While we’ve already discussed why we swap, and how it has impacted lives, we want to reiterate one of the most important reasons for swapping: community. In our technology obsessed culture, current political climate, and hectic lives, community can be hard to come by. However, swapping creates a space (whether in person or not) for individuals to connect and appreciate the differences between us.
Since the Industrial Revolution, convenience has been on the rise, and relationships have become secondary. Americans have made product priority and forgotten the meaning behind what we make. We at Swap Society are no exception and each have our own stories of getting caught up in the consumer-driven culture. Though it’s easy to grab that plastic straw or pick up a $2 t-shirt, you’re missing out in the long run. Disposable products are not only harmful to the environment, but they keep us from having moments to meet and mingle with others. When we’re scrolling through social media, we oftentimes don’t get moments to let others’ stories sink in. By using the internet strategically, swapping online can foster a much more satisfying experience than the “like” button allows. Each item on our website has a story behind it, a previous owner, and countless adventures under its belt! Each item has been loved by another person and that is human connection you can’t find in a $2 t-shirt.
The fashion industry has long been dismissed as a frivolous and superficial world, however we beg to differ. If you take a closer look at the industry surrounded by clothes, it’s not hard to realize that fashion is influenced by, and influences, culture constantly. Many people use fashion as a form of self expression, not just to walk down a runway. Swapping takes this a step further and puts “customers” in a position to connect with people they might not always get a chance to. Clothing swaps are a breeding ground for finding commonalities. Say you attend a swap and pick up a dress you think matches your style perfectly, then you meet the person who’s garment it used to be and you begin to chat. You might find out that you have much more in common than loving the same flowy dress. Although not all connections will end in forever friendships, the experience of finding similarities within others is impactful for a lifetime!
Even if we stop scrolling and are keeping an open mind about others, sometimes we still don’t feel there’s time to make real relationships. Swap Society is based in the Los Angeles area and this city is always bustling. LA is not only huge geographically, it is also transient in nature. This all adds up to a very lonely city even though it’s filled with people. While cities are easiest to cite as examples of lost connection, the mentality of our “busy” culture seeps into almost every part of the country. When we step back and acknowledge that community has been lost, it’s hard to know how to begin finding it again. One simple idea? You guessed it, swapping. By hosting one with friends or logging onto our site you are instantly connected to a group of individuals who are trying to find new life just like you.
Audrey Stanton was born and raised in the Bay Area and is currently based in Los Angeles. She has attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, London College of Fashion, and received a BFA in costume design from the California Institute of the Arts. Audrey is deeply passionate about conscious fashion and hopes to continue to spread awareness and love for ethical consumption. Visit her blog audstant.com and follow her on Instagram for lots of #slowfashion inspiration!