The line-up has been announced, the festival tickets are booked, and so, the hunt for the perfect festival outfit begins. In the absence of a clothes swap opportunity, most of us go straight on to Google in search of a new outfit. ‘Boho festival look’, ‘festival outfits’ and ‘Coachella outfit inspo’ being the go-to searches. We spend hours scrolling through images online on the hunt for the perfect look.
The problem is, we never consider the fact that on our online pursuit of our ideal festival outfit, we are contributing to our carbon footprint.
“BUT HOW?!” I hear you ask. “I’m only doing a bit of online research!”
Every search made, screenshot taken, or picture sent into a group chat creates data that has to be stored. The data is stored in 70 million data centres across the world. These data centres house thousands of computers which release a lot of heat. Keeping the computers cool uses a lot of energy. Sadly, the energy usually comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which is not very Mother Nature friendly at all.
The true cost of online shopping
According to data published by Save on Energy, the worst online fashion retailer in terms of CO₂ emissions per visit is Boohoo. Every visit to Boohoo emits 7.21g of CO₂. To put it into perspective, 24 visits to Boohoo emits the same amount of CO₂ as driving a car one whole kilometre (171g).
Other offenders include Nasty Gal and Miss Pap, while ASOS and Zara are not quite as bad in terms of CO₂ emissions per visit. Before we even consider the greenhouse emissions of the plastic packaging or the delivery vans, the actual act scrolling through pages online is polluting our environment.
So, next time you’re on the hunt for a dazzling new festival outfit online, spare a thought for the carbon footprint you are creating.
So what does this mean for our next festival outfit? Must we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to dress up in order to save the planet? Or, is there another way of getting the perfect festival outfit without harming our environment quite so much?
Let's swap as the beat drops
There’s something nice about wearing something that you’ve not worn a hundred times before. So, what if your festival ticket also granted you exclusive entry to a pre-festival fashion swap event?
Picture it. You book your festival tickets and instead of ordering outfits online, you attend an exclusive pre-festival clothes swap.
You walk through the doors, preloved clothes in hand, to find a room full of good vibes and amazing clothes. There’s a DJ playing and hundreds of festival enthusiasts spend the day singing and dancing while looking for the perfect outfit.
By the end of the day, you’ve made new friends, swapped numbers and promised to meet up at the festival. You all leave the event full of excitement for the upcoming festival, safe in the knowledge that on the day, no two outfits will be the same.
It’s truly a win-win-win-win-win situation. There are so many benefits to events like this!
Why fashion swap parties are the way forward
Firstly, if those who organise festivals were to promote clothes swap events, this would raise the awareness of the environmental problems caused by the fashion industry. We could avoid countless items of clothing ending up in landfill after having only been worn once, if at all.
Not only is it a good way to clear some wardrobe space, but you get a new festival outfit for free. Think of it as one huge opportunity to clear out your wardrobe and raid the wardrobes of others.
Perhaps more importantly though, by swapping clothes, the need for online shopping for festival outfits would be eliminated. This would reduce the amount of pollution from data centres, transport, and from plastic packaging.
Contiki Tours, the world’s leading youth travel company, held London’s first ever Holiday Wardrobe Clothes Swap as part of their ‘Love Not Landfill’ campaign. The Holiday Wardrobe Clothes Swap saved a staggering 1700 garments from ending up in landfill.
The bottom line is, sustainable fashion doesn’t have to be boring. Equally, festival fashion doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive either!
Let’s switch it up, make a day of it, and make fashion swap parties the next big thing.