Have you ever heard about clothes swapping? If you are Turkish, probably not. Because in Turkey, worldwide-known brands have their factories located there, providing people the opportunity to purchase clothes at very low prices. Additionally, Turkish people tend to underestimate the advantages of using one anothers’ old clothes, even-though most parents made their children wear their older siblings’ gently-used clothes at some point.
In contrast with Turkish shopping habits, second-hand shopping and clothes-swapping are very common in the western world. “Clothes swapping” is swapping your old, but barely-used clothes, accessories, and other useful goods with people who have the similar tastes and sizes as you, with the intention of creating a more conscious community regarding consumption. In other words, it is renewing your closet free of charge. During the years I lived in Sweden, as a college student, I experienced this economic way of shopping and became accustomed to it. When I returned to Istanbul, I couldn’t find an organization that hosted these kinds of socially responsible events.
Therefore, me and nobon, a non-profit organization about architecture, started an event called Giysi Takası, translated in Turkish as ”Clothes Swap.” This event will repeat every 6-weeks. Customarily, people will have new and old items to share at the beginning and the end of every season, therefore, the dates will be coordinated around these seasonal changes. The events will take place at Indigo Lounge Club in Taksim, within the center of Istanbul. During summer, the swaps will be held outdoors. What could be better than swapping clothes outside, at dusk, on a warm day of Istanbul?
The first Giysi Takası occured on Feburary 19, 2012 where twenty-five people participated. The un-swapped clothes were donated to a charity after the event. We donated around 4 parcels of clothes to Behçet Kemal High-School, who are hosting 47 earthquake victim students from Van, Turkey. The school manager appreciated our interest in starting an anti-consumerist event that makes people think about consumption, sharing, and possessiveness over items.
Credits: Image and data linked to sources.