Are you ready for York's fashion swap? MAXINE GORDON reports

DID you know that cheap fashion actually costs the earth?

That's the question being posed by two York stylists who are holding a clothes swapping event in York.

Laura Fawcett and Sara Anson will be hosting the Sustainable Style Swap at Bobo Lobo cocktail bar, Little Stonegate, York, on Saturday February 9 from 2pm-5pm.

Tickets cost £8 and for that you get to take home up to ten items brought along by other swappers. Part of the deal is that you also bring up to ten items to "donate" to the swap.

Laura said: "It will be lots of fun. You can drink cocktails and pick ten items to take away. We will be offering style tips as well and giving people advice on what suits them and how to create that perfect capsule wardrobe."

People can bring items of clothing as well as accessories – all sizes and brands are acceptable, as long as they are in good condition. Laura said: "We want your clothes, shoes, bags, belts, scarves and hats – things that someone would love to take home and add some newness to their wardrobe."

It is that pursuit of newness that has made the fashion industry the focus on environmental campaigners. The industry is reported to be the second biggest polluter in the world, after the oil industry.

Laura, who has made her career in fashion, became aware of the environmental impact of clothing following a documentary by Stacey Dooley on BBC called Fashion's Dirty Secrets.

Laura said: "It was about how the fashion industry has become the second biggest impact on the environment – and all because of 'fast fashion' and our demand and desire to have the newest things."

Fast fashion refers to the practice by top retailers of bringing out a relentless stream of inexpensive clothing in response to the latest trends.

"It's all about newness and people wanting to pick up cheap clothes – but is having an impact on the environment," says Laura, adding it takes up to 5,000 gallons of water to make one cotton T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

"We see cotton as being natural, breathable, sustainable – without thinking about its impact on farming and the environment. A lot of fields are damaged through cotton farming – and it takes so much water to make clothes."

But it's not just growing textiles that is harming the planet, she adds. "A lot of manufacturing is done in China and Vietnam, then there is the construction, shipping, retail and disposal," says Laura – all adding up to a hefty carbon footprint.

And so she and Sara decided to "do their bit" and stage a clothes swapping event.

She said: "Our desire for the latest thing or constant updates to our wardrobes is having catastrophic impacts and our aim is to encourage us to swap unwanted items with our friends and family instead of always buying new."

At the event, Laura and Sara will give a short talk about the environmental aspects of the fashion industry and give out lots of style advice too. Drinks will be available to buy at the event.

Any leftover items will be donated to charity.

To book at ticket or find out more, contact: and

The duo will also be hosting a styling event and catwalk show at Pitcher and Piano during York Fashion Week on Thursday, March 28 at 7pm. Tickets cost £12 and are available via Eventbrite. The evening will include live make up demonstrations by Yorkshire hair and make-up artist Rachel Marie.

5 tips to create the perfect capsule wardrobe, from Laura and Sara

Less can be more when it comes to getting the most from your wardrobe. Investing time by creating a multi-functional capsule wardrobe will make getting dressed every morning quicker and will save you money. If you need an expert eye to help you put together a new wardrobe – or detox the one your have – Laura and Sara can help. Here are their five best tips for getting your wardrobe to work for you...

1. Define your style personality by working out which looks appeal to you the most and what style makes you feel your best, for example: classic, creative, relaxed, androgynous, fashionista etc. This will help you to navigate the shops as most larger stores are merchandised in different mini collections that appeal to different customers styles.

2. Build a core basics wardrobe by investing in key pieces that fit you well and will stand the test of time such as jeans, T-shirt, blazer, white shirt, black or navy dress etc that you know will go with everything. Then you can update your look seasonally by adding a few coloured or printed statement items that suit your style personality and


3. Detox your wardrobe twice a year and pack away seasonally into vacuum pack bags for storage so the only items hanging in your wardrobe are the ones that are

appropriate for the time of year including your core basics plus any seasonal items. Then at the start of each season when its time to swap over its like unpacking a new

wardrobe that can be seen with fresh eyes. Assess whether each item is working for you or not and if it hasn’t been worn in two years then maybe give it to charity or sell it on.

4. Trends come and go so rather than buying something new just because it’s on trend make sure you know its going to work with your current wardrobe and it actually suits you. Make a wish list of any key items that you feel you are missing so you can refer to them when shopping and add in over time. That way you know what you are buying is going to work well with what you already own and is not bought without thinking it through first.

5. Buy good quality – this doesn’t always mean expensive, so look for nice quality fabrics and great craftsmanship when it comes to seam structure, buttons, linings etc so you know your clothes will wear well. Also try not to over wash your clothes as this can prematurely age them, a cool hand wash cycle keeps dyes looking vibrant and fabrics soft.