Find of the Week: Stop buying clothes and start swapping with The Fashion Pulpit

Want to do your bit to save the earth? Try clothes swapping at this week's FOW, The Fashion Pulpit. We speak to its founder, Raye Padit for the full lowdown...

Whether you’re obsessed with the latest clothing trends or not, being sustainable is always in style. Although these may seem like contradictions, especially with the un-environmentally friendly evil that is fast fashion, the folks at The Fashion Pulpit make it possible. Instead of waiting around for the fashion industry to fix its problems, Raye Padit, founder of The Fashion Pulpit made it easier for us style savvy and eco-friendly people to get our clothing fix. The solution: Clothes swapping!

With clothes swapping, we’re able to take home clothes we love and get “new” pieces to add to our wardrobe without spending a dime. It’s sustainable shopping at its best! And also, it’s a way for us to be more creative about our fashion options and being more open to trying styles we would have never considered in the past. Wondering how it all works? We had a chat with Raye Padit, the founder of The Fashion Pulpit to get the full lowdown:

Welcome to The Fashion Pulpit! Photo credit: Raye Padit

Hi Raye! Could you tell us why you started The Fashion Pulpit?

How we started TFP was never your typical story of coming up with a business plan, doing market research and then seek funding. It was more organic, in the sense that the aim was always to address the need to create a platform for everyone to remain fashionable but at the same time sustainable, considering the climate change effects and fashion being one of the biggest contributors.

It all started as an awareness agenda under Connected Threads Asia where we organised events to educate consumer on unglamorous side of fashion and how we all can be part of the solution. Swapping came about when our community started to raise questions on the present alternatives of buying new in Singapore.

But why swap you might ask? It is actually the easiest way to declutter and refresh your wardrobe without hurting the planet or your wallet. Whether you’re an environmentalist or a fashionista, at the end of the day- swapping is a solution to the ongoing problem of waste. How? Fashion items that are still in good condition often end up in landfills because people don’t know what to do with them; swapping reduces the pressure on mass production as demand then decreases because people are not buying new. In turn, this lessens waste and slows down the depletion of natural resources.

The term ‘sustainable fashion’ may be known as a paradox as clothing will always be a commodity, but the act isn’t impossible. Swapping is definitely one of the ways to make fashion more responsible and sustainable, in a way that prolongs the lifespan of your clothing, but also provides an extension to your closet.

Meet Raye Padit of The Fashion Pulpit. Photo credit: Selina Altomonte

Why do you think Singapore needs a place like fashion pulpit?

I don’t think its just Singapore that needs an alternative, I think as long as it’s a place where clothes are being bought and worn, there needs to be alternatives to buying new. Just recently, we were invited to Jakarta by ZeroWaste Indonesia and Tukar Baju, where the sustainable fashion initiative was already present and growing! We’re definitely excited to see where this will take us next.

Back to your question on Singapore, according to Channel News Asia (2016), Singaporeans purchase an average of 34 new fashion items and throw away approximately 27 items annually. This is definitely a terrifying statistic, so our aim is to provide an alternative to the throw away culture by making use of what we currently own, whether it may be swapping or upcycling!

In addition, a global study found that an individual only uses 20% of the items in their closet on a regular basis (Business Insider, 2013). Knowing this, we aim to maximise the use of the other 80% of their closet by swapping their items with other individuals who would want to wear them.

More than just a swapping platform, we also aim to build a community, bringing like-minded people to make fashion a force for good.

 

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How does swapping work?

First, you’ll need to choose a membership package that suits you best. Next, the fun part – culling your wardrobe and getting rid of all the bulky, unworn clothing lurking in the back of your closet. Once you’ve put them all in your eco-bags, haul ’em over to The Fashion Pulpit where they’ll do a quick quality check to assess the number of points you’ll receive based on the style, brand and quality of your items. The number of points you receive then act as a budget to your swapping basket. Then, our favourite part – grab a swap bag and start swapping!

Want to get your swap on?

Check out The Fashion Pulpit’s website www.thefashionpulpit.com or visit their studio at #02-08 Liang Court, 177 River Valley Rd, Singapore 179030.

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