A student from The University of Wales Trinity Saint David Carmarthen Business School is setting up a Clothes Swishing event in Carmarthen as a way to save the environment and for people to save money.
As a student, Christine Joy has become aware of environmental issues, circular economy, and the value of the local community whilst studying her Business and Management course at UWTSD.
During her first year, she became aware of fast fashion after undertaking the “Global Business Challenge” module. Whilst writing an essay, the research she uncovered shocked her – lakes were drained, a factory collapsed causing multiple deaths, ethical issues surrounding fair wage and working conditions and water pollution to name a few. After this discovery, Christine became conscious of what she bought, even down to the material. However, it wasn’t until her 2nd year whilst studying “Technological Change and Innovation” when the lecturer asked the class what they all could be doing to help our environment, she reflected back to fast fashion and investigated ways that everyone can do their bit, this is when she came across clothes swishing.
Clothes swishing is a way to slow down fashion and help our environment. By keeping items of clothing, shoes, and accessories in life for longer, we can reduce the need to buy new, helping our environment and saving money.
The vision is simple. At a clothes swish event people will bring good quality, clean clothing, shoes and accessories which they no longer need and in return are provided with a unique validation number containing points per item (some such as brand new with tags or designer brands may be provided with extra points). All items collected are then inspected, sorted, and placed into the swishing event. During the day of the event people then redeem their points for replacement items of clothing, shoes, and accessories. Any items left over will be offered to sustainable, circular economy sectors such as fashion and design students or charity shops etc.
According to Christine,
“The average person does not use 1/3 of their wardrobe with many items still having tags. Fast fashion is one of the biggest contributors to global emissions, and pollution and generates over 95 tons of waste a year, not to mention ethical exploitation.”
Before Christine came to UWTSD to study, she worked for the biggest company in Wales, where she had worked her way up the ladder to lead manager, running a small department. She always held a passion to start her own business and would always see opportunities, but through lack of knowledge, she never put them into motion. After moving back to her roots in west Wales, she decided to come and study at UWTSD as she wanted to study somewhere with a friendly and family feel environment.
Christine has felt that the course has developed her both academically and personally and she feels that she has found herself again, however, says she is pushing herself to achieve more.
“The course really provokes thought regards to global business considerations, our planet and community. The course stimulates creativity as real-life scenarios are drawn upon with several opportunities for advancement made available to students.”
Creating an event like this on campus would according to Christine,
“prevent clothing waste from entering landfills and keep it within a circular environment, saving students, family, and the community money. I would like UWTSD Carmarthen Business school to be recognized for sustainability and value creation, in addition, to strengthen relations within the local Community and UWTSD.”
Lecturer Jessica Shore is very proud of Christine’s vision. She said,
“We are delighted to support Chrissie and her event, which will benefit both her fellow students, the wider community and the environment. The undergraduate business programmes here in Carmarthen aim to challenge traditional business behaviour and Chrissie’s desire to make a difference is a wonderful example of this. Personally, I shall be having a good sort out and encouraging the rest of the staff and students to do the same in order to make the event a success!”