Saturday, March 29, 2008

Used Clothing and Fun Crafts at the Swap-o-rama-rama

This afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending Chicago's first ever Swap-o-rama-rama.

What's a Swap-o-rama-rama?

It's basically a huge clothing swap. You contribute a small donation towards a charitable cause and bring a bag of clothing to throw into the pile. Then everyone dives in and searches for stuff they like.

During my day at the swap, I found lots of great stuff, including several shirts, a pair of pants, and some fabric (for use while I'm learning how to sew).

But I didn't just take home clothes. The event also included lots of workshops and craft tutorials, so I learned a lot. I found out how to make fabric jewelry and even fashioned myself a few pairs of earrings and a necklace.

I also learned how to use a loom and got to do some weaving. It turns out that weaving can be very easy. The women who was teaching me how to do it explained that a simple piece can be woven in just a few hours, but setting up the loom for creating the piece might take an entire evening. Very interesting.

Why swap?
Because, as the old saying goes, one (wo)man's trash is another (wo)man's treasure.

Also, according to the swap-o-rama-rama website, "fabric waste currently comprises 4.5% of residential waste created. Each American is responsible for approximately 35 pounds, totaling 8.75 billion pounds per year. Fifty percent of the textiles consumed and discarded are made from synthetic fibers that are produced from oil , which has a negative effect on the Earth."

From what I can tell, that means that 4.38 billion pounds of synthetic clothing, most of which is probably made from plastic, is put into landfills each year.

Find a Swap
If you're interested in participating in a swap, the swap-o-rama-rama website provides a list of future events in cities around the U.S. Information is also provided on how to start a swap where you live.


Heather said...

I'm so glad you had a great time at Swap-O-Rama-Rama!! I work with Wendy Tremayne (the Swap's creator) in helping people produce Swaps, and it sounds like you had exactly the kind of experience we hope people will have!

Thanks so much for posting about it!

Laura said...

Awesome! I love that they have workshops right then and there to hack the stuff you just found.

They will be at the GreenFestival in Seattle on April 12-13. I am volunteering so I will be there. Now the only issue is finding a bag of clothes to donate. I just did a big purge of clothes and I'm not sure I have much left. Eep! ;)

arduous said...

Heh. I just posted about a clothing swap we had over the weekend. It was much smaller, just me and two of my girlfriends swapping clothes but it was still a lot of fun and we all got cool clothes out of it!

Ruthie said...

OMG that sounds like so much fun. I wonder how hard it would be to organize one of those in Htown.

I can't believe you meme'd me a month and a half ago and I didn't notice. I kinda fell off the plastic free wagon for awhile, but I'm ready to jump back on. You're such an inspiration.

I haven't worn make up since I got married. No one noticed. :-)