The youth of Ballarat are encouraging people to think more sustainably instead of buying brand new clothes when changing up their wardrobes.
Our Shared Wardrobe, a clothes swap event organised by young volunteers from Ballarat Youth Services as a part of Vic Youth Week and the Ballarat Winter Festival, took place at the Ballarat Mining Exchange this week.
The event saw around 130 visitors in attendance, who brought their own garments to swap for others for a sustainable wardrobe refresh.
Youth volunteer organiser Lauren Riddel said the aim of the event was to redefine how people thought about fashion and recycling, while educating them on the consequences of the fast fashion industry and how much waste it produces.
"We're overrunning the world with our fast fashion and the demand is so high, it's damaging our planet," she said.
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Youth volunteer organiser Eloise Amirtharajah said they wanted to change the way young people went about acquiring new clothes, turning it into a more meaningful and less materialistic experience.
"It's nice to have a story behind something, clothes swaps start conversations, if you go into a shop, buy clothing and then leave you don't have any connection," she said.
The event also featured skills workshops on sewing, mending and upcycling clothing in a bid to encourage people to repurpose and refresh clothing they already own.
The youth organisers advocated for clothes swaps to become more common, encouraging people to start holding swaps amongst their own communities.
"Just because something's not trendy or in fashion, if you don't like it anymore that's fine, but someone else will want it," Ms Amirtharajah said.
"What an amazing way to get together with your friends without spending money and you still leave with something brand new to you," Ms Riddel said.
"And it's a great way to have a discussion with your friends about the fashion industry and it's consequences," Ms Amirtharajah said.
Ballarat Youth Services also engaged local artist Diokno Pasilan to create an interactive art installation made from fabric waste entitled 'Fabric Forest', displayed at the Ballarat Mining Exchange, to visually represent how textile waste has harmed the environment and educate people on sustainable practices.
"The Fabric Forest showcases what a big problem it is, while the clothes swap provides a solution," Ms Amirtharajah said.
"This big clothes swap is a step towards showing what we can achieve," she said.
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