Dress to impress with fashion for the planet

Dress to impress with fashion for the planet
Carol Saffer

The Young Mercy Links at the Mercy Hub in Carlton North is a group of post-high school young adults committed to social justice and mercy through volunteering and education.

At a recent retreat at Phillip Island, the group watched The True Cost, a documentary about fast fashion that sparked interest in recycling and reusing.

The film’s impact prompted members Isabel Clements and Phoebe Baillon to organise a Fashion for Planet – Clothing Swap to End Hyper-Consumerism event on Sunday, November 13, from 11am to 5pm at 617 Nicholson St, Carlton North.

Young Mercy Links co-ordinator Victoria Angela Scarafilo said all of the events undertaken by the group were member-initiated and -led.

“Isabel and Phoebe want to help eliminate fast fashion, and the Clothing Swap aims to encourage a movement away from fast fashion and hyper-consumerism and instead to focus on re-wearing, reusing, and recycling,” Ms Scarafilo said.

The True Cost highlights instances such as clothes factory workers clashing with the military in Columbia, factory fires in Bangladesh resulting in more than a thousand deaths, and the human and environmental impact of the garment manufacturing processes.

Ms Clements, who is studying for a Bachelor of Commerce and Global Studies at Monash University, said she had a general awareness of the fast fashion toll. 

“I was unaware of those specific events, and it adds to the shock value when you hear about or see them; it puts a face to all the things that have occurred,” she said.

“What is really a problem with Gen Z is that we consume so much without thinking about our choices.”

“We aim to get people in our demographic to start thinking when they make choices as they could act differently.”


Sustainable fashion is not always affordable, which is why it is a money-free event.


“Bring clothes you love but don’t wear anymore and swap them for something new for your wardrobe,” Ms Clements said.

In response to a comment in the film she said, “we communicate who we are through our clothing. You can choose how you want to express yourself through your clothes no matter if they’re bought new from a store or bought second hand or recycled.”

“Come along to give your clothes a second life, find some new wardrobe staples and learn more about how we can minimise the fashion industry’s harm to people and the planet.”

People without clothes to swap are welcome to take a few items but bringing something to hang on the clothing racks for someone else to choose is preferable.

The Mercy Hub will have shelves and racks of garments and changing rooms and mirrors will be available to view outerwear. 

The two organisers said Upparel, a textile waste recycling company, would collect any leftover garments.

For more information: facebook.com/events/436749811888437?ref=newsfeed •


Image caption: Phoebe Baillon left and Isabel Clements right.

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