Why buy new clothes when second hand clothes are still in good shape? Let me introduce you to the next big thing; Vogue Xchange.
Vogue Xchange was established a year ago as a second-hand shop in Gozo and you won’t find nothing else like it on the Maltese Islands. Tonya, owner of Vogue Xchange, selects the best items from whatever is donated to her shop and puts them on the racks for sale.
Tonya wants to close the economic circle and instead raise awareness about reusing these clothes ourselves. Tonya wants to start a revolution with Vogue Xchange. The aim is to make people aware of over-purchasing by looking through their wardrobe and noticing how much waste is created by buying clothes we might not actually wear. She doesn’t want to change the rules of the fashion industry or large corporations however she does want to educate, inform and inspire people to spend money on quality items and create less wasteful clothing. Tonya could easily be described as a guide and just wants to have fun with it. She also works really hard to find linen, silk and cotton garments because they are natural materials in which their quality lasts. They are good for your skin to breathe because they don’t have microfibres.
It is very important for Tonya to be inclusive because she doesn’t want to be another mainstream store. She wants the store to be accessible to working moms, men, or even someone interested in finding yoga pants! The store’s feel is that of a community project. A lot of people her age know what they want when they enter a store because they’ve been in stores all their lives however Tonya wants to try and attract younger generations to her store so that she could inform them to stop random-buying clothes.
Furthermore, Tonya is looking to collaborate with Upcyclers. Such clothes that don’t sell but the material is still useful only need to be upcycled. She is looking for fashion designers to work with her to utilize second hand clothes. Such clothes could be cut up and made into blankets or patch work or even bags! For example, when Vienna Gold discovered Vogue Xchange in the cultural narrow streets of Victoria, she fell in love with the concept. She tries to be sustainable within her every day life (especially by being vegan) and Vogue Xchange is the store she now supports.
Nevertheless, clothes given to charity shops or Refab Light Blue (the blue bins in parking lots) are simply chucked away and sent to Africa to simply get rid of the clothes we don’t want anymore. It is not fair that African countries end up with the waste clothes that first world countries do not want anymore. Sometimes, these organizations are oversubscribed and so when clothes cannot be sent to Africa, they are simply thrown away. Vogue Exchange wants to create a circular economy by keeping the waste in Malta and utilizing it thus creating a financial opportunity for upcyclers rather than exporting such clothes to third world countries. That’s where Vogue Xchange comes in.
Tonya organizes a SWAP once a month; one in Gozo and another in Malta. The SWAP works by those who bring clothes to donate are given tokens in return to purchase clothes at the SWAP. Those who just come to check out what’s available are able to buy clothes with money. The SWAP is an incredible way to find hidden gems. Tonya is also dreaming of having a second shop open in Malta however she needs a group of motivated people with the same vision she has and run the same concept.
Make sure to follow Vogue Xchange on Instagram and Facebook to get updates on Vogue Xchange’s SWAPs and pop-up collabs within the next few months!
Cover photo taken by Therese Debono