I admit it. I have been a big fan and advocate for swishing way longer than the start of my journey to zero waste began. But it's such a cool way to prevent clothes and other lovely things going to landfill so I'm including it in my journal, as swishing is going to play a big part in CleverGreen events. Swishing is the name given to the simple yet enormously satisfying event in which pre-loved clothes, shoes and accessories of one person are swapped with those of another. It is possible to host a simple swishing get together in one's home which I have been a part of many times, or there are events across the UK that host swishing events on a larger scale and I have hosted these too. It seems only natural that I include swishing in my Green Living Journey as I am now passionately driven to set a record for the largest swishing event in the south east as part of my dream to create CleverGreen Street Festival.
After hosting a couple of swishing evenings at my house and recognising a fever pitch level of enthusiasm from my girlfriends - even before the Prosecco was poured - it very quickly became apparent that a clothes swapping event could prove popular on a public level. So, in 2014 I hosted Big Brighton Swish with my company Discerning Events. Local small businesses joined the event with stalls showcasing their products and services and the local press came along to run a story and photograph the occasion. Around 200 people attended, most of whom arrived armed full with clothes and shoes ready to exchange for tickets which would then become their currency to shop for more pre-loved treasures.
The popularity of Big Brighton Swish led to two further events focused not just on swishing but on sustainable living in general and became Sustainable Living Fair. These too offered the same line up of clothes swapping and stallholders but with the addition of workshops, guest speakers and live music. The Mayor of Brighton popped along to show his support and the local Labour MP Peter Kyle offered some words of encouragement and stepped in to help raise the profile of the event. It became very clear to me that sustainable living, zero waste and preserving the environment are issues that we all have a strong interest in and that's why now I'm ready to expand on this further with the festival. I feel that green living could really benefit from sexing up a little!
I want to paint a new picture of what green living looks like. There seems to be an assumption that sustainable living is only relevant to the stereotypical hippy types, harshly judged as being scruffy, unwashed, unfashionable and unemployed. I hate stigmas and putting peoples in boxes with a passion I really do. There's so much catergorising these days and an healthy need to put people in boxes. in my view, sustainable living is accessible to all, relevant to everyone and it just makes sense. Are we not all feeling the importance of protecting our beautiful Earth now, so that our next generation feel the benefit in the future? It shouldn't matter that you're someone in a suit sharing an interest in the same issues as someone dressed in tie dye. We all share the same planet, let's keep it a beautiful on, whoever we are.
Swishing isn't just for the grown ups either! CleverGreen Kids play host to a weekly Toy Swap event. Each Friday afternoon, children are invited to Shoreham Port Soul Kitchen for an afternoon of toy swapping, games and cake. It's a beautiful and fun way to teach the little ones about sustainability whilst also having the chance to pick up a new toy for free. Happy little faces, happy planet!