Have you heard of “swapping?” Swapping has become really popular around the country in the past couple years with the recession, primarily around swapping clothes, but also extending out to furniture and even motorcycles! The logistics of each swap meet event varies, but for a small entrance fee or sometimes no fee at all, you bring clothes that are in good condition but that you don’t want anymore. Other people do the same, and you get to swap the clothes people brought in by “shopping” and taking them home with you! The Swapaholics, founded here in Boston by two friends who love fashion, have been very busy the past couple years hosting events now all around the country. You can watch some great interviews with them here about what happens at a clothes swap.
Swap events are the ultimate in sustainable fashion. So it’s clear how swap meets made a lot of sense when the recession hit and people needed to cut back. These events have been a great way to still get that “retail therapy” fix we all need, but for little to no cost. It’s become more accepted over these penny-pinching years to shop at consignment stores, repeat wearing your clothes more often, and attend these swap events. But, as the economy starts to pick-up again and people’s discretionary income comes back, will people go back to the mall and skip over wearing other people’s clothes? Or have these events introduced a brand new way of responsible shopping that is here to stay?
I think even if the recession is going away, people are still struggling to get by and it will take years to get back to where we were before it all went downhill. With gas prices going up now due to the protests in North Africa, the cost of clothes and food are the next things to rise, so cutting back on the excesses of shopping will be here for awhile. I do think for those people who are not so passionate about the consignment store way of shopping, they will be the first to go back to the traditional way of buying new clothes as soon as they have the money to spend. But for people who have always been interested in sustainability, but just found out about responsible clothes shopping, swap events will be here despite the economy.
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