CONSCIOUS SHOPPING Venustia PSO recently launched a clothing swap system. Photo: Supplied

Fashion on a budget

Thrifting has become a major trend, especially among younger generations, who often prefer a unique, pre-loved item to mass-produced clothing. We have already shown you the best thrift shops in Stellies in our previous edition (see Die Matie of 26 February 2020). However, even thrift shops cost money. This is why Venustia PSO has come up with an alternative for broke, but environmentally conscious students. 

Venustia recently launched their Eco-Closet, a swap system that allows students to simultaneously help the environment and save some money. Sasha McGhee, the sustainability HK of Venus- tia, explains that the Eco-Closet is a system based on an exchange, rather than on money. 

“You bring clothes that you no longer wear and can exchange them for an item in the store,” she says. You can bring any type of clothing and exchange it for whatever item catches your eye, which means that you can truly “shop” according to your current closet-needs. If you don’t find any- thing you would like to take home on the first try, you can add a credit to the store, and use it on your next visit. 

“It’s a fun concept,” said McGhee, whose passion for environmentalism and sustainability was the spark behind the idea of an eco-closet. “In Stellenbosch, students often need specific clothes for specific events – there are a lot of Huisfonds dances and parties and this and that that require costumes. Now students can exchange their old clothes that they’re not wearing for free and get what they need to get up and go out, without any cost to them personally, or to the environment.” 

She emphasises the huge, and often overlooked, impact of the fashion industry on the environment. “A normal t-shirt can use up to 120 litres of water per wear! When we started to really educate ourselves, our HK-team realised that by doing something that initially seems insignificant, we can have a massive impact – we can initiate a change in Stellenbosch.” In line with their vision of helping students out, they also decided to eliminate the entrance fee that usually tends to accompany these kinds of swap shops. 

After the official launch on 24 February this year, with a fun evening with live music and a zero-waste market, the Eco-Closet is now open on every first Monday of the month between 13:00 and 14:00 in the Venustia HK office on the 4th floor of the Neelsie. Venustia also hopes to host a termly zero-waste market in celebration of all things sustainable. 

In the same spirit of saving the world one t-shirt at a time, Nemesia ladies residence, in collaboration with the AmaMaties cluster will also have a sustainable night market and thrift shop tonight from 19:00 to 21:00 at Nemesia. According to Toriso Rajoale, cluster HK from Nemesia, you can expect an evening filled to the brim with “vendors, good food, good vibes and good times, all in an effort to be more sustainable in the way that we live”. 

“In being mindful with our fashion choices, we can help the world be a better place. With this project, we aim to lessen our impact. An entire cluster thrifting means that much more of a difference can be made,” Rajoale added. 

Stellenbosch students are clearly stepping up when it comes to responsible (and trendy) fashion choices. Go have a look either at the Nemesia/AmaMaties cluster event, or the Venustia Eco-closet – you might just find the perfect item to spice up your wardrobe! 

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