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MUFD combines style and sustainability

Miami University Fashion and Design (MUFD) hosted their first clothing swap for non-members on Monday, Oct. 29. Attendees brought clothes they felt didn't suit them anymore in exchange for another attendee's, to refresh their wardrobe with equivalent pieces. Each attendee was granted a certain amount of tickets depending on how many items they brought in. Small items such as jewelry earned a participant one ticket, and larger clothing items traded for two or three tickets.

MUFD had previously done a smaller clothing swap for members only. The larger event last week was part of MUFD's sustainability initiative to encourage reducing the campus carbon footprint in fashion.

It was held from 6-9 p.m. in Armstrong Pavilion C where the room was transformed into its own boutique, complete with racks of clothes and three curtained-off dressing rooms. The ambiance consisted of soft pop music; very characteristic of a modern American Eagle or Abercrombie and Fitch store. Industrial chandeliers hung overhead, contributing to the sustainability theme.

Between 70 and 80 people donated clothes, totaling over 600 donated items.

One aspect of the swap that seemed to be lacking was the men's clothing options, as well as male student participation. There was a rack and a table of men's apparel, consisting of about 10 items to complete an outfit.

"We expected it because, in general, more females would get excited about the concept than males, but we were prepared for them," said Sarah Craig, MUFD vice president. "Most men aren't as inclined to come."

For the next clothing swap, plans are being laid out to represent men and women in the photo shoots and advertisements as well as a push to communicate it to MUFD's male members.

Despite the lack of male participation at the swap, more men are present in the club than ever before, as well as more male models. This will be the first year an all-male clothing collection will be presented at the fashion show in the spring.

Sarah is the voice behind the new sustainability initiative, which focuses on reducing the campus' carbon footprint and encouraging less waste in the process of buying and selling clothing. Over this past summer, Sarah, along with the executive board, compiled the idea for a clothing swap to support this principle.

"When I was applying for event planning director my sophomore year, we were required to pitch an idea for an event," said Sarah. "I pitched a clothing swap and figured out little details for it and how we would run it. When we decided we wanted to implement our sustainability initiative, it seemed like the right time to bring that idea to light. It was something that was in all of our brains at the time, and that is what brought it to fruition."

For the first event of this magnitude, more students attended than the creators expected.

"Usually when you first put on a new event, not a lot of people show up, especially for an event that's kind of wacky, but we had such a good turnout," said Rachael Steed, President of MUFD.

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The first hour seemed to be the peak time for the event, which started with upwards of 30 people at the doors.

"I have so many clothes that I don't wear anymore," said junior Nan Kanjanakullawat, an attendee of the event. "I usually go to Goodwill, but this is better."

As an international student from Thailand, Nan had to get rid of clothes because she doesn't live here full time and can't fit everything in her suitcase when she returns home. Nan said many international students donate multitudes of clothing at the end of the year as well.

Nan herself saw this as an opportunity to put her clothes toward a good cause. While she hoped to clean out 50 tickets worth of clothes, she ended up "purchasing" 38 tickets worth of sweaters, a pair of thigh-high socks and other items.

"In conclusion, I didn't really get rid of any clothes," said Nan.

The estimated 50-60 pieces left over from the event will be sustained and used for several MUFD events, such as a secret event that will be announced at their general body meeting tonight, as well as other donations in the future.

"For the rest, we will either be donating to a philanthropy, such as Dress for Success, or even to some of the fashion classes in need of items," Rachael said.

When attendees and other interested students asked if MUFD will hold another clothing swap in the spring, both Rachael and Sarah seemed hopeful.

"We received a lot of positive feedback and would love to host another event, but still have to work it in with the spring fashion show planning as well," Rachael said.

Sarah agreed and said that, at the very least, the clothing swap will become an annual event.