swap studio

Free new clothes while saving the environment: Start swapping!

The fashion industry has a disastrous impact on the environment. In fact, it is the second largest polluter in the world, just after the oil industry. Especially fast fashion (zara, h&m etc), which makes shopping for clothes more affordable, it comes at a huge environmental cost. But we love fashion and we love wearing new clothes, so how can we stop this disaster for our beautiful planet? Well, two friends from Amsterdam came up with a genius solution: the swap-studio!

swap-studioHow it all started

It started with two friends, Roosmarie Raas, a fashion designer, and Nilofer Christensen a techie. Together, they decided it was time to make a change to our throw-away culture and inspired four others (Khrystyna Skvarok – Software Engineer, Simone van Rees – Photographer, Jasper Donkers – Merchandiser, Will Smibert – Sustainability expert) to join them. Now, swap-studio is an energetic team whose goal is to encourage reuse, by creating a community that is committed to a better tomorrow.


The swap-studio team. Photo credits to @Sophie Laubert Photography.

How does it work?


If you have clothes or house items you are not using or wearing or you got a gift that you don’t like or something that no longer fits you or your baby then, you just swap it for things you want. You only have to upload them on swap-studio. But in order to choose what you really want from the other members, this smart team invented kudos. Kudos is not money. It’s just a means of exchange, which you use them to swap again for other things you love. You get your first 20 bonus kudos for uploading your first approved product. You also get kudos for inviting friends or signing up for our monthly subscription.

So no matter the brand or retail value of the item, it’s currently not working for you and it is only taking up space in your home. But it could be loved by someone else. So swap-studio enables any member to give it a second home.

Why should you start swapping?

Because you love fashion, but you also love the environment. A few years ago when I was teaching Fashion Retail in Italy, I was always talking to my students about the environmental disaster fast fashion is causing and -with absolutely democratic procedures 😋- I was always showing them the film The True Cost, that explains exactly who pays the price of our clothing.

  • Fashion & waste: Clothing has clearly become disposable. As a result, we generate more and more textile waste. A family in the western world throws away an average of 30 kg of clothing each year. Only 15% is recycled or donated, and the rest goes directly to the landfill or is incinerated. Synthetic fibers, such as polyester, are plastic fibers, therefore non-biodegradable and can take up to 200 years to decompose. Synthetic fibers are used in 72% of our clothing.

image from wikipedia

  • Fashion & water pollution: In most of the countries in which garments are produced, untreated toxic waste waters from textiles factories are dumped directly into the rivers. Wastewater contains toxic substances such as lead, mercury, and arsenic, among others. These are extremely harmful for the aquatic life and the health of the millions people living by those rivers banks. The contamination also reaches the sea and eventually spreads around the globe. Another major source of water contamination is the use of fertilizers for cotton production, which heavily pollutes runoff waters and evaporation waters.
  • Fashion & water consumption: The fashion industry is a major water consumer. Huge quantity of fresh water are used for the dyeing and finishing process for all of our clothes. As reference, it can take up to 200 tons of fresh water per ton of dyed fabric. Also, cotton needs a lot of water to grow, but is usually cultivated in warm and dry areas. Up to 20,000 liters of water are needed to produce just 1kg of cotton. This generates tremendous pressure on this precious resource, already scarce, and has dramatic ecological consequences such as the desertification of the Aral Sea, where cotton production has entirely drained the water.

85% of the daily needs in water of the entire population of India would be covered by the water used to grow cotton in the country. — Stephen Leahy, The Guardian

Repeat after me: What can we do about it? Buy less and start swapping!

By reusing clothing that’s already been made and recycling clothing from one owner to another, not only it brings us closer to one another, but also it achieves source reduction. This stops the usage of new raw materials to make more clothing and it also saves money and time for us. The EPA states, that by reusing items, the clothes and other items can be diverted from ending up in landfills because it delays or avoids that item’s entry in the waste collection and disposal system.

Please share with your friends and family on social media, so the swapping gets bigger and bigger and the pollution gets smaller and smaller! #embracetheswap

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