Could you buy nothing new in 2022? Meet the clothes swappers of Yorkshire on a mission to save the planet and reduce fast fashion

Could you buy nothing new in 2022? Meet the clothes swappers of Yorkshire on a mission to save the planet and reduce fast fashion.

Clothes swishing and swapping in person, online and via apps is becoming increasingly fashionable for people to save money, refresh their wardrobe and reduce the damaging impact of fast fashion.

One Yorkshire clothes swapper is vowing to “buy nothing new in 2022,” after being inspired by Leeds Clothes Exchange which was set up in 2008 and now has almost 3500 members on their database.

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“I’ve had to get out of the habit of quickly ordering from Amazon. But it’s more of a habit, than a need,” said Sarah Cutts who is a former debt advisor.

Victoria Chic modelling for Ronel Martin who specialises in boudoir maternity shoots, using Epta Maternity Rentals

She said: “I’ve been trying to reduce my family’s waste for a while. And after going along to the Leeds Clothes Exchange, I realised what a brilliant initiative it is.”

Knowing how much it could benefit people in her own area, especially those with money issues, Sarah decided to organise a Wakefield Clothes Exchange.

“You wouldn’t believe how many items are from fast fashion labels, so at least we are doing our bit to negate some of the impact,” said Sarah.

Fast fashion is cheap and popular which is why the production of clothing garments has doubled in recent years but garment usage life has decreased however.

CLOBBER SWAP FOUNDER Camille Johnson

It’s said that the costs cut by fast fashion negatively impact the environment twice over, producing more carbon emissions than aviation and shipping combined.

“We all have far too many items of clothing that we never wear and forget about but actually we could be swapping it, up-cycling or donating it,” said Sarah.

She added that people are often put off by the idea of swapping clothes but everything is carefully quality-controlled so that everyone can swap and receive good quality items.

“There’s so much pressure for everything to be designer labels or to wear different outfits at each event, that people are ending up in debt just to keep up with the Jones,’” said Sarah whose mission is to get everyone clothes swapping, including those who are in debt.

Leeds Clothes Exchange Co-director Lauren Cowdery

She said that people often buy more to feel good in the short-term but then debt can creep up on them.

“Clothes swapping can save the planet and money too,” explained Sarah who has joined the Nothing new in ‘22 facebook group in which members work together to find solutions so that they avoid buying anything new this year.

“With the cost of living rising, more online influence and the popularity of buy now pay later sites such as Klarna, it’s only going to get worse but we can all do our little bit to contribute positively and create change,” explained Sarah.

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But even some influencers modelling fast fashion for their followers are becoming more eco and cost conscious.

An aspiring change maker is fashion and beauty influencer Victoria Chic from Yorkshire who has used instagram to model a range of clothes but she now tries to counteract this as much as possible through using the Vinted clothes swapping and selling app.

She said: “I get sent lots of stuff to model online, I then sell or swap it on Vinted or donate.

Instagrammer Victoria who has built a loyal following of more than 300k admits that most influencers who do shopping haul videos also take the clothes back after modelling in them.

“I love doing Primark shopping hauls because I like trying new clothes, styles and colours. But I couldn’t afford to buy all those clothes all of the time, so I take most stuff back.”

Victoria said that most influencers do this which is a common practice in the fashion and beauty industry.

When it comes to buying clothes to keep, Victoria said that she enjoys “car boots and charity shops.”

In Victoria’s recent maternity photoshoot she said that she wore “some of the most amazing gowns” which were from the photographer Ronel Martin’s studio wardrobe for models to wear rather than new.

Another way social media has been used to counteract the negative impact of fast fashion trends, is the rise of local facebook groups where people swap high quality goods.

From swapping fast fashion to designer labels

Yorkshire Entrepreneur Camille Johnson said she had lost her fashionista “mojo” at the start of the pandemic which spurred her to set up her own ‘Clobber Swap’ facebook group, prior to returning to work.

The group has gone from 30 friends swapping to now nearly 7000 members in two years.

“At the turn of 2020, I felt like I’d lost a bit of sparkle. I decided to take charge and give my work wardrobe a shake up and de-clutter, arranging two piles: one for me and one for my three sisters. I couldn’t believe how many unworn, quality items I had in my wardrobe and thought why oh why do I have so many clothes.

“The pile for my sisters was much larger than the clothes for charity and to my disgust, many were brand new with tags.

“I wondered if anyone else would be interested in clothes swapping fab clobber,” said Camille who lives in Huddersfield.

This was the birth of Clobber Swap which Camille said is making a real name for itself amongst females in Yorkshire.

“The clobber love is so visible and this gives women the confidence they need to explore fashion and feel good about themselves.

“After Clobber Swapping with lots of local ladies, I felt I was starting to get my zing back.

“The best thing was, that so were all the other Clobber Swap members,” added Camille who runs The Hive Co-Working space in Wakefield.

300,000 items go to landfill each year so clothes swapping is one way we can extend the life of an item reducing the amount going to waste, explained Camille.

“One of the best things about Clobber Swap is that it’s a sustainable and a guilt-free way to refresh your wardrobe. Your unwanted clothes don’t have to hurt the planet by going to landfill,” she said.

Creating a Swapping movement

The group grew organically to over 6,000 members throughout the region in 12 months, reaching over 60,000 women across the country.

There’s more than 3000 posts and 13000 comments every month in the group which has become a “fun and quite addictive” community, said Camille.

So much so group now hosts regular live events such as make up tutorials, fitness and diet sessions.

Camille who has since registered the group as a business, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled by Clobber Swap’s success so far.

“We have women of all shapes, sizes and ages using clobber swap; it’s wonderful. “With utility bills and the cost of living at an all time high, this is a way to look good and feel fabulous everyday without it costing the earth.”

Visit clobberswap.co.uk to find out more.

Whether you swap clothes online or in person, it seems that us Yorkshire folk love to exchange our preloved items with several ethical pioneers launching their own projects.

Leeds Clothes Exchange which was set up by a group of friends from a small studio in Hyde Park 14 years ago, “has saved approximately 126,000 items of clothing from landfill,” explained Co-director Lauren Cowdery.

“We process 1000–1500 items per event, holding 9 events a year,” said Lauren, 37, who encouraged other maybe swappers to “just go for it.”

“Come along to one of our events (on the 4th Saturday of the month - excluding July, August and December), swap amongst your friends or set up a swap of your own,” she added.

https://leedscommunityclothesexchange.com

Do you love clothes swapping? Let us know and set us your ‘eco find’ photos @YorkshirePost @SophieMeiLan_