The Scottish Blogger Clothes Swap
I am so excited to be able to share the photos from an amazing shoot I took part in last weekend with some fabulous Scottish bloggers for the first of many clothes swap collaborations, The concept is simple: get a group of amazing local bloggers together, bring all of our favourite pieces from our own existing collections alongside any unwanted clothing and accessories, and then wear eachother's clothes to style creative new outfits, get some awesome pictures taken by a great local photographer, and at the end of the shoot, take home the pre-loved clothes to incorporate into our new-but-not-new wardrobes. This was a clothes swap with a difference, proving that us bloggers can help spread the sustainability message in supreme style, and have a hell of a lot of fun while doing it.
This is how it worked.
First, dragging suitcases, we arrived at one of the blogger’s not-so-humble abode, and we started decanting our piles of clothes onto hangers along three different rails, and laid our shoes and accessories across the room. Then, we sat down for some snacks (including freshly baked vegan muffins and cookies!) and waited for our lovely photographer, Ellie Morag, to arrive. Once the whole gang was there, we started pouring over the rails and pulling out clothes that appealed to us from other people’s collections, and began playing dress up. The result was a 2-hour photoshoot featuring 3-4 outfits each, all brand new to us, but pre-loved by someone else.
Promoting fast fashion as an influencer can be highly toxic, and I want to change that that be creating content as well as experiences that genuinely inspire people to re-think their shopping habits without feeling they have to compromise on their personal aesthetic as a blogger. Not only that, but it can be a real challenge to continually post content online and keep a popular Instagram feed looking fresh without investing in new STUFF constantly! So a clothes swap or some kind of of ethical fashion challenge (think - a street full of charity shops and 2 hours to put together 2 perfect outfits, or turning old clothes and fabrics into a brand new garment for a party - the possibilities are endless!) are a brilliant way to push yourself out of the box in terms of styling and have days and days of pictures to post!
Remember, sometimes, the most ethical shopping option is to not do any shopping at all.
This realisation of sorts has come to me after years of seeking out the very best ethical fashion brands and designers, and still buying just as many clothes as I did in my fast fashion days when in reality, many of the issues within the fashion industry - environmental and ethical - come from the root problem of over-consumption, and the growing “need” for more stuff, faster than ever before. I’ve written before about the hypocrisy of ethical fashion, so was interest to read an article last week on i-D about Byranboy’s comments on the paradox of sustainability in the fashion industry. It’s also great to see more influencers supporting the movement towards slowing fashion down, like mega blogger Vix Meldrew’s new venture, @slowstyling, which aims to be the ‘antithesis of fast fashion’ by sharing outfits from bloggers wearing their existing clothes in stylish and creative ways.
More and more, instead of giving people advice about how to clear out their closets responsibly, educate themselves on the facts and science, shop from ethical and sustainable brands or get involved in campaigning and activism; I now think the best place to start is just to change your attitude towards buying new clothes at all. The first step - just stop buying! Do you really need or want new clothes, and if you do, do you really love what and who you are investing in?
The moral of this story is, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY NEW CLOTHES TO LOOK FUCKING FABULOUS! These beautiful bloggers and I have proved that sustainability can look really bloody good, and can be so much fun too. Not only did we save money by not buying brand new clothes just for a photoshoot, but we made an incredibly enjoyable and snack fuelled day of it, got really creative with our style and pushed our own fashion boundaries, cleared out our unworn wardrobes to welcomed in “new” clothes, and even donated to charity at the end to round off a brilliant shoot.
This was an experience that I’ll be rallying troops for again and again until I have no more ‘spare’ or unwanted clothes left to swap! I will be organising more Scottish Blogger Clothes Swaps every couple of month- so please get in touch if you want to join me for the next one. DM me on Instagram, reach out on Twitter, or keep up to date on the Scottish Bloggers Facebook group.
Instead of leaving ‘outfit details’ at the bottom of this blog post, I will leave the links to each of the participant’s fantastic blogs so you can have a pursue of their brilliant writing:
Alice: Twenty Something City (fashion, careers, lifestyle)
Lucie: Call Me Dumpling (travel, vegan food, fashion)
Morag: MoAdore (cruelty-free beauty, vegan food)
All photos were taken by the endlessly wonderful Ellie Morag