Goody Bag Competition – new prize added

We gave you a sneak preview of the first item to go into our Goody Bag Competition last week and we are delighted to show you this second item kindly donated by The Basket Room.

The Basket Room 1

You could be in with a chance to add a splash of colour and style to your bike with this unique, fair trade basket accessory. Ideal for small shopping trips, a cycle around town, study books and picnics!

This beautiful basket, worth £69, is part of the signature collection and was designed in-house by The Basket Room and handwoven by their partner weaving cooperative in Northern Ghana.

Woven from the wild veta vera grass, each basket goes through a detailed process from harvesting, rolling, dyeing and finally weaving. Dyes are natural, often extracted from tree barks and vegetables. Buying this basket directly supports the weavers to increase their livelihoods and become less dependent on self-sufficiency farming, which is very unreliable during the dry seasons. Each bike basket comes with a thank you card from the cooperative who made your basket. Meet the weavers from Ghana here.

This amazing collection is available to view at:

There will be more items added soon, along with full details of the competition – so make sure you don’t miss your chance to enter by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

The Clothes Club Goody Bag Competition

Sneak Preview

Hand knitted scarf up for grabs

We will shortly be launching a competition on our Facebook and Twitter pages for a fabulous goody bag, full of wonderful delights kindly donated by various suppliers and partners. Here’s the first preview of one of the goody bag items.

Why would I need a scarf in Spring you may ask? Well this is Great Britain, with the not so great weather producing snow and hail only last week. And if the weather is kind enough to behave itself, you can always stash it away until the winter months approach. Plus, this is not just any scarf…

Hand knitted scarf

Super soft hand knitted scarf

This super soft hand-knitted scarf was donated by Birdsong – a clothing range for women who expect more from their wardrobe. Birdsong finds the best female makers and brings them to you, no sweatshops, no photoshop. They source fairly made fashion, from chitenge-printed bomber jackets to quirky bone jewellery. Each purchase gives 50-85% back to the women who made it, from groups in Malawi to seamstresses on Brick Lane.

The scarf was crafted at The Bradbury day centre by Edna. The expert knitters meet once a week over a chat and cup of tea. The ladies donate profits from their scarves to the centre, allowing them to welcome in more of London’s older people.

Watch this space for more goody bag items and details of the competition, which will launch within the next month.  Make sure you don’t miss your chance to enter by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Clothes Swapping – what’s it all about?

Clothes ready to swap

Clothes swapping (or swishing) has become increasingly popular and we truly believe it’s the future of fashion. So for those of you who are new to this concept, read on to get the lowdown.

So basically we all love clothes right? We buy, we wear, we put in the wardrobe until we lose a couple of pounds / the right occasion comes along, we hoard, we buy some more. And so the cycle continues. But what is the impact of this? Most of us have never even thought about it, and that’s ok. But let’s just take a quick moment to consider it.

The Stats*

  • the average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes
  • around 30% of clothing in wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year;
  • the cost of this unused clothing is around £30 billion;
  • an estimated £100 million worth (based on 2015 prices) or around 350,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year

You may be thinking ‘Wow, that’s a lot of clothes but where do I come in?’ Well here’s the thing:

  • Extending the average life of clothes by nine months would save £5 billion in resources used to supply, launder and dispose of clothing
  • extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints

Make a difference without making a sacrifice

Clothes swapping is designed to cut this waste and provides all the fun of retail therapy but without the consequences to the environment. It’s fun, rewarding and there is no guilt attached when you go home with 2 bags full of new clothes (so you won’t need to hide them at the back of the wardrobe in case your other half asks how much you’ve spent!).

So now you know what it’s all about, why not give it a try?  There are lots of clothes swaps happening all over the UK, many for brilliant causes and many just for fun. So go on, give it a go – we guarantee you’ll love it!

Useful clothes swapping resources

* Stats from ‘Valuing our clothes’, a summary of the key findings of a major technical report published by WRAP.

Our next pop up clothes swap at Proud Archivist – raising money for Breast Cancer Care

We’re doing our next event at Proud Archivist on Wednesday 25th. Arrive from 6.30pm with your clothes and we’ll be sorting them out until 8pm. We’ll give you tokens for your items. The only rules are: coming with up to 3 items and quality over quantity, something you’re proud to give away. Still have clothes with tags on? Or something that doesn’t fit anymore?

Tickets can be bought from here otherwise it’s £15 on the door. All profit is going to Breast Cancer Care.

Proud Archivist are kindly doing 2for1 cocktails for us and you can enjoy dinner in their restaurant until 8pm when we’ll start.


Dalston roofpark clothes swap fundraiser – for Childhope and Art Against Knives


We’re excited to be doing our 2nd Clothes Club fundraising event on Dalston roof park, on Thursday 21st May during their opening launch month.We’re supporting two great projects:

A youth project run by Arts Against Knives. Through their creative workshops and projects they have been successful in supporting young individuals with a past in crime who need experience and opportunity to access education employment and training.

We’re also supporting Childhope via TRAID, to provide birth certificates for children of garment workers. In Bangladesh many garment workers are extremely poor women who are single mothers. They have usually migrated from rural areas looking for work and opportunities for themselves and their children. With high demand for cheap labour in the garment industry, many of these women work sewing clothes in factories. Birth certificates are crucial so their children can get access to education and medical care.

Early bird tickets are available for £8, hope to see some of you there. And thanks for your support.

Let’s put some conscience into our closets!


Textile waste in the UK: these figures aren’t fabricated

Here at the Clothes Club we are always keen to promote a more socially conscious textile consumption. A phenomenal 70% of textile waste in the UK is comprised of clothes and shoes. Due to seasonal fashion trends, consumers (that’s you and I) tend to discard good quality clothing (4% of each household bin!) when it is no longer fashionable. Because of this throw-away culture, designers focus less on producing durable, quality goods and consumers are encouraged to buy new clothes at a faster rate. In fact, 2.15 million tonnes of new textiles are bought in the UK every year. Moreover the textiles industry generates additional quantities of waste yarn and fabric from scraps during the production process, which adds to our already mountainous proportions of textile waste.

A large proportion of the synthetic fibers that make the journey to our brimming landfill sites do not decompose. The materials that DO decompose (such as wool etc) produce both Methane and Ammonia. Methane is one of the most lethal greenhouse gasses, far more damaging than the infamous CO2 and a key contributor to climate change. Ammonia on the other equally toxic hand is known to increase the Nitrogen in drinking water as well as poisoning the air, which of course is more bad news for us. Despite these troubling realities within the landfill process, the UK has yet to pass any specific legislation to regulate textile waste or indeed encourage its recovery or recycling. But all is not lost! This is where we come in, noble Clothes Clubbers.


Recycling is the magic word

Recycling! A much loved word here at The Clothes Club. Did you know that roughly one million tonnes of UK textiles goes into landfill every year and the majority of it could be recycled? What better way to combat this than coming to one of our events and giving your old clothes a new, much-loved home.

Recycling is not only great on a micro level (reducing personal waste) but on a macro level, producing our own material reduces textiles imports and therefore balances payments, which means a healthier economy for us, yippee! It also stops the great amount of pollution released when transporting textiles into the UK. Following the shocking death toll of the factory fire in Bangladesh, malpractice from UK textile firms outsourcing labour abroad has been brought into the public consciousness. We are far better off sourcing clothes from the UK rather than contributing to a culture of poor working conditions for workers, coupled with low wages and long hours. Recycling it seems, is the cure to a wide range of social, economic and environmental problems.

There are of course, several ways to recycle or reclaim textiles. The first is in the more industrial sense, in which yarn is unravelled and material is graded into colour and type. This is then shredded into ‘shoddy’ which is then re-spun for weaving or knitting. The process is brilliant because colour sorting means no nasty chemicals have to be used to re-dye. The energy intensive process we use in the UK to make textiles from virgin material can be reduced by 50% when reclaiming fibre.

Another way to recycle clothes is through the process of upcycling, you would be surprised what some fabric dye and a set of new buttons can do to a garment. Look out for tips on how to give garments a new lease of life at future Clothes Club events, we have plenty up our sleeves.

Lastly there is the recycling of whole garments, be it through taking clothes to local clothes banks, charity shops, jumble sales or through swapping them at fun events such as the Clothes Club. Any leftover clothes from our events currently makes its way to our local TRAID or Oxfam.

You can find more information on textile waste in the UK here and here.

Next Clothes Club…get prepared

We’re in the midst of the sale season and in the face of great savings it’s not uncommon to find yourself falling for a bargain without any real thought about whether we’ll actually ever wear it. So inevitably we all get stuck with garments we bought in the heat of the moment that never see the light of day. And it’s often difficult to get rid of things that we feel guilty about buying. We find reasons to hold on to them and forget how long we have been putting off dealing with them.

One way to make the steps easier is to box up any suspect items and store them out of sight (always good to write down the date on a scrap of paper and put it in the box too so there is no side stepping the issue of when they went in). A storage box in the car boot or attic will do. If the clothes are still in there 6 months down the line, it’s time to face facts.

Another technique devised by blogger rayandjen was to spend a short amount of time turning all of the hangers in your wardrobe the wrong way round. Then all you have to do is carry on as usual. Take clothes out, wear them and, when you return them to the wardrobe, put the hanger in the right way round. Anything still left the wrong way round in 6 months…

Bring to the next Clothes Club.


Picture credit: rayandjen