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  • St Andrew's

Eco Committee's Big Clothes Swap Helps Fashion Remain Sustainable

On the final Wednesday before half-term, our Eco Committee hosted The Big Clothes, Shoes & Accessories Swap to raise awareness of their topic of the term, 'Waste in the fashion industry’, and support families in crisis through donations to local charity, The Cow Shed.

Our Old Hall was transformed into a stylish preloved pop-up shop, along with personal stylist, sustainable fashion photographer & filmmaker, Customisation Station, and resident DJ. It was filled with rails and rails of clothes, stacks of shoe shelves, and heaps of accessories, for every age.

Year 6 Eco Committee member, Annie said:

“It was amazing to see how many clothes there were and lots of people showed up.”

Pre-Prep and Prep School Pupils, parents and staff popped in throughout the afternoon, grabbing a bargain, customising items, and getting advice from our very own fashion stylist and colour expert (aka Learning Support & Art Teacher), Caroline Nuttall.

Our enthusiastic Eco Committee took on the roles of store assistants, worked at the checkout, and helped younger children at the Customisation Station, all expertly overseen by our Retail Manager (and Pre-Prep Eco Rep/Form 1 Tutor), Nikki Cox. Year 7 Eco Committee Member, Ben said:

"There was an amazing buzz in the air, everyone was so excited and happy to find some brilliant clothes. I love my new hoodie! I am really happy that St Andrew’s raised awareness about how many clothes are just thrown away every year. What a waste!"

Dom Watton of Watton Earth? Productions took to the floor to share his experiences of working with sustainable fashion brands, and community and environmental projects, while resident DJ, Billy, provided the euphoric background beats. (Yes, there was some dancing (Mrs Cox)!)

DJ at Clothes Swap event
Resident DJ, Billy, providing euphoric background beats

Enviable retro pieces

No one could believe quite how much high-quality stock had been donated, some still with labels, others vintage, and a range of enviable retro pieces that everyone had their eye on. It won't be any surprise to learn, that the most popular items for boys, were football boots, and one parent was heard saying: "I'll never buy a new pair again!" To the surprise of every customer, price points were kept purposefully low, as the Eco Committee had decided it was not their intention to raise lots of money from the event, more to think before buying new, encourage the recycling of perfectly reusable items, and raise awareness about the outstanding work of The Cowshed.

Year 6 Eco Committee, Rosie said:

It was great to see so many clothes being reused!

The Cowshed is a charity showing love and support to those experiencing hardship in Berkshire. It provides support to people of all backgrounds in a time of personal crisis. The aim of the charity is to provide good quality cleaned and ironed clothes and other essentials free to anyone in need.

Trip to The Cowshed

Staff Eco Coordinator, Jane Taylor, Caroline Nuttall, and two of our Year 8 pupils, Jack and Billy, visited The Cowshed with our community’s donations over half-term, when they were also given a guided tour around the depot by Fundraising Manager, Rebecca Mole. She was delighted to receive so much support from St Andrew’s, and looks forward to working with us again in the future.

If you have any more items you’d like to donate to The Cowshed, please visit their Head Office in Wokingham. They’re also always looking for volunteers to help sort through clothes, and currently looking for donations for their Christmas Appeal campaign. An enormous thank you to our Eco Committee for hosting such a fun and successful event, to our parents, staff and extended community for their donations, and to our staff/parent Eco Warriors, Jane Taylor, Nikki Cox, Caroline Nuttall, Emily Havers and Sally Sparkle for their dedication and time. St Andrew’s parent of three, Jo Fegen, succinctly summed up the afternoon:

"The Big Clothes Swap was an inspired initiative! It's not often you get to go shopping, educate your children about sustainable fashion and donate to Charity, but that's exactly what the Big Clothes Swap was! I got some real gems for me and my family. It was so much fun, thank you!"


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