The Malta Independent 7 May 2021, Friday

Swap not shop, this New Year

Dayna Camilleri Clarke Monday, 11 January 2021, 15:07 Last update: about 5 months ago

Hands up, who has a few items at home never used, never worn and are lurking at the back of a cupboard? Whilst most of us are guilty of an impulsive purchase, a change in taste or stashing away an unwanted gift, have you ever wondered what you could do with your clutter? One such Facebook group has just the solution. “Swap women’s everything Malta” has been sweeping the islands in recent weeks. The active community sees over 7 thousand local women posting their unwanted goods and swapping items with like-minded individuals. From gift sets, perfumes to plants and even trading skills such as haircuts and yoga classes, one can really find everything. 

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Group founder Cecilia Martinetto is delighted with the page’s success, she explained her inspiration to set up the group to this newsroom. “The main inspiration came from a book: Save Cash, Save the Planet, which opened my eyes to the importance of recycling, de-cluttering and living in a more minimalistic way. Not to mention the importance of the environment, mental wellbeing and the benefit for your wallet too” 

When it comes to the success of the page, Martinetto said: “Once I launched the group, I immediately noticed an extremely huge interest from every single member, the more time went by, the more open-minded and interesting people I was meeting. This was why I decided to offer the possibility of swapping services too, and I couldn’t believe the money I was saving! For example, I offered a Spanish class for a haircut, other people are swapping yoga classes for food, beauty treatments and photoshoots”. Martinetto said: “The group has grown into such a lovely community; people have even made good friends from their swap buddies” 

Martinetto’s concept certainly has many benefits. Of course, swapping items comes with a sustainability aspect each and every one of us has a duty to consider, especially with clothing. Fast fashion is an unsustainable, exceptionally resource-driven business. The industry’s highly commercial evolution from functional needs to trend-centric has been facilitated by a structural shift to global offshoring in combination with advancements in mass-manufacturing technologies. Alarmingly, some clothes are often so cheap that they are treated as disposable (we aren’t going to name any brands here!). In the UK alone, an estimated 300,000 tonnes of textiles end up in household waste each year. 

What’s more, last year London Fashion week saw its first-ever swap shop. Clothes swapping has undeniably become increasingly popular in recent years, as the appetite for dressing inexpensively and sustainably has boomed. But the practice has never before had such high-profile fashion industry approval with brands such as Mulberry and Vivienne Westward adding to the mix. 

With the Covid-19 pandemic impacting deliveries to the islands, and many people wary of entering large shopping areas, why not de-clutter, save a few bucks, help the environment and take a leaf out of Martinetto’s book this year.

 

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