Often students don’t have a lot to spend at the end of the month. Your scholarship money is down to zero and your piggybank is empty. The only coin you have left in your wallet is the special one from the Max, which gives you the right to a second hamburger for free. You certainly don’t have the financial means for a nice and cool outfit. But we want to look good during lectures and on the dancefloor on Thursday night. The solution is near: secondhand fashion is hot and it doesn’t even have to cost money!
That is something the organization probably thought while organizing the clothing exchange party O-Swap. O-Swap is a big clothes swap event organized by Usva, Darp Decade, Green Office and DuCie. It was held in the building of the Usva in January. Clothes lovers had to bring the clothes they wanted to swap some weeks before the event. On the moment suprême, the day of O-swap, they could take the same amount of pieces back home.
Florian Wenzel, one of the co-organizers of Darp Decade, called the event a success. “I really liked the way the theater hall looked like. I was impressed on what was possible with the little resources we had. Also the reactions on our Facebook page after the event were very positive.” The theatre hall was indeed filled with big suitcases and racks with clothes. For the clothes lovers it was like a Walhalla. But there were no screaming girls and girls pulling each other’s hair, like one of the male participants imagined before going to the event. It rather was a relaxed sphere.
The organization thought about everything. The participants had the possibility to try on their clothes in dressing rooms (with huge lines waiting, so in every corner of the Usva there were half naked women who tried on their clothes outside of the dressing rooms). There were also lounge couches for those who were tired, and there was biological food for the inner body. All to make sure that the energy you might have lost during trying on the clothes and grabbing in suitcases, could be restored for the next rounds.
The clothes were available in shifts, so the credo ‘first come, first served’ was not the case. Solely a big bunch of happy faces left the building with a bag full of ‘new’ clothes. According to Florian the event was, apart from cozy, also a sort of reality-check. “For me repurposing clothes means questioning my consumer attitude and questioning working ethics of fast fashion firms.” Besides that he says that you have to appreciate clothes and treating them with respect by not throwing them away after wearing them just once or twice. “You have to respect the time and effort people put into producing those clothes.”
When it depends on Florian, the O-Swap will be organized again next year. But if you can’t wait until then? You can check this Facebook page where you can take over clothes from other people for less money. And in the city of Groningen there are some cool secondhand stores like Recessie, Stardust and Mamamini.
Are you curious what the event looked like? Check this little aftermovie!
Text and video by Beppie van der Sluis