Friday, October 16, 2009

What, Why and Who?


Swap-O-Rama-Rama is
  • an opportunity to explore your own creativity with the help of experienced designers, sewers and printers.
  • a showcase for talented designers and artists who work with recycled clothing to make new fashion and accessories
  • an event that believes in the power of the community to make real changes.


Everybody is creative.  But for a long time, we've listened to the corporations whose own creativity is directed towards encouraging us to make their shareholders wealthy.  They've very nearly persuaded us that consuming is a creative activity in itself.  But for some of us, styling ourselves a look each day from the limited options at the shopping centre has become less satisfying.  We wanted more.  We wanted to feel that our clothes expressed our own personality, instead of labelling us with one of their's.  We learnt to sew, and discovered what happens when a consumer crosses the line to become a creator.  And it's good.

Why reuse old clothes?

Well, because there is so much around. Manufacturing has become so efficient that fashion changes faster and faster every year, and for many people, the lure of the new means they throw out the old before it has worn out. It's not at all uncommon to find brand new stuff, never worn, being sold as second hand. But where does it go if it doesn't get sold? Landfill. The stuff gets thrown away. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not sure where "away" is. Just because it's not at my house doesn't mean that it has been unmade, removed from existence. It's still somewhere, and it's taking up space that would surely be better used by wildlife, or agriculture, or low-cost housing, or sports grounds, swimming pools, concert halls, and community centres.

Believe me, I know what is underneath the beautiful park opposite Stirling Council offices. We used to drive past the Stirling tip quite often when I was a kid, and we'd hold our noses at one end of the street, and gasp for breath at the other. The smell was in 3D. You could just about grab smellballs and throw them at your siblings. Dig down 10 metres or so, and you could well find the first ever carrot peelings I produced as a child, or the plastic ice cream tub I melted in the microwave in 1982, or the teenage love letters I threw out when the object of my affection found someone new, scrunched into tight tearstained balls and carefully shrouded in plastic bags with the handles tied tightly to make sure nothing escaped. Ever.

How did SwapORamaRama come to be?

SwapORamaRamas began in America, developed by activist Wendy Tremayne.  Over the course of several years, they became more and more popular, each taking on the character of the community that held it.  

Here in Perth, the SwapORamaRama is being sponsored by Sewanista Fashion Workshops, a sewing and fashion school based in Malaga.  Director Sandra Bryans realised that the SwapORamaRama was an innovative way to bring together designers, artists, hobbyists, and fashion enthusiasts, while loudly and proudly declaring her belief that we have enough stuff already, let's work with what we've got.  

1 comment:

Jody Pearl said...

Hi Sandra,
I'm very pleased to have put a link to this site on my blog.
It all sounds so wonderful - you deserve to do REALLY well!