The fashion industry accounts for a major chunk of the world's carbon emissions, owing to the use-and-throw culture that it has promoted. On average, people bought 60% more garments in 2014 than they did in 2000, and they kept the clothes for only half as long. 90% of textile products in Japan are burnt as combustible waste because there is no established system for garment recycling. In addition, the industry is responsible for 20% of global wastewater. A single pair of jeans uses 7500 litres of water in production.
However, there is a reason fast fashion is so popular. Fashion adds colour to our lives. It helps us celebrate the changing seasons and the beauty of nature. Our clothes determine how we feel - or how we want to feel - on any particular day. They help us express the version of ourselves we want to be - on social media, at a business meeting, with friends or on the couch at home. When we are able to do this without burning holes in our pockets, who can blame us for enjoying it? A sustainable alternative to fast fashion needs to be just as exciting, if not more. It needs to be an experience worth sharing.
Swap Stories is a Tokyo-based, Globally-minded initiative that aims to bring people together through a collective ownership of clothes and collectibles. We believe that for sustainability to truly become a part of all our lives, it needs to be accessible, shareable and fun. We organize clothing swaps in Japan to help people connect better with each other and with our planet.