Many aspects of modern life are known to cause some sort of environmental harm, such as driving to and from work, using disposable plastic items and leaving the lights on. However, when it comes to our clothes, the impacts are less obvious. Did you know that the fashion industry alone is responsible for dumping 92 million tons of waste in landfills a year? This averages out to a whopping 80 pounds of waste per person.
In order to prevent these numbers from rising, there are simple measures one can take in order to be sustainable when looking for new clothing. One method is to purchase used clothing or sell one’s own items. Or better yet, trade unwanted clothes with a friend. This is exactly what the new student organization Nova Fashion Swap promotes.
Nova Fashion Swap was created recently by sophomore Sarah Wisniewski. As a Liberal Arts student, Wisniewski was required to take a Mendel Science Experience (MSE) course. She chose to take a class called Polymers, which focused on plastic use, production and disposal. In the course, students were assigned a project to create a method in which Villanovans could become cognizant of plastic consumption in their environment. Wisniewski wanted to align her project with sustainability in the fashion industry, hence, the creation of Nova Fashion Swap.
The idea behind the Instagram account for Nova Fashion Swap is that University students can “swap” items of clothing that they no longer want with one another. The exchange is simple. For example, two friends could trade a shirt for a sweater.
“I truly believe we all go through phases in our clothing and inevitably get bored, but the clothing still has a lot of life left,” Wisniewski said. “Therefore, swapping items with a friend for something they also no longer wear allows the useful lifetime of the item to be extended and keeps the clothing out of landfills.”
Right now, Wisniewski is working on maintaining the Nova Fashion Swap account alone. However, she has received help from University faculty and staff.
“I have been in contact with Liesel Schwarz from Nova Sustainability, and she has been an amazing resource for providing other options in the fashion industry,” Wisniewski said. “Nova Sustainability was also kind enough to feature the Instagram account in their newsletter for November.”
Nova Fashion Swap is currently operating solely through the Instagram account. However, Wisniewski hopes to make her idea into a club in order to further highlight the negative effects that fast fashion has on our environment.
“I hope that in the future, I can continue to provide education about plastic use, especially within the fashion industry, and encourage students to buy more sustainable clothes over fast fashion,” Wisniewski said.
In order to get involved in the Nova Fashion Swap, DM @Nova_FashionSwap a photo of the article of clothing you want to swap or get rid of, and Wisniewski will post it for anyone who is interested.
And just like that, the University has its own virtual thrift store.
The Nova Fashion Swap was made with the intention of educating students on the harm of fast fashion, so that even if they do not participate in the swap process, they will be more responsible and informed.
“Education is crucial in people making more sustainable choices,” Wisniewski said.