SWOP clothing exchange is leading the way in sustainable fashion. Brigid and Bethany run the West End shop with the mentality that stylish doesn’t need to coincide with superficial – you can be fashionable and still have an environmental conscience.
Being a fashion student myself, I’ve grown used to the judgement that we’re all wasteful, vain and only interested in owning the newest and best. We’re presumed to have little consideration for our impact on the environment, and aren't really aware of what’s going on in our own industry. However, this persona is beginning to change. With increased publicity and greater awareness of the serious impacts of fast fashion, stylish lads and ladies are now offered many alternatives.
The fashion industry is infamously associated with continual waste and consumption, portraying the complete opposite of a sustainable future. Armstrong and LeHew, authors of Sustainable Apparel Product Development confirm that the manufacturing and design processes of fast fashion have severe social, environmental and economic consequences. Right now, Australians are spending nearly $1.7 billion on new clothes every year.
"The ladies are totally rad, the clothes are excellent and the vibe is rocking..."
Previously there has been little availability of fashionable items that don’t come at a severe cost to the environment. The sustainable fashion industry has been largely dominated with bland, hippy-ish clothing. Eco brands are under promoted and are often targeted at an older market. SWOP provides a desirable alternative, to find new clothes without necessarily minimising your wardrobe.
Skov and Meir, commenting on the sustainability at Fashion Week state that it is unlikely that the fashion industry will be a frontrunner towards an environmentally friendly future. The idea of sustainability will presumably always be secondary to the typical fashion mentality. However, I believe that the predisposition of consumerism and superficiality within the fashion industry is out dated. People are aware of the current situation and are making changes.
SWOP gives the consumer an opportunity to give their quality pre-loved clothes a new life, and take home another’s treasures. It reflects a “contemporary curiosity with nostalgic sensibility, ready to be re-worn, relived and enjoyed anew”.
SWOP is located in a funky, hole-in-the-wall type warehouse shop, just off Boundary Street. The ladies are totally rad, the clothes are excellent and the vibe is rocking, check it out and support a sustainable future.
SWOP is open Wednesday to Friday from 10am-5pm, and Saturday-Sunday from 9am-3pm. They buy on Fridays.
They can be found at Factory 1, 93 Boundary St West End.
Their Instagram is pretty cool too @_swop