Published: The Voice of Fashion, September 28, 2018
Mumbai will witness its first-ever clothes swap at Fairtrunk Offline’s third and to-date biggest sustainable event
On October 6, Mumbai is going to see what is potentially the city’s first official clothes swap. While traditionally hand-me-downs are a part of the fabric of Indian society, swapping clothes has not yet made it to accepted fashionista parlance. Bursting wardrobes and the ongoing dialogue on sustainable fashion encourage the thought that a pre-loved garment in good condition that one may have outgrown—in terms of size, fit, style or interest—may work wonderfully for someone else.
Dhawal Mane, Global Fashion Exchange (GFX) Ambassador for India, who has organised three such swaps (called SwapStitched) in Bengaluru, the most recent being September 22, is ready to take the concept to other cities. In Fairtrunk Offline—an event-based offshoot of the slow-fashion digital marketplace, Fairtrunk—Mane has found a worthy platform to partner with. He says: “I would like to see more people embracing swapping and bartering as a form of consumption. It is a mindset shift: from ownership to access, albeit mindfully.” For the Mumbai swap, Seams For Dreams (SFD), a charity organisation by actress Evelyn Sharma, will be sharing some pre-loved, gently used clothing items by designers, and all the leftover clothing items will be donated to the ones in need by SFD.
Vast Creative Possibilities
India witnessed—what Mane states is—probably the country’s biggest swap when he got inspired by the GFX’s global swap event during the worldwide movement, Fashion Revolution Week 2018. Mane went on to become the local ambassador for swaps and organised the first swap event in Bengaluru, where 150 items of clothing were traded among 60 attendees in four hours. So far, 190 items have been swapped, among 85 people from Bengaluru, while diverting approximately 150 kg of clothing from a landfill or an incinerator. These swaps are also a part of the 1 million pound partnership with GFX, which is the quantity of clothing that GFX aims to save from ending up in a landfill in 2018.
SwapStitched events are scheduled to take place in Bengaluru once every two months on weekends, in different locations. Says Mane: “While the number of attendees is increasing with every swap, we also have repeat swappers because it is a fun process exploring different designs from in-season to vintage, providing infinite creative possibilities of styling an outfit—where no two products will be the same—while being light on the pocket.”
Building a Slow Fashion Community
SwapStitched is only one of the events that Fairtrunk Offline is organising in its day-long event at Pioneer Hall in Bandra. In the past, Fairtunk Offline has held two events, the most recent being a part of Fashion Revolution week in April, and included a documentary screening, blogger meet-up, panel discussions, and an upcycling workshop. Its third edition will be the largest Fairtrunk Offline event to date, which will include a curated slow-fashion pop-up with 25 young brands across fashion and lifestyle, workshops with designers like Anuj Sharma from Button Masala and talks on sustainable fashion. The decor is planned with upcycled fabric. Darshana Gajare, founder of Fairtrunk and Fairtrunk Offline, expects a turnout of two to three thousand people.
Msafiri, One of the brands showing at the pop-up.
Fairtrunk Offline was launched to increase awareness about sustainable fashion, creating experiences and building a mindful community, as evidenced in their #SlowTheFuckDown campaign. Gajare started both projects last year, after watching ‘The True Cost’, a documentary on the global effects of fast fashion. While spreading awareness about sustainability, Gajare discovered that consumers were asking for alternate options. This led to her launching an online marketplace, which now gives space to over 30 slow-fashion brands.
The lack of transparency, regulation and accountability in India forced Gajare to do her own groundwork in the selection of the brands. Being bootstrapped means that she can’t physically go to review each supply chain, but she “takes the time to meet and understand the brand ethos and to gauge if they are invested in the cause.” While admitting that it is not a foolproof method, her work as a part of the Fashion Revolution India team helps give her the muscle to evaluate brands and spread the word.
You can bring up to 10 pieces of good quality, unwanted clothing. (Socks, underwear, lingerie, nightwear, pyjamas are not allowed.) Every item will be checked for quality, only approved pieces will make it to the swap floor. You get a coupon for an accepted piece of clothing that you have brought which can be used to pick up another piece of clothing that you want or retained for another swap event. Read more here.