A collective wardrobe spares resources, reduces clutter, and provides a steady stream of fabulous outfits. It's win-win all around.
The idea of a library used to be limited to books, but in recent years we're seeing a rise in different kinds of libraries. Toy libraries, tool libraries, and now fashion libraries are popping up all over, evidence that people are realizing the value in sharing resources collectively, rather than all trying to own the same things.
Lost Property is one of these brilliant new clothing libraries. Based in Fremantle, Australia, it is on a mission to fight fast fashion and conquer wardrobe clutter, while still allowing people to indulge their desire for new and trendy styles. From a press release:
"Think of the portion of your own closet that you’re bored of, never wear and don’t care about, gathering dust, moths and decades. These excess clothes that we all have in the closet could be called a waste, as someone else would happily wear these clothes as fresh new items in their own personal look."
Donations are collected, sorted, and graded before they go into the library, which ensures a well-curated collection. Any garments that cannot be used are donated to a local charity partner.
Members pay for a monthly subscription (the rate goes down depending on the length of time you commit to), and this membership gives full access to the clothes library. With unlimited exchanges, you essentially have access to an unlimited wardrobe.
Lost Property hosts regular clothing swaps and Sew No Evil, a meet-up group that sews, knits, patches, and upcycles fashion pieces: "You can learn how to sew, work on your creative projects, and stitch and b*tch all night long! We believe in making fashion sustainable and ethical, and so we invite you to sew no evil!"
I love hearing about startups like this because they demonstrate how simple effective solutions to environmental problems can be. Who needs cutting-edge fabric recycling technology when all you have to do is start sharing clothes with others in your community? Collective action is powerful and has the potential to be revolutionary.
I hope someday every town and city has its equivalent of Lost Property. In the meantime, if you live in the Fremantle region, you can support by donating clothes, purchasing a subscription, or volunteering to help.