Even for people eager to reduce their carbon footprint, the goal of zero waste can be daunting.
It’s hard not to create some waste, as much as we want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. So Heather Kornman, owner of Golden Triangle Shop, suggests setting a goal of creating less waste and align it with activities in your life that bring you joy. Like finding something new to wear.
Clothing swaps—gatherings where people donate and/or buy used clothing for free—are one way for people to play a small role in reducing their carbon footprint. The events, which are usually free, are designed to recirculate or recycle clothing that has been previously worn. Some clothing swaps have admission requirements, such as bringing a certain number of items to donate, and some don’t.
Kornman, a small business owner, has made helping members of her community achieve their waste reduction goals the mission of her Lomita-based company. In the golden triangle shop clients may bring a jar or container to fill with hand soap, shampoo, or loose leaf tea. It’s also a space for the community to learn about sustainable living, as Kornman has collaborated with good morning cactus to host his talks and workshops on plant care.
Now Kornman is leaning into more community engagement events, like hosting clothing swaps to get their neighbors talking about sustainable fashion. The next one is March 18 at 24605 Narbonne Ave. in Lomita from 10 am to 3 pm
By bringing a few pieces of clothing to donate to the event, or even by arriving empty-handed, attendees will be able to review clothing others have left behind. If they see something they like, Kornman said, they’re free to take it.
Other clothing swaps are taking place in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Here are some of the people and organizations behind upcoming events and where to find them.
Interest in sustainability, particularly the sustainability of fashion, led Nicole Macias, Jannine Mancilla and Enri Navarro to organize separate clothing swaps before coming together to create radical clothing swap.
Macías said that the group learned that there is a lot of clothing that is not recycled and ends up in landfills. Clothes are also delivered to thrift stores that are sometimes full, and then the donations go in the trash.
“In a capitalist world,” Macías asked, “what is the most radical thing you can do? Giving away resources for free while helping the environment? Do not say more.”
While the educational component of sustainable fashion is important to the people behind Radical Clothes Swap, it also seeks to give the community access to more clothing.
“We knew that what we were doing was needed in our communities because we all share similar stories of growing up without the money or accessibility to dress the way we really wanted to,” Macías said.
Delivering clothes in this way reminded the women of their mothers, aunts, grandmothers and other family members who have sent undamaged clothes back to their home countries.
Their families had been doing this for generations, but they never had a name for it that wasn’t secondhand.
The clothing swaps sounded familiar to some people, Macías said, but the group was also met with skepticism.
“People would walk past our table at events and say, ‘Wait, why is it free? What’s the problem?’” she said. “And we were direct. We told them: ‘There is no cheating. It’s free. Like free, free.’”
Although their events are free, the women sell merchandise or accept donations to help them turn Radical Clothes Swap into a non-profit organization. They also accept monetary donations to purchase existing coat racks, hangers and canopies for events.
To learn more about radical clothing swap and their upcoming events, visit their website or instagram account. The group has a monthly residency at the Angel City Brewery in the Los Angeles Arts District every second Saturday of the month from noon to 5 pm The event is for ages 21 and older, but a minor may attend if accompanied by an adult.
Event: Pop-up at Erva Brew Co., 2377 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena
Date and Time: March 18, from 12 a.m. to 4 p.m.
After organizing a clothing swap for their friends, Veronica Ealba and Emanda Ceccia believed they could do the same for the public. Ceccia’s event design skills and her connections to local creatives combined with Ealba’s passion for fashion and sustainability helped them get started. consumer collaboration.
Consumo Collab is a full-service event design and production agency specializing in hosting clothing swap events. The women collaborate with businesses throughout Southern California, including the city of Los Angeles, Orange County, the San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire, to create pop-up events that give attendees the opportunity to swap clothes while the women local businesses and artists promote their products, art and music.
They said that young creators in their communities struggle to find affordable spaces to display or sell their work, and Consumo Collab wants to help with that.
“Our project is focused on creating equitable opportunity by providing more events and opportunities for these creators that it doesn’t cost a lot of money to be a part of,” they said.
The clothing swap component of the event, Ealba and Ceccia said, is a great way to engage with the community.
“Unlike the monotony of buying and selling, the goal is to provide an experience where consumers interact with creators to inspire one another,” they said.
To stay updated on the next exchange popup, keep an eye on Instagram by Consumer Collab account.
Event: A Consumer Collab and Dragon Fruit Skincare pop-up at 119 W. Transit St., Unit 1, in Ontario
Date and Time: March 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hosting a children’s birthday party or bachelorette party can be very wasteful.
When Dayna Lopez-Price hosted a party, she would head to her local Dollar Tree to buy disposable decorations because they were “easy to clean up and throw away.”
Several years ago, the Orange County resident said, she began to become more aware of the damage disposable party supplies (typically made of plastic, a non-renewable material) and single-use tableware do to the environment.
In an effort to prevent large amounts of holiday trash from ending up in landfills, Price started Festiveknickknacks Sustainable Parties in 2019.
Through his small business, Price offers customers party kit rentals that include themed decor, tablecloths, cutlery and other party-planning necessities.
After launching Festiveknickknacks, Price wanted to advocate for other ways to reduce waste. It was then that he discovered the clothing swapping events.
Price has hosted clothing swaps once a month since 2021, and at the end of each event, leftover items are donated to the Orange County Rescue Mission. Events are often held in Irvine city parks, but Price said the best way to find out where the next event is taking place is to visit the events section on the Holiday Goodies Website or checking your Facebook page.
Event: St. Patrick’s Community Swap & Share at Irvine Ranch Water District Community Meeting Room, 15500 Sand Canyon Ave. in Irvine
Date and Time: March 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
echo now is a zero-waste company and store with multiple locations throughout Orange County and, later this year, Riverside.
Founder, Thea Pauley, strives to educate others on making sustainable choices while offering local, handmade, and eco-friendly products in her stores to reduce waste.
“When I started my company four years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate community and educational events as a pillar of our brand,” Pauley said.
She hosts clothing swaps and many more green events on a monthly basis as a way to highlight sustainable living and make it more accessible.
In her Orange County community, Pauley said, she saw interest in clothing swaps, but the events weren’t accessible.
“My mindset is if no one is doing it then I have to do it, otherwise it may not get done,” he said. “And frankly, we don’t have time to waste on the subject.”
The next clothing swap is scheduled for Earth Day, which is April 22. For more information on current and upcoming events, visit the Eco Now website or check your instagram and Tik Tok accounts
Event: Go Green Mother Earth Market at Camp, 2937 Bristol St. in Costa Mesa
Date and Time: March 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The women behind Radical Clothes Swap have created a how-to guide on how to throw an event for your inner circle. Its three steps are:
- Start a stack. Go through your closet and look for clothes that don’t make you happy, that don’t fit you well, or that you haven’t worn in at least six months.
- Gather your friends. Choose a date and time to invite your friends to the exchange. Create your own guidelines for the event, such as a minimum number of items to add to the trade pile.
- Change until you drop. Enjoy your company and update your closets with pre-loved gifts. Any clothing that is not picked up can be recycled for your next exchange.
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