After reading the two previous parts of this blogpost, you now know how to buy and take care of your dresses in a fair and ecologically sustainable manner but what if there are clothes you simply don’t wear anymore? Let’s get to the last part of this blogpost series: How and where to can I give my “old” clothes in a conscious and responsible way?
In our opinion, it is fine to sometimes muck out your wardrobe. Some time ago we organized a clothes swop in our store in Berlin, where people came to exchange dresses so that many pieces could find a new home. Swaps like these are a great opportunity to get rid of old clothes and to get new ones without having to feel guilty. But even here you need a plan B if you can’t get rid of some pieces. After our last swop, we had the idea to place a hanging rail with all left over dresses in front of our shop and give them away for free. Within one day everything was gone and many people went home happy with new dresses. Important here is that you place the leftovers nicely and not just put a rummage box on the street because nice looking things will much easier find a new home. To avoid trashy streets, please take things home again if its raining or now one wanted them.
But what if you just mucked our but there is not flea market or cloth swop coming up? And what about things that you couldn’t get rid of? (Sorry but we can’t have a hanging rail with free clothes in front of our store every day ;)).
There are other ways as well and the first coming to many people’s mind are charity collection bins as for example those from the Red Cross – too bad that they are often not or only partly sustainable. Only about 10% of the clothes collected in those containers or bins do actually go to charity shops and are spread to people in need. The rest is mostly being shipped to developing countries, where they are shredded (you probably remember our Facebook post about the documentation “Unravel”) or sold on-site for very cheap prices that disturb local markets.
Luckily there are committed people with innovative ideas and social project, who spread our old cloth in Germany and in a responsible way. A good example here is the “Berliner Stadtmission” with its charity shop. Here they assure that donations are given to people in need and the surrounding area. What is left over goes to their small shops and are sold for very reasonable prices. The revenues from selling the clothes are than again used to help homeless and displaced people.
If there are still clothes left that could not be sold in the shops, they are then worked up to bags through the “Berliner Stadtmissions” own upcycling brand „WATER TO WINE“.
Initiatives like this are available in many places in Germany so try to get informed about what is going on in your city! For more possibilities to drop off donations you can also check this article published by UTOPIA.
Important: When giving dresses to charity shops, there are happy if you call before hands and ask whether they need something. Further it is nice if you only drop of pieces that are washed and folded nicely so that the voluntary staff does not need to do that as well.
We hope we were able to give you some new ideas, information and suggestions on your way towards a more responsible and sustainable wardrobe. And again: Every small step helps!