When Items are No Longer Swappable: What We Do by Audrey Stanton

When Items are No Longer Swappable: What We Do

MeWe Clothing Brand
Upcycled Clothes by MeWe

There’s nothing we hate more than thinking of the piles upon piles of textiles sitting in landfills. To remind you, about 85% of clothing accumulated in the US each year is thrown away. Unfortunately many of these items aren’t necessarily saved when donated to Goodwill or similar large charities. If a friend wouldn’t wear it why would a stranger? This is why we are huge fans of quality items over fast fashion, and mending clothes before throwing them away! In order to give you the best value with you swap, we have a strict screening process when you send your clothing to Swap Society.

This year we started our IMPERFECT section due to a high volume of decent, yet not full quality, clothing we collected. An IMPERFECT item is something that has a small amount of pilling or a inconspicuous stain. These items are able to be swapped at a discounted rate. This new system helps us to keep clothes from being sent to landfill, while also giving each Swap Society customer a fair swapping experience. We want to be completely transparent with each of you and hope that our IMPERFECT option is a wonderful example of that. Sometimes the details aren’t sexy, but saving the earth sure is!

On the other hand, there may be times when you send in a bag full of clothing but don’t get all the points for those garments. This is because we have combed through each piece and found that some pieces are not in great condition. We don’t accept items that have noticeable stains, holes, or unintended tears. For example, we often find items with armpit stains and we unfortunately cannot put those items on the website. It is exciting for us to see that so many people are wearing their clothing to their fullest potential, however that often means they cannot be swapped through us. We ask each Swap Society member to check every garment before sending it our way. Ask yourself why you are giving this piece away. Is it because it doesn’t fit or its quality has lessened? Would you want to receive it from Swap Society? It’s as simple as putting yourself in our (or another swapper’s) shoes!

Ellerali Clothing
Upcycled clothes by ELLERALI

Once we’ve deemed certain items unacceptable we find them a new home through various donation channels. We’ve outlined some of these on our website:

Unaccepted items are upcycled by sustainable fashion brands MeWe Clothing and ELLERALI or donated to charity, including Downtown Women's Center (DWC). DWC is the only organization in Los Angeles focused exclusively on serving and empowering women experiencing homelessness and formerly homeless women. They envision a Los Angeles with every woman housed and on a path to personal stability. Their mission is to end homelessness for women in greater Los Angeles through housing, wellness, and advocacy.

We try to send these garments to companies and organizations which will actually use them. Although there is no guarantee, we have done our best to vet the places which we donate unused pieces to. As we learn of even more trusted nonprofits and upcycling brands we will grow our network. Until then, we will continue to ask that you be mindful when sending us your used clothing. Our goal is to save as much clothing from landfills as possible!


Audrey StantonAudrey 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!

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