This past weekend I hosted my third community clothing swap here in Busan. The idea was exactly the same as the last two that I’ve hosted, all are welcome, donate what you can or come empty handed, walk away with as much as you like. The reasons why I don’t require donations by all are: 1. There’s an excess of clothing left behind by expat teachers whom have moved on from Korea and 2. My hope is that people will find clothing through this sustainable manner rather than by supporting Fast Fashion.
Although this swap was very similar to my past two, there were a few minor differences I made after learning some lessons from the previous ones. Here’s what was different.
- More Strict Donation Requirements –
At the last swap I got swamped with left over donations. A handful of friends and I took hours to sort through the piles and piles of clothes, placing them in either a massive garbage bag (we filled three,) a bag to be taken to a second hand shop (there were about 10,) or a pile to be sold at a market. This time I asked that people bring only high quality, no stains, no intimates. Initially I had faith that an outline like that wouldn’t be needed, but I turned out to be wrong. At this swap the clothes were in nicer condition and there weren’t as many to sort through in the end.
- Change of Venue – The cafe where my first two swaps were held has sadly since shut down, so I moved location to a foreign-run bar in Gwangan – HQ. It was fun to have the swap at a bar. When I contacted them I referenced having a girls brunch day and they complied with a mimosa special during the time of the swap. Just like the last two swaps, purchase of a drink was suggested in lieu of an entrance fee.
- Sneak Attack Ethics Lecture – Ok, so that might be misleading, but I did give a short five minute talk about my reasons for hosting swaps. At the very first swap I incorporated a talk about the fashion industry and sustainability (or rather lack of sustainability) which was scheduled to happen right before the swap began. A few people attended and were interested, but a lot of people didn’t come early for it, so this time I didn’t tell anyone I was going to do it, I just requested a mic from the bar and stood on my soap box at the height of the swap. I’m not sure how well received it was, but I hope that I reached a few people.
Swaps are really fun and easy to organize. I received a lot of feedback from attendees that they enjoy them and look forward to the next one. I hope they realize that they don’t have to wait for a large community swap to be organized; it would be super easy to host seasonal swaps with friends in your home. All you need to do is set a date, inform others, dig a bit through your closet, and swap till you drop.