Global Clothes Swap Project- Behind the Scenes.

The project was born when MyWONDR contacted me and asked if I would be a community team leader within the brief of ‘What a Sustainable Future looks like within the World of Fashion’. I thought about the idea for several days before accepting.

I had an idea. But I needed help.

Obviously when you have an idea you need to sell the idea to involve others. At the beginning I only had a rough outline of how I wanted the project to be, so selling the idea was quite difficult. I knew that a short film was what we needed to show people what really goes on in the world of fashion. We needed something that would shock people. Creating awareness was one step towards creating a sustainable future.

Step 2 was to create an idea to link with the film and that’s how the idea came about of creating a Global Clothes Swap, encouraging people around the world to swap clothes instead of buying new ones. Swapping clothes instead of buying new would be beneficial to the environment and help reduce global textile waste.

I started to search via MyWONDR and on social media for possible people to help. I contacted Andre the filmmaker and couldn’t believe it when he replied and said he wanted to be involved.

I knew that we needed to highlight the issue of microplastics so I contacted Antonio, a scientist with a PhD in Environmental Engineering concerning material science and climate change. Antonio replied and said he would love to be involved! PERFECT! This meant we had 2 scientists on board.

Marice who runs a successful eco website called Blue Planet Lifestyle got in touch with me via social media and asked if she could be involved. This was great as Marice has excellent IT skills and it also turned out that Marice was great at creating schedules and deadlines for us!

It was then decided that we needed a website containing all information on how to set up clothes swaps. A website that people turn to for information, tips and inspiration on how to set up swaps and where to find organised swaps. For many people around the world the concept of swapping clothes is entirely new so the information needed to be detailed. We also needed to explain WHY we needed clothes swaps to show people why they need to swap instead of shop. We decided to base the website on:

The Source of the Problem– We examined the reason why we have a global problem with textile waste and why people are buying so many clothes.

The Environmental Impacts– We looked at the environmental impacts that the fast fashion industry is having on the environment and how it contributes to the climate crisis.

and The Solution– We looked at possible ways of how to make the fashion industry circular instead of linear, the Global Clothes Swap being one of them.

We specifically decided to focus this project entirely on the environmental impacts of the Fashion Industry. We felt as a group if we included social aspects such as workers rights, child labour, working conditions that would be a project in itself and given the time limitations we couldn’t cover every single aspect. We wanted to focus specifically on the environment.

This is where Emmaline came in and helped with the design and layout of the website making it easily navigable and containing all of the necessary information.

So how do you make a film? Its actually more complicated than you think. You need a script writer (enter Marco into the project) you need an actress (enter Anastasia), you need a studio or somewhere to film and you need a contact. Any music used needs rights, this was a whole new world for me. We also needed to find a day which worked or everyone, which given peoples busy schedules this turned out to be quite difficult.

Whilst the script was being written in the background I decided to launch a series of posts via Instagram to highlight the issues of the fast fashion world and demonstrate the need for a change in consumers shopping habits. Via @im_not_a_snob I launched the hastag #globalclothesswap so people could easily find related posts until the website was up and running. The project started to gain interest.

As the project started to gain interest I was approached by Linköping University (Sweden) to give a lecture on the health and environmental impacts of the fashion industry. It wasn’t in the projects plan as such but it was great news that the project was gaining interest just as we had hoped it would. It demonstrated students were interested in ways of becoming more sustainable by swapping clothes which supported the projects brief of making fashion more sustainable for the future.

Whilst writing the script we decided as a team that the video should be relatable and something that people can identify with. We decided to go with a living room setting and also the beach as we needed an ocean to highlight the issue concerning microplastics. As Andre is based in The Netherlands filming took place in southern Holland on a beach. Since our team members are from Sweden, The Philippines, Poland, and Italy (but based in the UK) we couldn’t all attend filming but Andre provided regular updates throughout filming.

All information on the websites has been thoroughly checked, and cross checked by myself and Antonio and all facts and figures are from credible sources. It is not our intention to provide misleading information in any way.

So I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to all the wonderful people who have collaborated on this project. Your professionalism, dedication and teamworking skills have been outstanding and I would happily recommend you to others and if there ever an another opportunity to work together again I would without hesitation. Thank you!

Published by Heather

Hydrologist

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