Swish and style 10 February 2017

The fast-fashion backlash is building momentum as more and more of us are aware that the clothes we buy have a bigger story than just looking pretty. Chemical-soaked cotton plants, unsafe working conditions, items made to last only a few washes and only a few weeks before the next must-have hits the shelves.

And once we’ve bought it, we don’t always wear it. 36% of us own an item that we’ve never worn. And around 30% of our wardrobe hasn’t seen the outside of the closet for a year. Some of us donate unwanted clothes to charity shops but 900,000 tonnes of clothes get sent to landfill in the UK each year. In fact, every five minutes we chuck away 10,000 items of clothes.

But the tide is turning. Two-thirds of us buy and wear second-hand clothes, either from charity shops or from swishes (that’s a clothes swap for the uninitiated). Swishes are a great way to tackle both textile waste and your shopping habit. Not only do you get to clear your wardrobe of those never-worn items, you pick up new-to-you clothes that don’t cost a penny and prevent them from spending the rest of their life, unworn or rotting away in landfill.

Keep Britain Tidy are working in partnership with North London Waste Authority (NLWA) as part of their Wise up to Waste campaign to bring swishing to north London. Seven Swish and Style events are taking place over February and March for local residents to swap clothes, learn how to do simple fixes and take part in textile upcycling workshops. They’ll also be plenty of information about textile waste, sustainable fashion brands and local sewing and alteration courses too.

So if you live in north London and you’re tired of your t-shirts or wish you had some different dresses, pop along to one of the free local events. Don’t live near North London? Check out swishing.com for an event near you. Or set up your own.