Heaps of graphic t-shirts, sweaters and an assortment of socks covered the tops of the plastic picnic tables arranged in the Student Center’s fifth-floor auditorium. Students from all majors crowded around the tables to look at their options as they swapped their own clothes for something fresh, all for free.
“We know everyone at Columbia loves clothes and is really fashion-oriented,” said Sage Brahmstedt, president of the Renegades Outdoor Collective and a student of film and television arts. “What better way to get everyone involved than a clothes swap.”
The ROC and Renegades Volleyball Club held their first clothing swap on February 11 as part of their organization’s varsity event. The event brought together more students than expected, Brahmstedt said.
“We’ve never seen so many people show up to one of our meetings before,” she said. “It’s just amazing to see so many people coming to an event.”
Taylor Boydston, president of Renegades Volleyball and a marketing and public relations double major, said students were even rolling in suitcases full of ready-to-swap clothes.
Diego DeGuzman, a freshman in film and television, said it was a good opportunity to get rid of the clothes he no longer wore and replace them with some new t-shirts and jeans.
“I had a lot of clothes that didn’t fit or that I didn’t like anymore, so I thought it was a good opportunity to give them to people who might need them,” DeGuzman said.
According to the Business Research Company, the global ethical fashion market is expected to grow from $6.35 billion in 2019 to $9.81 billion by 2025 and $15.17 billion by 2030.
“I appreciate [sustainability] because there are so many different ways to be sustainable and incorporate sustainability into your life,” said Leila Manthi, a junior acting student. “It’s definitely a collective effort, and it’s certainly not up to the individual, but there are ways to make it accessible to everyone.”
The ROC and Renegades Volleyball plan to donate the remaining items that were not exchanged and hope to hold another clothing exchange in the future.
“It’s a unique thing, but you know, maybe in the future we can put another one on because it was such a hit,” Brahmstedt said.