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‘Swishing’ is the new sustainable fashion trend with Gen Z at the forefront

Generation Z is at the forefront of the sustainable fashion revolution with a new clothes swapping trend known as ‘Swishing.’

By now, I’m sure you’re well aware that fast fashion is vastly contributing to the terrifying and rapid effects of climate change, accounting for over 10% of all global carbon emissions. As people become increasingly conscious of the need to make drastic changes to their consumer habits, they continue to come up with new ways of tackling the industry’s sustainability problem.

The fur trade has seen a significant decline within fashion, and major brands such as Gucci and Chanel have received universal praise for signing last year’s Fashion Pact. In January, Joaquin Phoenix publicly committed to wearing the same Stella McCartney tuxedo throughout the film awards season. And we’ve even started renting garments for special occasions instead of buying new ones because, realistically, most of us will only wear them once before storing it in the depths of our endless wardrobes (am I wrong?).

Well now, Gen Z – arguably the most forward-thinking and eco-friendly age group of our current population – is spearheading the ‘Swishing’ movement which, no, isn’t some sort of dance move on TikTok, but a shopping trend that doesn’t harm the planet.

Have you ever tried on ten different outfits before frustratingly exclaiming ‘I’ve got nothing to wear!’ (we’ve all been there, trust me) and refusing to leave the house as a result? Or scrolled through Instagram fawning over your favourite style icons wishing you could dress like them? Well, as the old saying goes, ‘one person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure,’ and that’s exactly the idea behind Swishing, which lets you conduct a sartorial overhaul that isn’t going to cost you, or the environment.

Slowly developing into a global phenomenon, all you have to do is take something you no longer wear to a Swishing event such as Swapsies, ‘a fully-fledged social movement promoting waste reduction in the industry,’ and exchange it for something else. It’s that simple. While there are different rules at each one, the general consensus is that you receive a single token for each item that’s in good condition which you can then hand in later for some fresh pieces.

‘We all love fabulous new clothes, but not the unfortunate side effects,’ says Lucy Shea, founder of Swishing and CEO of Futerra. ‘Swishing is shopping without these hangovers. It’s for everyone who wants to combine glamour, environmental protection and frugality.’

Considering we officially buy five times as more clothing as we did in the 80s, it’s a pretty revolutionary solution to the fight against fast fashion. And, not only does it encourage greener consumption in an age when second-hand shopping is more popular amongst young people than ever before, but with research frequently revealing that we prefer experiences over straightforward transactions, it also provides a sense of community to those involved – a more personal take on sustainability, per say.

Besides the evident sustainability benefits, clothes swap events can also be great for transgender and non-binary people as they steer clear of the often-hostile world of retail, a much-needed respite from cases of shop-floor transphobia that aren’t exactly rare. ‘It’s an inclusive haven, free from gendered clothing sections, pushy sales assistants and awkward changing room stories,’ says Santi, founder of G(end)er Swap. ‘You can find new clothes, new friends, more resources and leave feeling really affirmed.’ Swishing is invaluable for all kinds of shoppers. It’s inclusive, deals with the issue of economic hardship, and is definitely a step in the right direction as we wake up to the fact that endless consumption is both unethical and totally impossible given our current climate crisis.

So, next time you feel like doing a haul online, why not opt for something with a story behind it, at an event where you can meet eco-conscious thrifters like yourself? It’s no wonder the preloved market is set to overtake fast fashion by the end of the decade.