ECO club brings awareness to consumerism with a clothing swap

Anita Liu
Students swapped their clothes for different clothes from other students.

During the Lowell ECO Club’s first-ever “Eco Swap,” students voluntarily brought more than 200 clothing items and accessories to trade on the catwalk from Oct. 9 to Oct. 19. The week of Oct. 9, students exchanged a clothing item for a ticket, which was used during the second week of the Eco Swap to acquire an item their fellow students had previously dropped off. The remaining unexchanged items will be donated to Goodwill, according to ECO club co-president and senior Kristen Tam.

Members of the ECO Club came up with the idea for the event at a weekly club meeting, while brainstorming possible ways to make the Lowell community more environmentally friendly. One aim of the Eco Swap was to help counter the growing fast-fashion industry, which emphasizes making trendy fashion items available to consumers quickly and at a low cost. “We had this idea to bring the Eco Swap to Lowell to combat fast fashion because consumerism is increasing so much and people are just buying things whenever they see it,” Tam said. “We wanted to make people more aware of how you can reduce the things you buy to what you need versus what you want.”

Lauren Caldwell
Junior Pearl Vermilyea and Seniors Eunice Go and Betsy Li pose in swapped clothing from ECO swap.

ECO Club members also thought that the Eco Swap would be popular among Lowell students because of the increasing trend of shopping at thrift stores. “A lot of San Franciscans are really fad about thrift shopping,” Tam said. “We wanted to bring this mini thrift shop to Lowell to bring more awareness about how easy and simple it can be to thrift because a lot of people have that stigma that’s like, ‘Oh, it’s dirty.’”

Tam believes that the Eco Swap was a success, noting that requests for another one to be held this school year are already being made. If a second Eco Swap occurs, she believes that there are some aspects that can be improved upon, including creating more awareness about the event. “I think we need to advertise it more because a lot of people didn’t really understand how it worked and that it was going on,” Tam said. She also thinks that the layout of the donated items can be improved. “Sometimes it was just a heap of clothes, like sort of folded but messily dumped on each other. It was sort of hard to look through,” Tam said. “We should lay it out in an appealing way, so that people can easily go through things and see what they want.”

Although no firm date has been set, Tam is optimistic that a second Eco Swap will be held in the spring semester. “I think in the spring, it would have a lot of potential, especially with spring cleaning,” Tam said. “For sure I think we want to try to do it again this school year.”