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SWAP MEET

Sweden’s new social experiment encourages citizens to share clothes with each other

By Marc Bain

In a very Scandinavian approach to reducing waste, Swedish citizens are now sharing clothes.

The ShareWear project centers on a fashion collection created in collaboration with some of Sweden’s top brands, including Filippa K, Hope, and Weekday. As Ecouterre reported, the clothes are free for anyone to borrow, as long as they’re shared forward. ShareWear is broader than just the collection, though.

“But we encourage everyone to contribute to the Sharewear movement,” says the Sharewear site. “Let your friends know they can borrow your clothes. Just snap a photo of the item you would like to share, upload it to Instagram and hashtag with #sharewear.”

Once a photo is posted, someone can claim it. Then it’s up to the person currently in possession of the item and the prospective borrower to arrange a meeting. ShareWear doesn’t handle shipping, or anything else really. It’s more a social experiment than a government program. After a week of wear, it’s up to the borrower to clean the item, and pass it along.

Screen captures from sharewear.se
Some of the Sharewear collection: Men’s jacket by Nikolaj d’Etoiles, bag by Hope, and skirt by Filippa K.

The groups behind it, interestingly, are the country’s official board of tourism and The Swedish Insititute, a public agency that promotes Sweden around the world. Sharewear is part of their Democreativity program, which calls itself an “open invitation to explore the potential of creativity.” Admittedly, it sounds a little like a PR move to boost Sweden’s image as a paradisiacal, quasi-socialist cooperative. But people are taking part, and some items are even traveling overseas.

It’s not a bad idea from the country that created H&M, which produces huge amounts of clothing that tax the environment and end up in landfills. “Million tons of textiles are thrown away each year,” the Sharewear site says. “But instead of tossing your clothes once you’re over them, you could give your ex-clothes the chance to fall in love with someone new.”

Its hope is that the clothes will “wander from person to person until they are completely worn out.” And once that happens, don’t forget to recycle.