To tackle the climate crisis is going to take creativity and community. From systemic changes to personal changes, we will have to engage all sorts of multi-layered and intersecting opportunities to heal Earth – always trying creative new things in community with others, to laugh, stumble, cry, and heal together.
So that’s just what we did.
On Sunday, August 6th, We partnered with St. Francis Lutheran Church, a historic red-brick church (with big beautiful solar panels!) in the iconic queer Castro District of San Francisco, to host a clothing swap. Reverand Bea Chun and Gregory Stevens came up with the idea over lunch when thinking about how to engage the local community around climate justice in a creative way.
The issue we wanted to bring awareness and a solution to was the newest craze: Fast Fashion.
Fast Fashion has taken the industry by storm. Websites like Shein are a portal into a world of extremely inexpensive clothing, endless promotional ads for the next trendy product, and deals on deals on deals – 50% 75% 99% OFF! Shop NOW! Buy now and SAVE!
What isn’t mentioned on their website is how they get their clothes so cheap: they’re made under poverty wages in absolutely terrible labor and health conditions, in far away countries with little to no environmental standards in the factories, and then shipped from overseas to the United States.
As people of faith and conscience, Fast Fashion doesn’t sit well with us because of its human rights abuses and negative ecological impact. But we also deserve a nice new pair of shoes!
The clothing swap was a perfect alternative.
The premise was simple yet powerful: participants were encouraged to bring their gently-used clothing items, shoes, and accessories, and swap them for items brought in by others. What ensued was a vibrant exchange of fashion, stories, and a renewed sense of responsibility towards the environment.
Attendees were able to refresh their wardrobes without contributing to the demand for new clothing production. By reusing and repurposing pre-loved items, participants actively reduced their carbon footprint and the consumption of precious resources. The event encouraged attendees to embrace a more mindful approach to fashion consumption, challenging the notion that one needs to constantly purchase new items to stay stylish.
The leftover clothes were donated to Out of the Closet (benefiting AIDS health care) and Community Thrift Store (benefiting San Francisco Night Ministry).
If you and your congregation would like to host a similar event please reach out to Gregory Stevens to launch an easy eco-conscious community-building event.