“Aja Barber-Inspired: Embracing Conscious Consumerism Through Preloved Clothes and Accessories Swapping Parties”
Hey, fashion-forward friends! What would you name a party for fashion-loving girlfriends that has a playful vibe while embracing sustainability? I call it ‘Fashion Playground’: A pre-loved clothes and accessories exchange and style-digging event.
I recently moved to Bangkok, and one of the first things I wanted to do was host my first-ever Fashion Playground. What a way to formally introduce my style-digging passion, and let me tell you, it was like a shopping spree without guilt!
I am pleasantly surprised to have found some amazing like-minded ladies who were excited to gather to swap our gently used clothes and accessories. This we did without the guilt of contributing to the massive carbon footprint of the fashion industry. It is not easy to always think of sustainability when it comes to fashion, it almost feels like a challenge that belongs to the big companies, and those who are put in roles to solve the continued waste of material and fashion items.
Well… I am here to share some light that you and I have the power to get involved. The great part about this is that we can do it in the most loving and fashion forward way.
Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined? That’s a lot of damage to our love of fast fashion!
I have always been interested in fashion and sustainability and one of my favourite things to do, besides shopping sustainably and throwing fashion parties, is listening to fashion podcasts while walking around a nearby lake or putting on my makeup. There are a few podcasts that I love, but I am particularly fond of Dressed. As a fashion stylist and style digger, I truly appreciate how the hosts, April Calahan and Cassidy Zachary, dig into the fascinating world of fashion and its intersection with history, culture, and society. In one of the episodes that I have recently listened to, April and Cassidy interviewed Aja Barber. Aja Barber is a writer, stylist, consultant, and sustainable fashion advocate based in London, UK. She is known for her work promoting ethical and sustainable fashion and is a prominent voice in the movement for more responsible and conscious consumption.
What she shared has left me feeling incredibly inspired. Hearing from industry experts who are passionate about ethical and sustainable practices has given me a new perspective on how to approach fashion. Aja Barber’s insights on the impact of fast fashion and the importance of considering the social and environmental implications of our clothing choices were especially powerful.
So, at the party, I channelled my inner Aja Barber and started some critical conversations with the ladies about the current impact of the fashion industry.
1. Environmental degradation: The fashion industry is responsible for a significant amount of environmental degradation, including pollution from textile dyeing and finishing, water consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and transportation.
2. Waste generation: The fast fashion model promotes a culture of disposable clothing, leading to a high level of textile waste generation. The average American throws away about 80 pounds of clothing per year.
3. Labour exploitation: Many workers in the fashion industry, particularly in developing countries, face low wages, long working hours, and poor working conditions. This includes child labour and forced labour.
4. Supply chain transparency: The complexity of the fashion supply chain makes it difficult for consumers to know where their clothes come from, who made them, and under what conditions they were produced.
5. Water pollution: The textile dyeing and finishing process is a significant source of water pollution, as it involves the release of toxic chemicals into waterways. This can have serious consequences for both human health and the environment.
6. Microplastic pollution: Synthetic fibres like polyester and nylon shed tiny plastic fibres when washed, which can end up in waterways and oceans, harming marine life and ecosystems.
7. Carbon emissions: The fashion industry is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with the production, transportation, and disposal of clothing all contributing to climate change.
8. Overconsumption: The fast fashion model promotes the overconsumption of clothing, leading to a culture of buying and discarding items quickly, contributing to waste and environmental damage.
9. Animal cruelty: The production of certain materials, like leather, fur, and wool, can involve animal cruelty and exploitation.
10. Health impacts: The use of chemicals in textile production can have negative health impacts on both workers and consumers, including skin irritation, respiratory problems, and cancer.
For as big as problems seem and far out of reach the solutions for us, as individuals, we still can highlight some interesting and quite approachable ways to become conscious and responsible consumers:
Here are some tips that we can use to join forces with all the amazing fashion leaders that are working towards a better and more sustainable fashion industry.
1. Shop second-hand: Buying second-hand clothing is a great way to be sustainable. Thrift stores, consignment shops, and online resale platforms like Poshmark and ThredUp are all great places to find high-quality, gently used clothing.
2. Buy from sustainable brands: Look for brands that use sustainable materials and ethical manufacturing practices. Some examples include Patagonia, Everlane, and Reformation
3. Invest in high-quality pieces: Invest in high-quality pieces that will last for years to come. This will save you money in the long run and reduce the amount of clothing you need to buy.
4. Rent clothing: Consider renting clothing for special events instead of buying something new. There are several online rental services, like Rent the Runway, that allow you to rent high-end clothing for a fraction of the cost of buying.
5. Support local and small businesses: Shopping at local and small businesses supports your community and reduces the environmental impact of shipping products long distances.
6. Repair and repurpose clothing: Instead of throwing away clothing that is damaged or no longer fits, try repairing or repurposing it. You can turn old t-shirts into cleaning rags or make a patchwork quilt out of old jeans.
7. Avoid fast fashion: Fast fashion is cheaply made clothing that is designed to be worn for a short period before being thrown away. Avoiding fast fashion reduces the amount of clothing waste in landfills.
8. Choose natural and sustainable materials: Look for clothing made from natural and sustainable materials like organic cotton, hemp, and linen.
9. Wash clothing responsibly: Washing clothing less often and using cold water can help reduce the environmental impact of doing laundry.
10. Donate clothing: Donating clothing to charity or a clothing swap event is a great way to give your clothes a second life and reduce waste. In conclusion, swapping parties are a great way to make a positive impact on the environment while having fun with fashion. By joining the sustainable fashion movement, we can collectively drive change and demand a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry. So, let’s dig deep and get stylish with sustainable fashion!
So, let’s make sustainable fashion the new norm and demand a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry. And who knows, maybe we’ll inspire others to join the sustainable fashion movement and reduce their environmental impact.
In conclusion, swapping parties are a great way to make a positive impact on the environment while having fun with fashion. By joining the sustainable fashion movement, we can collectively drive change and demand a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry. So, let’s dig deep and get stylish with sustainable fashion!