Sustainable Zagreb: Everyone is Invited to Vrbani Clothing Exchange Party

Katarina Anđelković

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“The association was created out of necessity for mothers from the neighborhood about ten years ago because we did not have any social and cultural facilities for 15 thousand inhabitants. We decided to create this space where the things we needed could happen. We have a free exchange of books, a small library where you don’t need to write down who borrowed what, but people simply take books out and bring some of their own. There are various workshops and lectures, and on Saturdays we organize an eco market, clothing exchange, and socializing events for people in the neighborhood and beyond”, said Irena Borovina, president of the Vestigium Association for HRT.

She pointed out that they did not invent the exchange party, but that it has been happening as a movement in the world for a long time, and “in fact, it is a response to what is happening in the world.”

“There used to be fashion collections that came out spring/summer, autumn/winter, so twice a year, and these days new fashion collections come out every week and because of that, a lot of clothes end up in the trash. We all know that a lot of resources are spent to produce new clothes, and this is our answer to the problem of fast fashion – we don’t buy clothes, but exchange them among ourselves”, said Irena.

“On Saturday mornings, we organize a clothing exchange in Vestigium; everyone can bring up to ten pieces of used clothing in good condition and choose something from our collection, something they like. We have women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing; we have everything you need depending on the season – coats, t-shirts, shoes, and bags. I would also like to mention that our volunteer Vanja refreshes used clothes by adding some of her creative work to the clothes we receive and creating some original pieces from used clothes”, said Sonja Nerat Eppert, a volunteer at the Vestigium Association.

“This exchange was already happening here among the members of the association spontaneously all the time – for example, something we would outgrow, we would exchange for a piece of someone else’s clothing, especially for children, and when we made it into an open event which other people could join, we were surprised that a lot of young people came. So it’s great for young people – they like that they can find something maybe retro, or vintage, or they don’t have to pay a lot of money for a piece of clothing with an expensive brand on it, but they can find something different. You can build your style. Older people also come, a lot of families as well, but we are delighted that we regularly have young people over”, said Irena.

In addition to the Vrbani space, clothing exchanges also take place in the Green Action Association in Frankopanska, and the movement is becoming a hit in all of Zagreb.

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