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OxHub Spotlight: Looking good without feeling bad at the Formalwear Swap Shop

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Tuesday of 4th week saw nearly 100 people show their support for the Oxford Hub by indulging their love for Oxford’s exclusive events. The Formalwear swap shop covered the hub in the intense colours of over 80 items of ball wear and raised over £270 in a great exhibition of ethical social engagement. The pop up shop facilitated the resale of pre-loved  formalwear between oxford students, and provided a platform for ethical and reasonable shopping. Ethical shopping – also called green consumerism – is a type of activism that empowers consumers in making informed product choices that promote environmental, social and economic sustainability. In order to further understand the motivation and reasoning behind the event, I caught up with Charlotte Potts, the organiser of the event and the Hub’s Environment and Sustainability Coordinator, over a nice cup of TSK coffee (and brownie – would highly recommend!).

What made you want to set up the swap shop? Why are you interested in ethical consumerism?

I wanted to set up the swap shop to raise awareness and promote sustainable practices. As a geography student this is something that really interests me and I hoped that my event would spread the importance of ethical shopping. Also, it was a great opportunity for some post-collections, pre-more collections retail therapy!

How did you go about collecting items for the shop?

I published the event on various college JCR pages and asked people to bring dresses and other formal items down to the event. I also connected with the local charity shop Oxfam who were able to provide some dresses, the proceeds from which were then returned to them.

Did the event run smoothly or were there bumps along the way?

On the day the event was incredibly popular – people were even queueing up before the event supposed to start. There were a few issues with people donating dresses during the event because it meant there were long waits for people buying items, but this can be easily solved for next time!

The event was surprisingly difficult to plan. There were multiple logistical problems including finding enough clothes rails and hangers. For future events I would love it if people could donate them, or I’ll get my act together and ask more high street shops!

When will the next swap shop be and how can people get involved?

One of the issues we found was that the summer dresses people brought in weren’t as popular as they could have been in summer so we are planning to have another swap shop event in Trinity! People can get involved by following the Ox Hub’s facebook page and also by getting in touch with me about dresses and potential collaborations.

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