Published on August 4th, 2008 | by Autumn Wiggins


Everything Old is New Again on Dig ‘N’ Swap

Clothing swaps are becoming ever more popular as we all look for ways to save money, and stay stylish. Add in the possibilities for DIY modifications, and you can whip yourself up an entirely new wardrobe for practically nothing. It’s one thing to trade among friends, or your local community, but what if people from all over the planet could participate in a 24-7 swap party from the comfort of their homes? aims to be a catalyst for online clothing, shoe, and accessory trading. You simply upload photos of stuff you want to swap, and indicate a few attributes such as size, color, brand and condition. Then, you “dig” through what others have to offer using convenient category and tag based searching. When you find something you like, you can bid on it with items in your stash. If your bid is accepted, then you ship the items to each other. Pretty neat, right?

This site recently launched its beta release, and tapped CAGW to help get the ball rolling with participation. That means YOU can be among the first people to help build an online community that facilitates revamping fashion rather than trashing it. For those not familiar, “Beta” websites are, for the most part, fully functioning, but may have some bugs that need working out. Most site administrators encourage visitors to disclose glitches or issues with functionality during this period with hopes that tweaking will culminate an ideal end-user experience.

I just scored a beautiful Moroccan leather purse in exchange for the last bag I had left of a design I got bored with making. I’m getting something that’s new to me, yet no money is being exchanged. It makes me think of a song by Bjork called “Declare Independence”, where she tells you to “start your own currency!”

I know shipping things doesn’t contribute to good environmental karma right now. Buzzwords like energy conservation and fossil fuel use reduction don’t speak much of the future. Those strategies are only temporary band-aids, and thousands of brilliant scientists are out there harnessing the kinds of energy that won’t harm the planet. Thus allowing humans to maintain technology and transportation. So, lets be supportive of these long term solutions, and start considering the possibilities beyond their implementation.

Surely, after the climate crisis has been averted, more intense scrutiny will focus on manufacturing and consumption, but industry cannot be held solely responsible. Materialism must be transformed to resourcefulness. Such a radical departure from societal standards may only be persuaded through immense creativity. It is my firm belief that the DIY movement can cultivate and promote this idea by using one of our most powerful tools… the Internet.

Crafting alone may be considered an isolated trend. Utilizing sites like Dig ‘N’ Swap shows a commitment to demonstrate a truly sustainable lifestyle.

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About the Author

This 2008 interview pretty much sums it up: 1. How would you describe yourself? An oddly situated performer of thought experiments 2. Do you have any anecdotes about your work (how you got started, frustrating moments, or funny stories)? At this year's Maker Faire in San Mateo, I gave a presentation on how the trend of green crafting can ultimately address the problem of consumption and waste. Dale Dougherty,the publisher of Make and Craft, later had a gift delivered to me, a staple bound book of poetry: Music Like Dirt by Frank Bidart. This is the last thing one would expect to take home from an event so focused on renegade technology. To my surprise, it was an existential reflection on the human need to make things that I now find myself going back to whenever I need some inspiration to look beyond the materials and processes of crafting. 3. What kinds of things do you do for fun? In my spare time I enjoy amateur astronomy, outdoor adventures, collecting domain names, and hanging out at coffee shops. 4. What interesting projects are you working on right now? I'm working to organize community involvement in upcycling, and have a few top-secret website projects up my sleeves! 5. Where do you live? Kids, pets, spouse, occupation? O'Fallon, IL, a suburb (and I mean a totally typical suburb) of St. Louis, MO. Rather than moving to the more culture friendly urban environment, I am staying put and annoying the heck out of Wal-Mart by throwing a massive indie craft show(Strange Folk) in their backyard. I have a husband, Doug, and two sons: a 7 year old mad scientist named Jack, and 6 year old Max, who we think is an aspiring tattoo artist since he's so fond of drawing all over himself with markers. To pay the bills, I do freelance writing, mural painting, and website design, sell my handmade crafts, teach art classes for kids, and work part -time at a local coffee shop. 6. What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently? The concept known as "Cradle-to-Cradle" is a blueprint for sustainability that states everything we manufacture should be either biodegrable, infinitely recyclable, or intended to be upcycled. This is the basis for many of my ideas of how the crafting community can be more widely involved in solving the environmental crisis. 7. What is your favorite food/color/tool? granola/green/sewing machine!

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