Soton grad creates eco-clothes swapping service that works like Tinder

Swipe right for that peng top


For many of us who can't say no to the latest fashion crazes, fast fashion is an easy and affordable option (think Misguided, H&M, PLT, Primark etc.)

University of Southampton graduate Emily Smith had the idea to create a service which lets users swap their clothes rather than buy them to combat fast fashion.

Emily told The Soton Tab: "Whilst growing up I heard concerns regarding plastic water bottles and plastic bags.

"I listened, changed my behaviour and stopped buying single-use plastic.

"But, I never seemed to make the connection to my clothing consumption habits.

"So I decided to do something about this."

FYI: fast fashion is damaging the environment

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Most of us are guilty of dumping clothes to make room for newly bought garms, but this creates excessive landfill.

Plus buying new clothes only fuels fast fashion and the 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions produced annually from textile production.

Oh and most fabrics used in fast fashion contain plastics, like polyester. It is thought most of the plastic polluting the ocean is broken-down shreds of plastic that come off our clothes when we wash them.

Emily told The Soton Tab: "I’m not saying we should all stop buying clothing forever.

"But we need to be more mindful of our clothing choices and experiment with alternative methods of clothing consumption."

And let's face it… fast fashion is hard to resell

The Business Innovation graduate came up with the idea of swapping clothes on a larger scale after feeling deflated from selling her unwanted clothes online and making little profit.

Emily told The Soton Tab: "Like many students all over the UK, Soton students buy fast fashion because it’s affordable.

"We go out lots, and like to wear new outfits when we go out.

"But it is definitely not sustainable, and actually students end up worse off because trying to resell fast fashion is really tough."

Yep, Depop can deffo drain the life out of you when you're trying to get rid of that fluorescent two-piece you wore to Boomtown 2017.

The solution: swap clothes, and not just with mates

We all love to borrow (sometimes never to return) our mates' clothes.

Emily launched 'ZWICH' on October 22nd, which takes borrowing clothes to another level. It allows us to swap permanently with anyone in a chosen area.

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'ZWICH' on the iOS App Store

The service is free and works similar to Tinder: you swipe right if you like someone's clothes item, and if they also swipe right for your item it's a match and you're good to swap.

"Me and my friends swap clothes all the time.

"I wanted to give people this same solution but on a much larger scale with access to even more clothes," she said.

In turn this will keep clothes in circulation and out of landfill, and stop us from ordering that new Nasty Gal outfit every week.

She received £30,000 from Z21 Innovation Fund for her business idea

To get her clothes swapping service off the ground, Emily pitched her business idea to the University's Dragons' Den, which is run by Future Worlds.

She then received the Z21 Innovation Fund of over £30,000, "which really created a momentum," she said.

The App is in its early stages, but since its launch it has gained over 300 users, most of which have been from the Southampton area.

So now we can get fresh new looks, eco-friendly style, without rinsing our bank account.