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  • Swhop, Shwop, Swap same thing to me…M&S joins the ‘Shwopping’ revolution

    Swhop, Shwop, Swap same thing to me…M&S joins the ‘Shwopping’ revolution
    As of the 27th April 2012, M&S held their first shwop lab event at The Old Truman Brewery just off from Brick Lane in London. With the support of M&S TV commercials, fronted by a well-known and loved British household name, Joanna Lumley, M&S joins the ‘shwopping’ revolution.   I use the word joins, because ‘Shwopping’ is not a new concept, its been around for quite a while, you’ve probably have swapped an item of clothing with friends and family without you knowing you have ‘Shwopped’. Shwopping is a way of reusing/re-cycling clothes by swapping and exchanging your clothes for new items. The idea allows you to think about the way you shop, consume, by becoming consciously aware of your shopping habits and behaviour patterns.   H&M did something similar last year, Futerra hold similar events to which they call ‘Swishing’, BBC did a show called ‘Frock Exchange’ back in 2008 with Twiggy as the main presenter fronting the idea to recycle clothes, and I myself created (what I called) ‘Shwop shopping event’ at London’s prestigious Battersea Arts Centre, part of my Masters’ thesis at Goldsmiths University called ‘Are you you?’ part of the social enterprise I formed called ‘Wakeup Campaign’. The concept has now evolved to ‘Conscious Swap Shopping’, which will launch during London’s Design Festival and London Fashion Week later this year.   Knowing that we live in neo liberal regime, created by the capitalist establishment, trading globally, mainly for the Rich West, we are now seeing the after affects, the reminiscence of our miss management of our consumption through issues raised on climate change and more. Being exposed to sweatshop scandals with in humane labor force, we now all need to change our behaviours, and so by M&S using the term ‘Shwopping’ I guess they have seen projects like my own, tackling this issue on a grassroots level.   By M&S teaming up with Oxfam, one of the most well-known clothing charity providers, will be able to reuse the garments brought in by the public. This act is not necessarily ‘Shwopping’ as one is not exchanging clothes, but just dropping it into an Oxfam box, I guess it’s one way of thinking about what you are doing.   For M&S televising this act, it’s extremely positive, it’s a constructive message to the masses, initiatives such as this is welcomed and needed. There are many brands and companies doing amazing work supporting fair-trade farmers such as: ‘People Tree’, ‘Katharine Hamnett’, ‘Beautiful Soul’ just to name a few, we all have to remember this type of act need not be a trend, a fad, a pass away action, but more of a deep disruption/change to the fashion industry and our attitudes as clothes wearers needs to alter, we need to really delve in to the psychoanalysis and habitual methods to why we have continued to pursue this throw away attitude, this is what Wakeup Campaign is tackling, using both design disciplines and practices fusing it with business to comprehend issues at hand and then taking action, by creating events such as ‘Conscious Swap Shopping’ and working with social/sustainable companies to produce innovative campaigns, designs and strategies to help provide change within our communities.   Viviane Williams Founder & Creative director at Wakeup Campaign (Creative behavioural change social enterprise) For more information please send an email: info@wakeupcampaign.co.uk