Swapping clothes to save environment

Wanaka Swaps organiser Emma Edwards aimed to reduce fashion waste at the Lake Wanaka Centre two...
Wanaka Swaps organiser Emma Edwards aimed to reduce fashion waste at the Lake Wanaka Centre two-day event yesterday. PHOTOS: KERRIE WATERWORTH
The fashion industry has become infamous for its effect on the environment, but an inaugural fashion event held in Wanaka at the weekend was organised to help save the environment and the community, as well as to raise money for a local charity.

Emma Edwards, of Hawea Flat, said she was inspired by a good friend, who ran a similar event in Canada, to organise Wanaka Swaps with the goal of making fashion circular.

Those who attended the two-day event at the Lake Wanaka centre with a bag of good-quality, clean clothing to swap paid an entry fee of $5 and filled their bag with other donated clothes.

Those who arrived without a bag of clothes paid an entry fee of $10 and were given a reusable bag to fill with "new to you" items.

Ms Edwards said there was a queue of people waiting when she opened the doors on Saturday morning but she could only allow 45 in at a time due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

Sarah Millwater, of Hawea Flat, attended yesterday and described the two-day event as an
"awesome idea".

She said she had recently watched a documentary on "fast fashion" (cheap clothes bought and cast aside in rapid succession as trends change), and being able to swap clothes was about her family "making changes".

Sarah Millwater, of Hawea Flat, searches through clothing yesterday at Wanaka Swaps.
Sarah Millwater, of Hawea Flat, searches through clothing yesterday at Wanaka Swaps.
Ms Edwards said she had originally planned to hold the event in May so that children could "swap a jacket" before winter but she had had to postpone it due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

She said she personally had nothing against buying new clothing.

"I love shopping myself, but we have to look after the environment and look after the world."

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has calculated the fashion industry produces about 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions every year, while it is estimated to use about 1.5 trillion litres of water annually.

Concerns have also been raised about pollution such as chemical waste and microplastics.

Ms Edwards said the entry fees would be donated to the local charity which received the most votes from those attending the event.

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