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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Clothing-swap exchange launches on Mount Vernon Campus

Samantha Dessler | Photographer
Students browse clothes at The Loop pop-up shop earlier this month.

The Office of Sustainability launched a pop-up shop free of charge to students Saturday.

The pop-up, called “The Loop,” allowed students to donate unwanted clothing items and “swap” them for second-hand pieces of clothing in the Academic Building on the Mount Vernon campus. This free pop-up exchange was a partnership between the Office of Sustainability, the Textile Museum, POP! Thrift, the Office of the Provost, the Vern and The Responsible Fashion Collective.

The shop’s soft opening, which occurred on April 5, first introduced students to the sustainable, fashion-conscious initiative where instead of money, attendees could bring old clothing and exchange them for the new items they pick out. 

Ruth Holliday, a sophomore and a vice president of programming for the collective, said the Office of Sustainability hired her as an intern to research and develop a clothing exchange program. She said she found that other universities had exchange stores through her research and proposed this idea to her boss and members of POP! Thrift a campus thrift store providing students with secondhand fashion — who told her about room 122 in the Academic Building on the Vern. 

“They were the ones that told me about this space, because this is the place they would have used if they had gone forward with their business,” Holliday said. “I did have some reservations about it being on the Vern first, but I think it’s a great thing to have to connect the two campuses.”

Holliday said based on the soft opening earlier this month, her impressions of The Loop have been amazing to hear what attendees say about it and she said she feels that they love it. 

“I think it’s gonna be a great resource, especially when we’re open more frequently and consecutively,” Holliday said. 

Holliday said she hopes The Loop can help students reduce clothing waste and avoid items ending up in landfills.

“Hopefully this will become a resource for that surplus of clothing and also to give students more accessible options for shopping second hand because the closest large thrift shops are an hour away on the metro,” Holliday said. “There are some smaller ones but they’re more expensive in the city, so it’s an accessible option for students. Also it’s free, that’s another part of accessibility.”

Sahana Kumar, a sophomore majoring in neuroscience, said as a current Foggy Bottom resident who lived on the Vern last year, she still finds reasons to return to the Vern with The Loop being one motivation. 

“I like coming just to enjoy the nature but I just think it’s a good idea to get people motivated to donate clothes when they also know they can get clothes,” Kumar said.

Kumar said she really likes the “environmental-friendly” concept of exchanging clothes especially ones that are not often worn.

“I think especially when it comes to fashion and consumer culture, it’s very much ‘spend money, spend money, spend money,’ and then spend money on stuff you don’t really need,” she said. “This is a very good alternative to that.”

First-year Jacob Wilner, a Vern resident studying psychology, said he came because he lives right across the Academic Building and wanted to check it out.

“I love thrifting,” Wilner said. “I always thrift at home, but there are no good options anywhere in D.C. so I’ve kind of given up and it was sad because I love trying new things and outfits, but the only options here are really expensive.”

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