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Campus Groups Host Clothing Swap

By Marissa Burr, Opinion Editor

Once again the sorority Phi Sigma Sigma has partnered with the USA Sustainability Committee to host a clothing swap for students. The purpose behind a clothing swap is for people to bring in clothes that don’t fit, aren’t their style or otherwise just don’t get worn anymore. Once the pieces are donated, on a later date people who donate are able to come back and “shop” for new pieces that others had brought in themselves. When discussing the upcoming event, Phi Sig’s Community Impact Chair Genevieve Fontana said, “A clothing swap is a great way to bring people together and give new life to clothing you might not be interested in.”

As apparent by the involvement of the USA Sustainability Committee, a clothing swap is more than just a fun event where students can update their wardrobe: it’s also environmentally friendly. Trading clothes with others and repurposing them into other pieces reduces the quantities of garments that head to landfills if people just throw them away once they’ve been stationed in their closet long enough. “Fast fashion” contributes to this.

Fast fashion describes companies that use cheaper and speedier manufacturing processes, as well as those for shipping. Such products are ever increasing as they take inspiration from models, influencers and television shows in order to stay “in style” with what consumers are looking for. A lot of these items are made overseas, where companies are not subject to the wage and labor laws that have been established in the U.S., meaning poor conditions for those creating the clothes that we wear. These products are intentionally made to have a short life, which forces consumers to purchase replacements — this is known as planned obsolescence. In addition, almost 60% of fast fashion articles are made of synthetics and cannot be recycled, according to the article by Investopedia titled “Fast Fashion Explained and How It Impacts Retail Manufacturing.”

Clothing swaps like the one hosted at Canisius over the coming week are an active fight against these poor practices and encourage others to donate and find their new pieces amongst those discarded by those in the community around them. Fontana said, “Instead of supporting fast fashion brands, we can show appreciation for our peers' clothes and exchange our own. It is also very cost-effective. We are trying to mitigate the effect of textile waste on our planet.” She further explained that the students who donate and attend (as well as the hosting-group members involved) can benefit from this event and, she hopes, be inspired to be more environmentally conscious with their purchases in the future.

The idea is that participants will gain “a new appreciation for textiles and a realization that you don't always have to go out and buy the latest fashion clothing swaps can be a social solution to refreshing your wardrobe with little to no environmental impact,” said the impact chair. Even those who don’t participate this time around can still take notice and seek out other clothing swaps in the surrounding area at different times of the year, during which they can donate and bring home new clothes.

Fontana emphasized that the clothes that aren’t taken home by new owners at the end of the event won’t end up in a landfill, either. These leftovers will go into storage to supply the thrift store on campus that has been a passing idea through the years. Fontana has hope about its future set-up, saying progress made on the thrift store "is very exciting news and has been put on hold because of the work with Lyons Hall, but I hope the clothing swap will be the momentum we need to open it up next semester.”

Drop off dates for students will be March 27 through March 31 — it starts Monday and ends Friday — and donations can be made from 12-3 p.m. outside of the library. Clothes brought in should have no broken or missing pieces (buttons, zippers, decals, etc.); they should also be freshly laundered and have no stains or pet hair, in order to ensure that each item is in a good condition for the person who will be taking it home later on. The date of the “store” for the donated items will be held Thursday, April 20 in Science Hall Commons. Those who contribute clothing donations will have first access from 4-5 p.m., and others who only want to participate in the shopping event can come 5-7 p.m. It’s free and open to the public. Save some money, and help the environment this spring while freshening up your closet: participate in Phi Sigma Sigma and the USA Sustainability Committee’s clothing swap this week!

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