Second chances, Hollywood style
On Oscar eve, The Swapaholics host the 'Green the Red Carpet Sip & Swap 2011' in Los Angeles. Check out these green tips for old and new clothes.
Saturday, February 26, 2011 - 16:45
GLITZ, GLAMOUR, GREEN: The spotlight is on sustainable wardrobes at clothing swaps. (Photo: Derek Purdy/Flickr)
To mix a little green in with Oscar gold this weekend, The Swapaholics swooped into town with a special Academy Awards weekend mixer they described as "a fun night of retail therapy meets recycling with America's favorite clothing swap hostesses."
In case you don't know, there are two Swapaholics: Amy Chase and Melissa Massello. The ladies behind the in-person clothing exchanges, who also work with online trading post Swap.com, share "a love of vintage and thrift shopping," and their stylized swaps have gone from being East Coast events to across-the-country gatherings. Chase and Massello are "dedicated to reviving the age-old clothing swap, spreading the love for secondhand style and sharing their trendsetting take on budget fashion with modern swappers nationwide."
From rummage sales in the U.S. during the Great Depression to the "Make Do and Mend" effort in Britain during World War II, scarcity of food, clothing and other resources has historically prompted people to recycle, remodel and rethink their wardrobes.
Writing about the "Make Do and Mend" movement in The Other Side magazine, Katie Cox contemplates how repurposing has again become in vogue, perhaps in response to current economic woes and growing environmental awareness. Cox says that, "The key to make do and mending is to value the life of something. If you can't think of how to transform something yourself then please don't toss it."
Enter the clothing swap. The hope is that someone out there will have a vision for your odds and ends — the pieces that don't quite fit into your wardrobe or home.
If a clothing swap is not your thing, another way to shrink your closet's eco-impact is to sell to (and buy from) secondhand and vintage clothing stores. Here in Los Angeles we're lucky to have a range of resale boutique options. Two of my favorites are Squaresville, in Los Feliz, and Wasteland, which has locations on Melrose Avenue and in Santa Monica, Burbank and Studio City.
Of course, when selling or swapping is not an option, you can extend the life of your extra items by donating them. Swap.com features a link to Swap4Schools, an initiative that donates books, CDs, DVDs and media to classrooms. Dress for Success, an international non-profit that furnishes each of its clients with professional wardrobe items for interviews and new jobs, aims to support disadvantaged women as they secure financial independence. A Care2 article by Terri Hall mentions Dress for Success, as well as its masculine counterpart, Career Gear, along with a few other specialized collection organizations. And there's always Goodwill and Salvation Army, or local shelters, all of which accept with gratitude the items you no longer find useful — but that someone else just might.