An international initiative to encourage sustainable consumption among shoppers will debut in the U.S. on Monday.
The Global Fashion Exchange (GFX) will travel to various cities to help consumers renew their wardrobes, without harming the environment with an abundance of purchases. To kick off the program Stateside, 75 media types and fashion influencers will swap gently used garments Monday at NeueHouse in New York. The first consumer event will be held on Nov. 20 in Los Angeles, and other stops will take place in New York, Milan and Copenhagen.
The swap-till-you-drop concept is pretty straightforward: Each participant must contribute one clean item that is in good condition. All contribution are placed in the common pool of clothing, and then each donor is able to select any garments[singular?] at no cost.
Founded by the Danish Fashion Institute last year, GFX held its first event during Copenhagen Fashion Week. At that time, 1,500 people swapped seven tons of clothes. In collaboration with InTandem Creatives, H&M, the Ford Motor Co. and Oberon Sinclair, founding partner of NeueHouse, the Danish Fashion Institute is broadening its reach, with the first global stops set for New York City and Los Angeles.
Eva Kruse, chief executive officer of the Danish Fashion Institute, said, “Consumers are increasingly aware that the fashion industry has immense environmental impacts, but few know how they can consume more sustainably by reusing or recycling clothes. Swapping clothes is one of the simplest ways of becoming sustainable as a consumer — as well as a great way to renew the wardrobe.”
The two-tiered effort is meant to garner industry support and teach consumers to prolong the use of their clothes and accessories. Oganizers noted that shoppers will not only save money but also help to save the raw materials, energy, water and chemicals used in the production of fashion. Any garments that do not get swapped will be recycled.
Most people use only 30 percent of their wardrobes, even though the clothes are “perfectly good,” according to H&M sustainability spokeswoman Catarina Midby. The retailer’s Global Recycling Program and Conscious Collection are examples of its focus on recycling and reuse. “We will be collecting all excess clothes from the GFX and [putting them] into recycling,” she said.
In addition, consumers who do not live in or near the cities where the GFX events will take place can drop off their items to be recycled at H&M stores.
Ford also has an ongoing commitment to “reduce, reuse and recycle.” Each of its eco-chic vehicles uses more than 30,000 soybeans and nearly 40 water bottles[for what?]. The post-industrial cotton in Ford vehicles comes from blue-jeans manufacturing, with each Ford interior using the equivalent of two pairs of jeans.
To encourage sustainable consumption, GFX aims to extend its events to other international cities. GFX cofounder and InTandem Creatives owner Patrick Duffy is teaming up with the Danish Fashion Institute to initiate an ambassador program as well as, with each exchange, activities related to art and culture.