Channel 4 Education announces Closet Swap

by Lynn Connolly

Closet Swap (www.closetswap.co.uk, #closetswap) is a free, online fashion community site and application commissioned by Channel 4 Education, which allows teens to share clothes with their Facebook friends.

Aimed at 14 – 19 year-olds, the app encourages users to upload pictures, tag existing Facebook photos, and build an online closet which they can share, swap and even customise, massively increasing the size and variety of their wardrobes without burning a hole in their pockets.

Users can also send a Fashion SOS from their phone to their Facebook wall to ask if anyone they know has that perfect little black dress or pair of leopard skin heels to lend for the weekend, and show off their best pieces for when the time comes to return the favour. To reward the goodwill, users are awarded kudos and higher rankings on leader boards the more they swap.

There will be an opportunity to find vintage and charity shops based on users’ location, and posts about sustainable fashion on the go. Users will learn how clothes are made, where they come from, who the top sustainable designers are and about environmental as well as socio-economic impacts are of buying vintage, designer or high street.

The project is part of a wider theme for Channel 4 Education, highlighting the debates surrounding sustainable and ethical fashion production and consumption. Earlier this year, Channel 4 Education launched Sweatshop, an online game in which players run an off-shore factory, getting to grips with managing staff, suppliers and sales (www.playsweatshop.com).

Closet Swap is already proving popular with stylists and designers. London accessories manufacturers Tatty Devine and vintage style icons Broken Hearts DJs have already signed up to offer pieces to lend from their personal wardrobes.

Rosie, founding Tatty Devine designer, says “We often swap clothes with each other at Tatty Devine, and the main message of our new craft book is ‘one girl’s trash is another girl’s treasure’. Swapping, reusing and customising are how we started Tatty Devine. We firmly believe in the power of the swap, so we’ll be signing up to Closet Swap and sharing our accessory collections.”

British sustainable fashion designer, Ada Zanditon, whose latest collection was shown at this year’s London Fashion Week, also supports the project. She says that, “It’s always been my aim to pioneer a high design fashion line with a common sense approach to sustainability, treating the planet and profit with equal importance. Swapping clothes with your friends is a fantastic idea, because it makes clothes go that little bit further, giving young people access to independent British design.”

Clothes swapping and lending rather than shopping is fast becoming a trend. New Young Pony Club keyboardist Lou Hayter says the Fashion SOS idea is “a brilliant idea. I love sharing my favourite fashion items with friends and it makes sense when clothes for special occasions only get worn a few times.”

Britain’s Got Talent hula hooper Marawa Ibrahim chimes in to say that swapping and modifying clothes “is cheaper, way more fun and keeps things individual. Making something you really love means you’ll wear it for longer. There is nothing better than being your own stylist.”

Closet Swap is produced by independent creative studio Inensu, founded by Paulina Bozek, BAFTA award-winning creator of the SingStar franchise. She says that, “Fashion has always been a social activity that you share with friends and with Closet Swap we have created a must-have fashion app with a positive message that champions personal style over disposable fashion.”

“Sustainable fashion is something teens really care about,” says Jo twist, Channel 4 Education Commissioner. “But sometimes the idea can be off putting for many. Closet Swap shows teens very practically how they can be individually stylish in a more sustainable way, while having fun swapping clothes and gaining kudos with friends.”

Closet Swap will be available in full from 31 October at www.closetswap.co.uk

© Channel 4

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Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.