Ms. Asha Hickok
On Wednesday, January 15, CVU students walked into a transformed library. Tables were skewed across the front of the room with piles of clothes organized by different styles and pieces.
Throughout the day, groups of students filtered through the Clothing Swap, chatting with friends and shopping for donated, second-hand clothing pieces.
CVU’s third annual clothing swap has come and gone. The first two swaps occured last year, one in the fall and the other in the spring. This year, the clothing swap was combined into one event hosted in the library in mid-January, and produced a varied crowd of “shoppers.”
“My favorite aspect is there’s a lot of different people shopping and the normalization of second hand [shopping],” states Robin Lauzon, one of the main organizers of the Clothing Swap. Lauzon explains the roots of the swap and how a small idea was able to grow into a successful and multi-purposed event.
“Dana Poulsen was thinking about there being a need for certain things among some of our students. We talked about making it less about ‘who needs what’ and more about sustainability and normalizing second-hand,” Lauzon expresses.
Many students in attendance echoed a similar ideal.
Hamlett has converted her closet to mostly second-hand and has put a lot of focus on seeking out second-hand clothing. She has gone to every clothing swap at CVU so far.
Students and faculty members alike express hope for the continuation of the CVU Clothing Swap in years to come.
The term “fast fashion” refers to inexpensive fashion and brands that produce mass amounts of clothing quickly in order to fit trends at the time of production. Fast fashion draws in audiences of all ages as it provides a cost efficient and trendy option for clothing, but at what cost?
According to Business Insider, “The…industry produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions, is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply, and pollutes the oceans with microplastics.” Although it may be convenient in the moment, the long term effects of continuing to support fast fashion in the US and globally could have detrimental effects on the environment and, eventually, the economy.
While these statistics do cause shock and panic in readers, it does not mean that a person must go home and throw out their entire wardrobe and begin shopping only at second-hand stores. There are ways to slowly incorporate these habits into one’s life in order to help make a small impact. It can be as simple as asking an older cousin, sibling, or even a grandparent if they have any hand-me-downs that one might be interested in. Another option is to pick one article of clothing and only look in second-hand shops when one needs that article. (For example, only buying second-hand jeans or winter coats).
“I think one of the cool aspects of [swapping] is that it’s second-hand clothes for free available to all the students at CVU,” says Miranda Hamlett, a CVU junior and clothing swap participant. “So I see tons of people coming through here and looking at stuff and just having a fun time trying things on and stuff.”
Hamlett shares her own views on “reusing” clothes. “A lot of my clothes are second hand or they’re from my grandma so I’m used to it and like it a lot.”
Finally, it is important to note that not all second-hand shopping needs to be expensive, vintage stores that only carry used designer clothing. Places like Goodwill, Battery Street Jeans, and Plato’s Closet have affordable and trendy options.
So, the next time your parents are yelling at you about the hole in the armpit of your favorite sweater or how your jeans are starting to look more like shorts, think about turning to an alternative option other than your favorite fast fashion store.