Closet Swap: Don’t shop! Swap!
You may have a big wardrobe. But who says it can’t be even bigger? With Closet Swap, an online fashion site and application, you can maximize what your closet can do. Put it to work by sharing your clothing with friends. They get something, you get something, and the fashionista in you walks away satisfied. The idea: Don’t shop, swap. And it’s free.
Commissioned by the U.K.’s Channel 4 Education, the sustainably focused website allows teenage users to snap and upload images of their clothes, tag already-posted Facebook photos and build an online closet. Teens can then share and swap their clothing with their Facebook following, growing their wardrobe without spending a dime.
“The idea for Closet Swap was very organic,” Paulina Bozek, Closet Swap producer, said. “We were looking at raising awareness about sustainability and fashion and wanted to do this in a very accessible way … If you’re looking for that perfect handbag for an outfit, why not borrow it rather than buying? We made Closet Swap a social fashion experience because we believe that fashion has always been social with friends.”
Users can post a Fashion SOS on their Facebook wall, asking their friends to lend perhaps a red handbag to match an outfit or the perfect little black dress for a special occasion. In return, the teens display the lust-worthy items they are willing to share back. The more you swap, the greater your ranking.
“You can use Closet Swap to plan a swap party, and your friends’ closets are always at your fingertips,” Bozek explained.
To further the spirit of recycling, users may also search for nearby vintage and charity shops and read posts that help to educate the socially conscious consumer. Through these articles, teenagers learn the critical issues related to sustainable fashion: how clothes are manufactured, where items come from, who the leading eco-friendly designers are, and the many benefits of buying vintage and non-mass- produced goods.
The site is rooted in Channel 4 Education’s efforts to encourage debate regarding sustainable and ethical fashion production and consumption. The channel regularly offers programs and services to educate teens about key issues.
“The underlying message is about borrowing more and buying less and giving our clothes a longer life rather than constantly consuming and throwing things away. It’s a very accessible way to think about sustainability,” Bozek said.
Along the same lines, the channel released an online game called Sweatshop, in which players operate an off-shore factory, balancing staff, suppliers and sales, designed to teach the difficulties of sweatshops.
“Teens also tend to be the target customer for ‘fast cheap fashion,’ which is an area of the market that puts considerable pressures on the supply chain and other factors to make those clothes so cheap in the first place. It is also great to reach out to people at a younger age when they are forming their philosophies and beliefs,” Bozek said of the site’s targeted audience.
Closet Swap isn’t just for teens. It has also attracted the attention of many stylists and designers. London accessories manufacturer Tatty Devine, vintage style leader Broken Hearts DJs and British sustainable fashion designer Ada Zanditon – who was shown at this year’s London Fashion Week – are among the many lining up to lend items from their personal wardrobes.
“The site is all about personal style and celebrating people’s unique looks and taste. It’s personal and social with friends,” Bozek declared.
Closet Swap is available at www.closetswap.co.uk.