Sustainable fashion ‘Swish’ returns to St John’s with a flourish

“The Swish is wins all around – you get rid of stuff you don’t wear, have some coffee and cake, then take home free new clothes”

St John’s is holding its second ‘Swish’ clothes swap party this term after a successful debut event earlier this year.

‘Swishing’ is a popular sustainable fashion activity that enables you to donate your own good quality, unwanted clothes to swap with others – so you refresh your wardrobe while going easy on the planet.

The first St John’s Swish, which was supported by St John’s College Sustainability Forum and Cambridge Carbon Footprint, took place on 4 February. That event saw 156kg of men’s and women’s clothes donated and 90kg swapped, with left over clothing going to Oxfam.

Swish poster

The next Swish takes place in Hall on Saturday 18 November. The Hall will be open from 10.30am for swishers to bring their good quality items to swap, followed by the swishing between 11am and noon.

Studies show that for every kilo of clothing you reuse rather than buying new, you save 27kg of carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas that is contributing to climate change. Some 300,000 tonnes of clothes go to landfill every year in the UK. However, 90% of garments thrown away are still wearable or have plenty of good fabric that could be upcycled.

Sally Raudon, an Affiliated Researcher and member of St John’s Sustainability Forum, said: “The Swish is wins all around – you get rid of stuff you don’t wear, have some coffee and cake, then take home free new clothes that you do want, and you have the fuzzy glow of ethical consumption.

“There’s no limit, take as much as you like – it’s not like you get to take a t-shirt if you donate one, even if you have nothing to donate you can still come along. At the first Swish I got two pure cotton tees and a silk scarf with the tags still on, which I wear all the time. So it’s fun, and doing good.”

The Swish is open to all students, Fellows and staff of St John’s, and their families and friends.

If you would like to volunteer to help on the day (9am to 12.30pm), email Professor Jane Heal, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Chair of St John’s Sustainability Forum and Fellow of the College.

Published 20/10/2023

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