On Friday, August 17th we hosted our second annual Swap Shop event. In the spirit of sustainable commerce, we gathered at the Wunder Garten to bring the DC community together to trade used clothing, shoes, and accessories.

Every year, millions of quality items are sent to landfills, resulting in billions of pounds in waste. The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world, surpassed only by petroleum. As Emily Farra, Fashion Editor at Vogue explains, “picking up and disposing of brand-new clothes all the time drives demand for nonstop manufacturing, which contributes to the fashion industry’s incredible waste.”

However, consumers have a chance to improve this situation by practicing secondhand shopping. Farra continues, “when you buy something old and previously-loved, you’re extending its lifespan and reducing its carbon footprint.” ThredUP estimates that buying a used garment extends its life on average by 2.2 years which reduces carbon, waste, and water footprints by 73%.

A recent piece in The Atlantic titled “We Are All Accumulating Mountains of Things” further underscores the importance and potential impact of events like Swap Shop. We think it’s time to start thinking about how we shop, embracing the idea of reuse, and supporting businesses with a strong sustainability commitment. What better place to start than a free clothing swap?

For every item that attendees brought to the event, they received a ticket which could be used to trade in for other items at the Swap Shop. Most attendees came with 20+ articles of clothing, and walked away with a new wardrobe! Over 4,000 items were brought to the event to be reused.

Clothing leftover at the end of the day – almost 600 lbs worth – went to Goodwill. The profit from these items will provide 72 hours of free job training and education opportunities for individuals in their community facing a barrier to obtaining employment.

Outside of the clothing swap, we also hosted a textile recycling table, in partnership with the DC Sustainable Fashion Collective, and an accessory repair table, in partnership with Stitched with Style. The whole event was hosted in partnership with ReThread DC, the District of Columbia’s textile reuse & recovery initiative.

To learn more about recommerce, be sure to read the infographic below that we created for Earth Day this year.