Have you ever felt like you got dressed in the dark? The unfortunate pang that seems to kick in after you have left the house in the morning, as you catch a glimpse of yourself in a bus stop or a mirror. Your clothes don’t seem to fit you like they used to: you’re back to front and inside out, you’re blue and green without an in between and there’s a stain on your blouse blinking back at you. More sobering, is admitting to yourself that you left the light on that morning. That despite the mountains of garb available to you, (half of which you never got round to wearing) you can’t seem to find the inspiration and zing from it all that you used to.
‘EVERY YEAR, APPROXIMATELY 350,000 TONS OF CLOTHING GO INTO LANDFILL AND A QUARTER OF HOUSEHOLDS ADMIT TO OWNING MORE THAN THEY NEED.’
Meet Jude Galea (Jan ‘15 & ’16 Retreater.) By day she’s a doctor, by night she’s a conscientious creative, searching for ways to revamp her wardrobe without the overspending and waste that she’s used to. Despite her overwhelming schedule, she recently made time to host a ‘Swap Shop’ at her home in Brixton and we caught up with her to hear more about it and provide some inspiration to remedy the clothes woes…
What’s a Swap Shop?
A Swap Shop puts people with articles to exchange or trade in touch with each other. In this case, it’s friends and clothes. Attendees bring what they don’t want anymore and leave with what inspires them. It’s a way to be creative about your wardrobe, without the usual waste, cost and to do – and it’s fun!
What inspired you to put on the Swap Shop?
I’d wanted to do one for ages. It’s a great way to revamp your wardrobe on a shoestring ready for summer, usually I would go and buy a whole new wardrobe and spend a fortune. The idea was that I could get the wardrobe, but this time it was free! It was also about making time for things I enjoyed and making things happen. So often it’s easy to schedule things in and then let work dominate.
What did you have to prepare in advance?
It was so easy! The only issue is that I only get my work rotas a month in advance, which isn’t enough notice for Londoners – so I had to ask work to take me off that weekend. After that though, it was just making a Facebook event stating details and how it would works I also read a few blog posts about Swap Shops. Originally I’d envisaged a pile of clothes on the floor, but the posts I read suggested putting clothes on rails. I really enjoyed setting up my flat nicely, with my popcorn maker and a vegan cheesecake I had baked – I took real pleasure in making an effort and preparing snacks for myself and for friends.
How was the experience of running it?
Really fun without any pressure or stress. I got so much pleasure from it manifesting too! It gives you a lot of confidence to think about running other things. I enjoyed swapping clothes and it doubled up as a chance to catch up with friends as well. I also just enjoyed the experience for what it was.
What advice would you give to others who have an idea they want to try out?
Making time for things you like and ‘’showing up for yourself’’ is so important. If it is hard work then think about all the smaller steps and try to take pleasure in each stage. It’s also important to focus on one thing you enjoy. Maybe in the past I would have tried to make five different vegan snacks, but I focused on just the cheesecake and got a lot more pleasure out of it too.
Want to know more?
-Interested in running your own ‘Swap Shop?’ Go for it! It doesn’t have to be just clothes, it can be books, electrical appliances, artwork, themed objects, arts materials, small pieces of furniture, baby clothes, children’s toys, old records etc. Here’s some great guidelines for you to read up on to help you get going.
-Interested in conscientious consumerism? Read up on Swishing, the UK’s only all-in-one clothing exchange and retail fashion store.
-Have an idea of your own that you’d like to try out? Join us on our next Creative Retreat!