Arlington Students Collect Clothes for Free Pop Up Shop

Arlington Students Collect Clothes for Free Pop Up Shop

EcoAction Arlington and other local groups support ‘swap don't shop’ event

Are you ready for a really easy way to get “new” clothing for free? To upgrade your wardrobe with clothes that have that “thrifted look” without the thrift store price tag? Do you have clothes that just don’t fit right or you are sick of them but can’t afford to replace them? Time to learn the vocabulary and get started … with the upcoming “Free Pop Up Clothing Shop” happening in Arlington on Feb. 18.

Conscious shopping is no longer a rare approach to changing up what’s in your closet. The rise of “slow fashion” and upcycled brands as well as preloved recycled clothing platforms like ThredUp, and the proliferation of vintage clothing shops tell the story: there is high demand for second-hand clothes. The ‘swap, don’t shop’ philosophy, once the domain of vintage and thrift shopping aficionados, college students, or the poor, is fast turning into a mainstream activity in the face of increasing environmental concerns and the impact “fast fashion” has on warming the planet.

Swaps prevent unloved and unwanted clothes from being landfilled, reducing an individual’s environmental impact. Americans buy more clothes than they used to and those clothes take a toll on the environment. Each new pair of jeans uses resources like water and contributes to water pollution and solid waste, as well as producing greenhouse gasses due to the energy consumption in refining textiles, weaving, transporting, and packaging. Even India has adopted the trend. 

And the best part is, “thrifting” and “upcycling” along with “slow fashion” is fun, helps each person develop their own style, and is a very cool way to dress in an era where sustainability is not just a buzzword but an imperative. 

“We want to create an event that is both fun and environmentally conscious," said one student organizer, Ananya Sinha. "Our goal is to provide an opportunity for students to update their wardrobe without contributing to fast fashion waste. Plus, it's a great way to socialize and meet new people."

The local high school students involved in the project on Feb. 18 participate in sustainability clubs in their respective schools. Joe Kilmer, a senior at Wakefield High School and head of the Ecology club there, and Sinha and Cheyenne Klapper from Arlington Tech are sustainability-focused students who hope to make the upcoming “Free Pop Up Clothing Shop” just one of many future efforts to focus on sustainability in Arlington. 

The Free Pop Up Shop will be on Sunday, Feb. 18, at the Washington-Liberty High School cafeteria, from 2-5 p.m. Arlington Students for Climate Action, Sierra Club Potomac River Group, NAACP Arlington Branch, and Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, local high schools, middle schools, and Eco-Action Arlington volunteers will collect clean, lightly used clothing which will be available for free. All are welcome. Clothes will be collected over the next few weeks in schools, at the Central Library, and at Casual Adventure, 3451 Washington Blvd. Arlington, VA 22201. Clothing that has not found a new home by the end of the event will be donated to Goodwill. Questions? Please contact Ruth Woollett, at

For more on thrifting and swapping in Arlington see:

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