Chelsea Asplund/The AS Review

Participants came bearing over-stuffed garbage bags, reusable shopping bags and backpacks. Within minutes, clothes were strewn across the carpet in a colorful array of shirts, scarves, jackets, pants, belts and dresses. Each participant set up their station, folded their items and strategically placed them in the order they desired.

“It’s interesting to see all the different fashions people have,” senior Bryan Harthorne said as he folded his shirts meticulously on the floor. “You get to take a look at their old clothes and see ‘okay, that’s what they used to be.’ It’s interesting to see what they’re wearing now, compared to what they used to.”

On Nov. 13, the DIY Ethics and Arts Alliance sponsored the Fall Style Swap, an on-campus event where students traded unwanted clothing and accessories with other students. While the room resembled the contents of a clothing store, the difference was that these participants left the room without a receipt.

The Nov. 13 DIY Ethics and Arts Alliance-sponsored event gave students a space to trade their unwanted clothing with each other. Photo by Chelsea Asplund/The AS Review

The alliance calls itself a “creative outlet club,” where students can learn new skills through weekly arts and crafts demonstrations. The activities include knitting, crocheting, stenciling, making things out of hemp, decorating and recycling old clothing, making jewelry, restoring old furniture and screen printing.

In their first full year as an official club, president and senior Jessica Lynch said they hope to do a clothing swap event every quarter because it demonstrates the do-it-yourself lifestyle that the club encourages.  She said that through these events the club hopes to increase the awareness of the waste of clothing, and that there are other options beyond buying and throwing away clothes.

“You can rejuvenate your old clothing or you can make something new out of something old you have,” Lynch said.

It was clear that Lynch was no stranger to clothing swaps as she used a colorful sheet to mark her territory, which was full of dozens of shirts, pants, shoes and accessories. In the past, she said that alliance members have hosted several successful clothing swaps on and off campus, and it was the continual success of those events that drove them to become an official student club.

“Since I have been doing the style swaps I rarely buy new clothes, I just bring my old clothes in and then trade them,” Lynch said. “You get a new wardrobe. I think it’s a lot more fun too. It’s an interactive process rather than just buying new clothes off the rack.”

Senior Erica Olson has been involved with the club since last spring, and said their weekly tutorials are a great way to learn and share other members’ interests and talents. “All of the members get together and if someone has an interest in teaching others a skill they have, they put on a tutorial,” she said. “I really like learning new skills. It’s a lot of fun.”

Lynch said in the future they hope the club can do larger scale craft demonstrations and open them up to the public. Since one member of the club also plays in a punk band, Lynch said there has been some talk about having a benefit concert to raise awareness for the club, as well as generate more funds for their projects.

“We wanted to create a place where people could learn freely different arts and crafts, so people would have a creative outlet,” she said.

The DIY Ethics and Art Alliance meets at 6 p.m. on the first and last Mondays of each month in Academic Instructional West 305.