is our continuous conversational space, creating a platform for the fashion consumer to speak and be heard, taking inspiration from each other and focusing on consumer power and achievable, sustainable solutions.
Please save the date and bring your unwanted items of clothing to the FREE The Festival of Sustainable Fashion on November 24th 2018
Consumers have power, and through our roundtable we explored how we can best inspire and utilise this consumer power. What was apparent is how much we all care and are concerned about the issues coming to light in the industries. Plastic pollution, microfibres, throw away attitudes, and a lack of education in basic sewing skills taught to our younger generation, are just a handful of the topics we delved into on Saturday.
It may seem like a lot to take in, but our mission is to break it down into achievable changes that we can all adopt and incorporate into our lives. We have spotted an abundance of talent in the communities around London and we are working to provide a list of reliable and local businesses who hold sustainability as a core value. Where are your local tailors, darners and menders? We are looking for them!
Sustainable Threads The Festival of Sustainable Fashion is a collaborative project withLCRN (London Community Resource Network)fully funded by the NLWA (North London Waste Authority), joining creative forces to seek solutions and offer resources and inspiration to encourage consumer responsibility in waste management. On Saturday 29th September we held our first event at The Old Fire Station in Stoke Newington where we welcomed the community to enter into conversation with us about current sustainability issues and attitudes towards consumerism in the fashion industry. We were delighted and inspired to engage with folks across the spectrum with consumer, long time eco-warrior, crafter and designer all showing up. Our minds are now brimming with ideas that we are looking forward to sharing, at The Festival of Sustainable Fashion on 24th November.
The fashion industry and the consumer currently co-operate within a take-make-dispose paradigm. Fashion is fast and demand for the new is a constant. A life without clothes would be somewhat interesting, but do we need to continue mass producing on this global scale? It is obvious to many of us, whether we are, designer, maker or consumer, that the textile industry is running on a broken system that does not currently align itself to the needs of the modern consumer, nor to the needs of our environment and the earth. This is part perpetuated by the industry itself and through the media, which encourages capitalist led consumer behaviour in us all. But instead of passing blame, the truth is that we all have a responsibility. And it is time to take that responsibility and check our own behaviour. The Fashion Revolution have steered the campaign #WhoMadeMyClothes encouraging many people to start asking questions directly to retailers to trace the supply chain and demand transparency.
For decades we have been encouraged that spending our money and having more than we need is fun. But growing and creating the things we need is fun, empowering and rewarding. Working with our hands, sharing the story of an item you love to wear, have mended, or made yourself, is a beautiful thing.
And as we now witness how much waste we are burying in the ground, dumping into our rivers and oceans, or burning at incineration plants, it is time to say no to Black Friday cons and throw away fashions. Join us on Saturday November 24th in Hackney and save yourself money by learning how a ‘Made-to-treasure’ attitude can better serve you, your community and our environment
The Old Fire Station Community Centre | 61 Leswin Road | N16 7NX London | United Kingdom
Saturday, 29 September 2018 from 11:30 to 16:00 (BST)
Come join us on the 29th September for a free Roundtable Discussion on reducing waste on post-consumerist fashion.
This Saturday sees us hosting Sustainable Threads round table discussion hosted by Charles Craft, free and open to the public to partake and share their voice/perspective. We are eager to understand what the public know of environmental issues within the fashion industry and how a team of enthusiastic change makers can empower, assist and encourage networks for change through upcycling, sharing, swapping, mending, altering & recycling.
By shifting attitudes from throwaway fashion to ‘made to treasure’ up-cycled couture, we hope to both inspire and enable the local community to reconsider how they might reduce waste with their fashion habits. This is the first event of the two-part ‘Festival of Sustainable Fashion‘ taking place in North London this Autumn. As part our our commitment to reducing throwaway fashion, after the Roundtable, there will be a free clothes swap. We’d love for all attendees to bring three pieces of clean, unwanted clothing for this part of the event. This project was funded by the North London Waste Authority.
There’s a great guide on what a clothes swap ‘Swish’ is here