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.
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.