Swap, don't shop

Updated: Oct 05, 2018, 11:09 IST | Debjani Paul | Mumbai

Love fashion but don't want to contribute to the second most polluting industry in the world? Try your hand at clothes-wapping and more at a slow fashion event

A student shows the Button Masala draping technique. Pic courtesy JD Institute
A student shows the Button Masala draping technique. Pic courtesy JD Institute

We all have that one shirt or dress that we've worn once and then shoved to the back of the closet. And, every time the wardrobe opens, the sight of it fills you with guilt.

Did you know that 40 per cent of clothes are rarely or never worn and merely discarded? Instead of throwing your less loved clothes in the bin, gather them and head to Fairtrunk Offline, a slow fashion fair in Bandra. The good folks there will show you how to give the outfits a second life, either by upcycling them or swapping them with someone.

A student shows the Button Masala draping technique. Pic courtesy JD Institute

Swish, swish
Across the world, "swap, don't shop" has become a mantra among fashion lovers, including British royals Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. The way clothes swapping, aka swishing, works is: "People bring in good quality clothes they no longer want, and our quality team checks each and every piece. We rule out any loose stitches or missing buttons," says Dhawal Mane, Global Fashion Exchange ambassador for India, who has conducted several SwapStitched events across India.

"Participants will receive a token for each item they bring, and they can then use that to pick up something else they like from the collection," he adds. Fairtrunk Offline is a full-day event and is the first of its kind in the city, says Darshana Gajare, organiser and founder of Fairtrunk, an online platform for sustainable and ethical fashion.

Sew cool
Another highlight at the event is a demonstration of Button Masala, a technique developed by designer Anuj Sharma that involves zero cutting or waste and uses just buttons to create a complete garment. "Participants can bring fabric of their choice, and we will provide buttons and rubber bands. Anuj will take everyone through the technique step-by-step, and we'll help them build the garment or anything they want to make, be it a top, cushion cover or bracelet. They'll go home with a new product and skill as well," says Gajare. There will also be a Q&A session with Shyam Sukhramani, the founder of Korra Jeans, a sustainable denim brand. "Everyone wears denims, but it will be news to many that you can find a sustainable pair of jeans that results in zero waste," she says.

Shoppers will be able to choose from 25 ethical fashion brands at the pop-up, but as Gajare emphasises: "This is not just a pop-up; buying is the lowest priority in slow fashion. We want people to come and learn how brands work and what sustainable fashion is all about."

On: October 6, 10 am onwards
At: Pioneer Hall, St John the Baptist Road, Bandra West.
Cost: Rs 100 (entry); Rs 2,500 (Button Masala workshop)

Arya Tiwari

Arya Tiwari, 22,
Digital marketer
Slow fashion can be expensive, so it's hard to build a sustainable wardrobe. By swapping, you don't have to buy new clothes all the time, and you no longer have to throw away unused items.

Reagan Creado

Reagan Creado, 37,
Organic farmer
I use sustainable clothing, mostly khadi, at home and out on the fields. I'm keen on clothes-swapping, so I hope there will be enough men participating. I also want to learn more about upcycling.

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