Sec­ond-hand clothes a first-class busi­ness

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

Fash­ion and de­sign stu­dents at AUT will swap their sewing ma­chines for sort­ing gloves this week.

They’re col­lect­ing a ship­ping con­tainer-load of sec­ond­clothes to be sold at the Big Clothes Swap to­mor­row.

Peo­ple have been asked to do­nate their good qual­ity clothes which will be sold at 50c per item at the Hikuwai Plaza, at AUT’s Welles­ley St cam­pus.

AUT is host­ing the mass swap to raise aware­ness about sus­tain­able fash­ion habits, says fash­ion lec­turer Kim Fraser.

Ms Fraser is study­ing fash­ion sus­tain­abil­ity for her mas­ters de­gree and hopes the clothes swap will draw at­ten­tion to the amount of sec­ond-hand clothes we ship over­seas.

She says the amount of cloth­ing New Zealan­ders throw away ev­ery year would fill a sky­scraper.

More than 90 per­cent go to Pa­pua New Guinea where it is sold to make a profit, putting pres­sure on lo­cal tex­tiles in­dus­tries.

“This won­der­ful re­source is get­ting sent off-shore,” says Ms Fraser.

She hopes the swap will en­cour­age peo­ple to think about how much they buy and throw away.

“There’s a real cost to us as in­di­vid­u­als, as Ki­wis, to lo­cal busi­nesses and to our en­vi­ron­ment.

“We think we’re do­ing re­ally good by re­cy­cling but we’re just pass­ing the prob­lem on.”

She says the prob­lem is made even worse by “fast­fash­ion” chain stores which turn over their stock ev­ery few weeks.

Third-year fash­ion and de­sign stu­dent Han­nah McAr­dle is help­ing Ms Fraser or­gan­ise the swap as part of her fi­nal year work place­ment.

The idea of sus­tain­abil­ity also ties in with her cloth­ing col­lec­tion of jeans and or­ganic tee shirts.

“This is the area of the fash­ion in­dus­try I want to get into,” says Miss McAr­dle.

She has taken on the task of sort­ing through clothes do­nated so far and record­ing the colour and fab­ric de­tails of each item.

Do­na­tions of good con­di­tion cloth­ing are still be­ing taken for the swap, which starts at noon to­mor­row. Do­na­tions can also be taken in on the day.

Any clothes not sold will go to the Life­wise char­ity, as will the money raised from the sale.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Swap meet: Fash­ion and de­sign stu­dents, from left: Han­nah McAr­dle and Sarah Kwok and lec­turer Kim Fraser sort through clothes for to­mor­row’s swap.

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