Val is My Pal Clothing Swap - A Social Impact Event

Yesterday I had the pleasure of hosting a clothing swap at the bright and spacious Parlour Salon in the Toronto Beaches.  Clothing Swaps are not a new concept.  I have hosted these events in my home with friends, but this is the first time I take one to the streets.  What an exciting experience!

Many were surprised and pleased by our ‘No Rules Rule’! It is an expectation that everyone is respectable and reasonable.  Bring what you can and take what you will. Guess what? This concept worked!  Everyone had one mission, to find some new threads.  We saw everything from teenagers getting their back-to-school clothes to professionals refreshing their wardrobes. Strangers helped each other coordinate outfits and I am pretty sure new friendships were formed.  Truly a heart-warming thing to witness.

For me personally, I am still illuminated because an amazing, diverse and humble group of people came together! As a candidate for city council who often talks about re-inventing how we do stakeholder engagement, this is an example of truly getting to know your constituents ─ what their daily lives are like, what their concerns are, where they are from, and what their story is.  To me, this is true engagement.

In addition to the community building aspects of clothing swaps, there are other positive, social, and environmental impacts that can be quantified.  I will not do these calculation today but we understand our textiles and the fashion industry account for a significant amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By swapping clothes, it allows us to get something “new” without adding to the uptake portion of the cycle.  This will have a significant impact on our global GHG emissions output. 

At clothing swaps, everyone brings something new to the table, literally and figuratively. 

Your pal,