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clothing swap busan

Fast Fashion and the Clothing Swap

As the weather cools quickly you may find summer clothes you no longer love, or sweaters that don’t quite please anymore. Here comes the chance to clear your wardrobe of items you won’t wear next season, and discover something new for yourself, too.

Locally based English teachers Kara Bemis and Brittney Gail Desch have organised  a seasonal clothing swap, and they hope it is the first of many. The event is to be held at Table Talk English Cafe in KSU on Sunday, October 19th from 2pm-5pm.

In a recent interview Kara explains the event is meant to be a fun and fruitful time for all, and there are many reasons behind her motivation to establish the event. She recommends people bring one or more pre-loved items from home: on arrival they will be set out on a table for others to look through. Kara adds that there is no requirement as to how many items anyone drops off or picks up, and that this is due to the deeper issue behind the event.

Kara and Brittney seek a greater degree of sustainability in their purchasing power. Rather than shopping for new products, they want to reduce our impact on our finite earth by even a just a little, and one way is by openly sharing with others.


Furthermore, they notes the greatly negative impact from the textile and clothing production on both the environment and the labor forces that produce the fashion. Kara explains how she changed her whole shopping style and purchasing habits, and now takes direct inspiration for the event from a National Public Radio (NPR) podcast interview recorded for the Fresh Air Program.

Kara adds, “It was after the tragedy of the Bangladeshi factory collapse in the spring of 2013. The host interviewed the author of the book Overdressed, the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, and described the problems and solutions of the fashion industry. I think small changes like shopping second hand or swapping are great alternatives to supporting the ethically dirty, dirt-cheap and highly disposable fast fashion industry. It’s an especially easy thing to do, swapping goods, here in Korea, as we are mostly all in transit and will eventually leave with less than we have used in our time here.”

Hosts Brittney and Kara invite anyone with ideas for sharing about local sustainability and those who are interested in learning more to meet at the cafe at 1pm to discuss future events, including workshops. People with many items to donate are free to bring them from 1:30pm onwards. A conversation about sustainability in fashion will start at 2pm.

Whether the deeper meaning of the event means anything to you or not, swing by Table Talk for the Clothing Swap and go home with a bag full of goodies, or, at the very least, a belly full of top notch carrot cake!



About Julian Warmington

Julian Warmington is an Assistant Professor at the Busan University of Foreign Studies.

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