Get ready to swap till you drop, America, because the Global Fashion Exchange is in town. Founded in 2013 by the Danish Fashion Institute, whose inaugural event at Copenhagen Fashion Week saw 1,500 people bandying some seven tons of used clothes, the massive clothing meet now travels from city to city as an instrument of sustainable consumption. Monday was another one for the history books. The Global Fashion Exchange, together with H&M, Ford Motor Company, and InTandem Creatives, kicked off its U.S. tour at a mini-swap at NeueHouse in New York City.
Joining the exchange is a cinch. Simply contribute at least one clean, gently used garment to the common pool of clothing. In return, you get to choose any article of clothing at no cost whatsoever.
“Consumers are increasingly aware that the fashion industry has immense environmental impacts, but few know how they can consume more sustainably by reusing or recycling clothes,” says Eva Kruse, CEO of the Danish Fashion Institute. “Swapping clothes is one of the simplest ways of becoming sustainable as a consumer, as well as a great way to renew the wardrobe.”
The exchange’s goal is to extend its influence to key landmarks worldwide, a “very efficient way to spread the message about sharing and sustainable consumption,” Kruse adds. GFX has also partnered with H&M to collect any leftover clothing from the swaps for recycling.
“Most people only use 30 percent of their wardrobe, although it’s perfectly good clothes,” says H&M Sustainability spokesperson Catarina Midby. “At H&M we have had a focus on recycling and reusing for many years, and therefore the GFX is a natural extension of our initiatives with I-Collect.”
Following events in New York City, the Global Fashion Exchange will trundle off to California, where Los Angelenos are invited to join a swap at the Dolby Theatre on November 20.
Keep up with the GFX website for upcoming events near you.