Clothing swap highlights exhibit message

Human and environmental costs reduced by recycling

“Composition 1,” one of the pieces by Jennifer Vanderpool featured in the “Garment Girl” exhibit.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Feb. 14, 2019) California Lutheran University is hosting a free clothing swap in conjunction with an art exhibit that examines the harmful effects of fast fashion.

People can drop off lightly used clothes they no longer want and pick up apparel that others have donated from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 2, in Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture on the Thousand Oaks campus.

The event ties into “Garment Girl,” an exhibit by Cal Lutheran adjunct art faculty member Jennifer Vanderpool that explores the textile industry and labor activism. The art exhibit highlights the hidden costs and consequences of clothing production, including the sweatshop conditions in developing nations where women sewgarments, the chemicals used to dye fabric, and the volume ofwater used to grow cotton.

The clothing swap provides people with a way to reduce their clothing footprint by extending the life of discards. Participants can bring in as much or as little usable clothing as they would like, or none at all, and take as much as they want. Leftover clothing will remain in the gallery until March 5, when it will be donated.

During the exhibit’s opening run in Vietnam last year, Vanderpool and Hanoi-based artist and fashion designer Phạm Hồng organized an event called “Remake” to extend the life of clothing. They converted the art gallery into a “factory” with sewing machines in imitation of Vietnamese sweatshops. They invited Hanoi garment and apparel industry workers to work with them and visitors to create new garments from scraps and fix damaged clothing.

“Garment Girl” features photographic prints, textiles and videos of Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles sweatshops and female textile laborers in Hanoi telling their stories. Vanderpool also conducted interviews with scholars and activists in both locations. In one of the videos, Phạm asks people to think about the efforts of workers who designed and manufactured the clothes they wear, the social and environmental impact of the global supply chain, and their responsibility as consumers. 

The exhibit’s run is being extended by two days to March 2 to include the clothing swap. 

Admission is free. Kwan Fong Gallery is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is located in Soiland Humanities Center at 120 Memorial Parkway. For more information, contact curator Rachel T. Schmid at 805-493-3697 or or visit