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  • G.E Young

Getting To Know: Buy Wear Swap Repeat!

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

“Find your own sustainable groove” (Buy Wear Swap Repeat).

It is a well-known fact that fast fashion is a huge culprit in the pollution of the planet, many aspects of which remain unseen. From harsh chemicals used to dye fabric, poor quality materials designed NOT to last, even the disposal of unsold and unworn garments which are burned and destroyed. There is so many reasons that the fast fashion industry is far from ethical including the use of child labour. It wouldn’t seem right to just scratch the surface and simply tell you that you just need to purchase your clothes off Depop or from your local charity shop.

Jemma and Anna-Maria (aka AM) from Buy Wear Swap Repeat have got you covered! These two wonderful ladies are here to help me kick off Practical Green Life’s new blog series “Getting to know your local sustainable businesses”. The aim of this series is to make people aware of business in Dorset that is helping us with our fight against climate change. I want to highlight these individuals and what they are doing to help inspire you to make changes that suit you. So let’s get to know Buy Wear Swap Repeat!

Buy Wear Swap Repeat is a second-hand clothing store based on Bournemouth Road in Poole, run by these two inspiring ladies. With a motto of “We look for people to discover their style, we don’t follow trends these ladies are fighting the fast fashion fight and doing a successful job of it! They work with an effective business model of collecting unwanted clothing, evaluating if it is good to buy and take off your hands, and even offer you in-store credit so you can continue to reuse reuse reuse! If it goes into a ‘no’ pile they either return the items to you so you can reuse, sell or repurpose them. If you don’t want to take them back they are donated to women’s refuges. I found this to be a rather inspiring aspect of what they do because they are not only about environmental justice but also social justice and helping women who have fallen on hard times adjust back to normal life. This means that your unwanted clothes can go towards making a victim of sex trafficking or domestic violence ease back into normal life and feel more comfortable in their own skin. In terms of the clothes they keep, I can tell you they know what they are doing. I watched them sort through at speed piles of gorgeous clothing excitedly deciding what will suit their shelves. They want people to feel comfortable in their own skin so are keen to pick out items that will work for people of all shapes and sizes. Body positivity is an essential element of their store so much so that they even offer styling sessions to help you find your own style and what makes you feel confident.

This is a different model than the donation method of charity shops as it is their business. You might wonder why this is better than just donating them to charity. Charity shops are good for thrifting, but these ladies are looking for quality clothing to inspire you and help slow down the fashion industry. Buy selling your clothes and shopping from them you are not only helping the environment but the actual garments you don’t want will go to a woman who really needs them. The difference is many clothes still sit on the shelves in charity shops and could eventually still got to waste. Jemma and AM are keen to stop anything going to waste if they can help it, and this is the main difference between shopping with them and a charity shop. You can jazz up a charity shop however you like but shopping second hand this way is not only good for those looking for an actual garment, but also for those in need of some body positivity and something that suits your personality. You won’t get that from a charity shop. These ladies are an excellent source of sustainable fashion!

The idea that they don’t want to follow trends doesn’t make them any less stylish because my goodness they are, but it also extends into their views on eco-friendly living. It shouldn’t be that you feel like you have to follow any particular lifestyle habits, food diets or clothing brands in order to be eco-friendly just because these are the current trends in the eco-communities. But rather that you find your way at your own pace. So what do these ladies recommend for an eco-friendly living? AM said with a grin “Second hand is the King of Sustainability”, and I would agree. You can do so much by making sure you buy second hand. They recommend not only going just for clothes but also furniture and anything you may need and that these days it’s easy with Facebook market place, Depop, gumtree and the likes of eBay. They also recommend using less plastic and trying not to put things into your bins at all. They are also keen on repurposing items, I believe this is an element that they would like to start bringing into their stores which might include creating co-ord sets or headbands. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

It is a privilege to be able to shop second hand, and in some cases, you might be lucky enough to have a store like this nearby to shop from. We discussed that sometimes it is difficult to stick to these positive habits and you can’t buy things like socks and undies second hand that will fit, last or make you feel confident. So do what you can and use what you have. The key is to educate your-self, both AM and Jemma are keen for people to start watching documentaries and reading about the fast fashion industry in order to get a better idea about what’s going on in the world. This could include documentaries such as Stacy Dooley’s BBC documentary about fast fashion and its dirty secrets.

One of the issues I don’t think is often covered when talking about fast and slow fashion is what to do with clothes from brands people are trying to boycott because of their lack of ethical values. We all agreed that once the garments are in the system and have been produced, there is little point not trying to sell, wear or use them. In my opinion, if you have a ‘fast fashion’ dress donated to you it would be silly to reject it because it’s only going to end up going to landfill eventually, and that’s what we are trying to prevent. So it is important to remember if you find a brand you don’t agree within a store like theirs, they are not endorsing the brand but sticking to their core beliefs of preventing it going to waste! Give a garment a second chance!

In conclusion, these ladies not only have a dazzling store but also dazzling personalities. They are inspiring not only in striving to save our planet but also because they are always seeking to empower other women and make them feel positive about themselves. I would highly recommend having a look at their store and stopping for a chat or even shopping on their online store for some designer pieces.

Do you shop second hand? Have I convinced you to give it a try? Let me know in the comments below!

Social media handles and info:

Facebook: @wearswaprepeat

Instagram: @buywearswaprepeat

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