The Lost Property Clothing Library Make Fashion More Sustainable

A collective wardrobe is more environmental, saves money, takes up less room, and provides almost unlimited new outfits to wear.

Jun 7, 2019

We used to go to the library just for books and maybe DVDs too, but the idea of lending libraries has been expanded to include tools, toys, and prom dresses. Now, there are even fashion libraries as people realize the benefits of sharing resources collectively.

Lost Property in Fremantle, Australia, is one of the new startup fashion libraries where people can borrow fashion and vintage clothing to wear by way of a collaborative wardrobe.

Sharing a wardrobe is much less wasteful than buying your new fashions. You can save money by not having to buy the latest trends, and you won't have to find room to store it. Since fashion is not a particularly sustainable industry, it is much greener not to keep buying new clothing.

Just think of all the endless combinations of clothes, shoes, and accessories you can wear. You never have to shop by the season when you are part of a collective closet. If you need a formal dress, don't buy it, borrow it instead.

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You can also donate the clothing that you no longer wear. ”Think of the portion of your own closet that you're bored of, never wear, gathering dust, moths and decades," said a press release. "These excess clothes that we all have in the closet could be called a waste, as someone else could happily wear these clothes as fresh new items in their own personal look."

Donations to the library are sorted and graded before they go into the library to ensure a great collection. Clothing that is not up to snuff is donated to a local charity that the library partners with so that, so nothing goes to waste.

The library was founded by Rain Wickham who had been collecting and selling secondhand clothing for years. She told SBS Australia that "when people start sharing more and buying less, we will make a difference to the volume that the industry produces, and to the volume of waste."

It's straightforward to become a library user. Members pay a monthly subscription rate, and that gives you access to the collection. There are unlimited exchanges and clothing can be borrowed for up to a month and must be laundered before it is returned. That means you have an endless wardrobe.

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Lost Property also hosts monthly clothing swaps – when you really want to own clothing – and Sew No Evil; a group that sews, knits, and upcycled fashion pieces. Lost Property says, "You can learn how to sew, work on creative projects, and stitch and bitch all night long!"

While changing from buying your clothing from a store to borrowing from a collective closet may take some getting used to, it is an idea that's time has come. If you can't find one near you, start one and help make a sustainable fashion statement.

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Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.