Sustainable Style: Recap on Do Sask’s Pop-up Clothing Swap in the Park

This week, some of Saskatoon’s most fashionable were invited to share how to make budget- and environmentally-friendly choices when it comes to shopping for our wardrobes.

The folks at Wild About Saskatoon asked me to host an event as part of NatureCity Festival 2017, so I got creative with their request. Do Sask is all about connecting with other people in the community, so I thought what better way to mix the two values of environmental preservation and meaningful connections than with a sustainable style focused clothing swap?

The Pop-up Swap in the Park was a charity fundraiser for the YWCA that also provided folks with insight on increasing the life of their wardrobe. People were invited to register to get the location of the event sent to their inbox two days before the swap.

In the weeks leading up to the pop-up swap, nearly 30 people registered. Unfortunately due to weather warnings only a handful actually showed up.

Here’s what we learned when three amazing stylists agreed to give us their favourite tips on sustainable style.

*This post has been edited as of November 6, 2017 to reflect business closures.

PickNic’s Catering provided a delicious spread while we discussed sustainable style. Here's all the food we enjoyed from our generous sponsor, PickNic's Catering.

We all loved nibbling on this fantastic array of colourful appetizers. The beet hummus went pretty quickly. The raspberry iced tea was divine! No need to gush over the cupcakes –  they were just as good to eat as they are to look at.

Krysta Arsenault from the YWCA gave us some insight on what programs are offered through the Crisis Shelter and how our donations have an impact.

Next up, we heard some great fashion (and let’s face it – life) advice from Je Suis Style, Paramount Day Spa & Boutique, and The Knick Vintage.

Here's a peak at some of the stylists listening to information about YWCA

K-Lyn from Je Suis Style (edit: now closed) brought in models to demonstrate how to upgrade an item from their closet that they haven’t worn, or never wear.

The model Amber chose this vest as something she loves, but can't figure out what to wear it with. K-lyn came in and showed her how to work it.

Model Amber Hoffart chose her chic vest and K-Lyn styled the outfit around it, bringing in the casual joggers with a striking floral heel.

K-Lyn’s top tips for styling a wardrobe with sustainability in mind are:

  • Fashion doesn’t need to be expensive to look good. Brand name clothing isn’t the be all end all of fashion. You can purchase clothing from Walmart, Value Village, Costco, etc. and still be stylish and save money.
  • Throw away those “ratty” pieces that are damaged (holes, stains, rips, etc). If it’s an essential item you always wear, replace it.
  • Wear items you never seem to get rid of during your closets raids. Ask a friend (or hire a stylist 😉 ) for help picking out an outfit to go with that shirt or pants that sit at the back of your closet. A second opinion makes a difference!
  • We all have flaws or parts of us that we don’t like to show. Wear what makes you feel comfortable. Nothing is worse than going out and feeling uncomfortable the entire time.
  • Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box with your style. Have fun with your clothes and wear whatever makes you happy.

Chelsey from Paramount Day Spa Salon & Boutique gave some vivid examples of how accessories can make or break your style.

Recap Do Sask Clothing Swap in the Park - Chelsey Hein Paramount Day Spa talks about using accessories to improve your look.

Chelsey’s keys to being thoughtful about your wardrobe are:

  • Accessorize! Adding stunning accessories can change an outfit dramatically. Go from drab to fab with a simple add-on to any outfit. For example, incorporating jewelry, shoes, hats, purses, belts can flip a basic black dress from workday to weekend in an instant. No need to break the bank on these items to look fabulous.
  • Be Patient. Those great pieces at affordable prices are out there. Stay on the lookout and don’t settle for any item because you feel you need something new.
  • Know what’s in your wardrobe. If you are adding pieces to your closet it’s best to get items that can be paired with what you already have.  Otherwise it will sit in your closet because you have nothing that goes with it.

Sarah Gaudry from The Knick Vintage gave us some tips on choosing quality items and the importance of staying patient throughout the process.

Swap in the Park - Sarah Gaudry from the Knick Vintage talks about paying attention to quality before purchasing and item.

Here are Sarah’s tips on becoming your own curator of vintage fashion:

  • Get a feel for quality items. While shopping second hand, touch the fabric of your item and bunch it up in your hand. If it hold its shape and feels good give it a second look. On the other hand, if it feels itchy or like it will fall apart then put it back on the rack. Some styles and fabrics were meant to stay in the 70’s. Natural fibers always look best over time.
  • Browse fast-fashion stores to see what’s on trend. You don’t have to buy the latest design brand new to look cutting-edge. If you see a pattern like leopard print or staple item like overalls that’s back in style go to the thrift shop and try to find it there first. When you do find it check the tag. Was it made in the 1940’s? Even better!
  • If you find an item you love, but needs TLC put it back. We like to think we can fix things, but ultimately an item that’s damaged will only sit on your floor waiting to be fixed rather than being worn.
  • Make a list. Come shopping with a list of things you are looking for, but don’t live and die by it.
  • Stick to pieces with clean lines and classic shapes if you don’t want to look dated. 
  • Know your own personal size. Do not get caught up in the number on the tag. You may need to try on three different sizes to find yours since modern sizing has gotten smaller over time.
  • And above anything: BE PATIENT! If it doesn’t feel right today just put it back for someone else to enjoy.

Bonus: Consider a tailor if you’re getting a deal on the item. Spending $20 on a $5 dress may just be the best money you’ve ever spent. If you have a pair of pants that you love, but are out of style Sarah can tailor the design to give them new life.

Lastly, we started sorting through the piles to find our new gems.

This slinky top complements the mermaid hair perfectly.

The stylists themselves even got in on the swapping pile action!

A heap of clothing to browse and donate back to YWCA

So much appreciation to these three fashionistas for taking the opportunity to talk about keeping style sustainable.

From left: Amy Rederburg, Chelsey Hein, K-Lyn Bonogofski, Sarah from The Knick Vintage
From Left: Amy Rederburg (DoSask.com), Chelsey Hein (Paramount Day Spa & Boutique), K-Lyn Bonogofski (Je Suis Style), Sarah Gaudry (The Knick Vintage).

P.S. This is my ‘shit happens’ when registered guests don’t show up look.

What happens when none of your guests show up your clothing swap? You say "fuck it" and party!

Thanks to my amazing volunteers Jacinda Johnston, Janelle Kowalchuk, and Linda Wood who provided much needed backup on picture-taking, set up and tear down.

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