Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Repurposing At It's Purest - It's Swap-o-rama-rama

I love discovering creative people and what's even more exciting is discovering a creative soul who found a way to harness their talent for the good of all. That is Wendy Tremayne in a nutshell - artist, writer, organizer, free spirit. She left the hustle and bustle of New York to live in a small New Mexico town where she is involved in the building of an off-grid lodging and cultural center. Oh how I envy this woman. She's living a version of my dream life.

I discovered her through a little article in a Access Magazine. There, I found a blurb detailing a fun event called Swap-o-rama-rama, which is the coolest clothing repurposing project I've ever heard of.

For crafty types like me, Tremayne created the perfect day. I'm salivating now thinking about heading out to join 500 other creative souls. I'll take along a bag of clothes I don't want any more. I'll pay a small fee at the door to help recoup the cost of the non-profit clothes swap. Then I get to dive into the piles of clothes from the other participants, pick out what I want, take it to the sewing machines and go to town making a brand new gorgeous outfit designed by ME. I think this concept is pure genius.

At every Swap-o-rama-rama there are local designers and creative gurus to help with instructions and brain storming. I love the idea of the fashion show at the end of the day to show off what everyone has made with the throw away clothes. The storyteller in my is intrigued that people get up and tell the stories surrounding certain items of clothing they brought to donate.

These events are perfect for the environment and for promoting community in an isolated world. Repurposing our clothing cuts down on textile waste and carbon emissions from production. Swaps allow us to wear our own brands and designs and to avoid being a walking advertisement for out of control consumerism. The day brings people together from all walks of life and help to bind us through experience and fun.

How cool is that? I wish I'd thought of it. If you like this idea you can contact Wendy and plan an event in your town. She's ready and waiting to assist you and me, maybe!


Anonymous said...

As usual Lisa, a truly insightful post. I don't think I would be very good with a needle and thread, let alone redesigning an outfit; however, what my fiance and I do is bring in clothes we don't want or use to the Canadian Diabetes Association Stores "Value Village" who in turn sell them for charity. As a matter of fact they take more than clothes. It's recycling at its best and allows individuals on lower income to purchase clothing at a greatly reduced rate. You'd be surprised at the quality of alot of the clothes. Anyways, I'm rambling.
Have a great week and weekend Lisa!

Lisa McGlaun said...


I do the same. I donate clothes to a local thrift shop and I shop there too. I've found some great pieces at Savers. It's the only place I go for jeans now. My favorite pair is a very expensive brand that I got for $10.00.

I just don't see the need to keep adding to the pile by buying brand new clothes. I only do it when I need an outfit for something the writer's conference in Vegas that I attend every year. I splurg and go shopping at the mall for that one.

Thanks for sharing,

Theresa said...

I think clothing swaps are the best way of recycling clothes and reducing fashion waste. I do, however, like treating myself to beautiful new clothes. There is an awesome store with a wonderful green philosophy -"eco lifestyle inside and out" called Embodies. The owner does one on one sound healing, gyrotonics, and pilates training to give a healthy inside and then offers healthy options for our outsides; eco clothing. They have a website:
I think their lifeprint is pretty spectacular :)