Clothes-swap event aids local community
Instead of the beer pong table that might typically draw the attention of guests at a college party, students gathered around a clothes rack consisting of designer dresses and other items ready to be reused in the ultimate celebration of "one man's trash is another man's treasure."
Nina Ari, a senior interdisciplinary studies major with concentrations in art, design and behavioral sciences, hosted Swappy Talk at her home in East Orlando and said the event was a great opportunity to give back.
"We all have excess and we spend a lot of time spending money on things we never wear," Ari said. "Why not get together and share whatever items we're not using anymore?"
The party welcomed students, alumni and various members of Body Talk, a community organization dedicated to indie dancing in the Milk District of Orlando, to convene at Ari's home. Guests were encouraged to bring large plastic bags of clothes, electronics and other miscellaneous items that were no longer of use and could be consequently traded to help benefit others.
Whatever clothes were leftover from the event are currently in the process of being donated to help benefit the community.
Jahfre Colbert, the event director for Body Talk and a UCF alumnus, said the event's purpose is to get together, have fun and share items that people don't necessarily want.
"Purging yourself from your clothing is good for you psychologically and spiritually," Colbert said.
Body Talk is an organization that meets once a month for a dance party and promotes local musicians.
Anthony Lenza, a member of Body Talk and a pre-medical sciences senior at UCF, said that Swappy Talk is a first time experiment and a community builder.
"In America, we throw out so much and have so much waste," Lenza said. "In this way people are directly using items. Everything is in great quality, people are exchanging dresses and these are items that people want."
With a recent family that had lost their home to a fire, the Body Talk community also came together for the purpose of donating directly to the family.
Starting with a single Facebook post from a member of Body Talk stating her or she had excess items to give away, Ari said several other members joined in on the conversation and thereafter arranged the clothes exchange event.
"As much trouble everyone gives social media, it really is a great resource for people to come together," Ari said. "It just starts with a small idea that comes from a member in the community and builds upon that."
The Facebook event page for Swappy Talk had members of the Body Talk community posting photos of items they felt they no longer needed and were going to bring to the party, such as books, new shoes and camera bags.
"We try to recognize when we have a lot to be appreciative of and when we are lucky," Ari said.
Dakota Croog is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.