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Web Quest

Ethical Fashion

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One day, as you were scrolling through Instagram, you see this infographic:

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You are shocked to read the impact that just one million pieces of clothing could have on reducing our carbon footprint. You are now starting to understand how damaging our ‘fast fashion’ habits are for the environment. Looking in your local community, you realise that there are no second-hand clothes shops, so no wonder everyone is obsession with shopping in Penney’s. You decide that you want to do something to provide local people with the opportunity to shop second-hand and help to protect the environment. Together with your friends, you will set up an ‘Online Swap-Shop’. Setting up an online shop has never been easier with Facebook Shops. You decide you will use this platform to create your online shop and give local people in your community an alternative to shopping new all the time.

Step 1: What is Ethical Fashion? And Why is Fast Fashion so bad for the environment?

To get started with this challenge, you need to have your facts straight. Reading that fact on Instagram helped to put the environmental impact of fast fashion into context; it helped to ‘make it real’ for you, so that you understand why it is important to shop ethically, or to buy second-hand. You realise the impact that facts like this can have, so you would like to include some in the description of your ‘Online Swap Shop’. And that require research! The following links may help you to find some interesting facts that you will include in your online shop but use these only as a starting point. The more you learn about this topic, the better versed you will be to promote your Online Swap Shop, so try and complete some of your own independent research too:

Step 2: Planning your Online Swap Shop

Great work so far, you are becoming an expert on fast fashion already! Knowing the impact our consumer choices can have on the environment helps to strengthen your resolve to promote your Swap Shop in your community. Developing an online Swap Shop is a lot like setting up a community drive or a garage sale. You need to find a way to get people involved, and to encourage them to trade their clothes and other items. The difference with a Swap Shop is that rather than buying the items, people get to Swap items. This can be for a period of time, or indefinitely, it is up to the individuals to decide.

For some advice on how to run a successful Swap Shop, you might find the following links to be useful:

Remember, initially anyway, you will be running this Swap Shop online. When researching Swap Shops through these links, have a pen and paper to hand and take note of any tips and advice that you find useful. In the next step, you can take what you have learned from this research and apply it to developing your own Swap Shop.

Step 3: Swap Shop Manifesto

What is a manifesto? It is a “public declaration of policy and aims” (Oxford Languages). While most often associated with political parties and movements, a manifesto is a document which summarises your intentions, motives and views about important issues and also outlines a strategy and policy related to that issue. So, why not write a Manifesto for your Swap Shop?

When writing your Manifesto, you should include the followings:

  • Aims and Motivation behind your Online Swap Shop
  • Benefits of the Swap Shop for your Community and the Environment
  • Ground Rules for your Online Swap Shop
  • Operating your Swap Shop – Organising Logistics
  • Code of Conduct for Swap Shoppers
For this step, you and your friends should work together and brainstorm how you will set up and run your Swap Shop, how ‘Swappers’ should arrange to meet up and swap, and what ground rules you would like to impose. Once you have your manifesto drafted, design it in a user-friendly format. Nobody is going to read a long document, but if you present it like an infographic, it might have an impact on people:

The following links will help you to develop your Manifesto Infographic:

Step 4: Build your Swap Shop

Well done, now you and your team have your Manifesto, your next step is to go ahead and set up your Online Swap Shop. So, what will you need for that? Well first-off, ‘Online Swap Shop’ is not the most engaging name for your venture, so you will need to come up with a better name than that! You will also need a logo, and then to create your online shop through Facebook. This is a busy step for you and your team, but the following links will support you to complete all of these steps:

Step 5: Promote, Promote, Promote!

Well done everyone! You have created a really nice online swap shop for your community. But how will everyone know that its there? Well for that you need to promote it! Are there any local networks in your community where you could pitch your Swap Shop? Do you know any influencers who might support your cause? What marketing resources do you have access to? The following links will help you to get the message out about your Swap Shop and recruit your first Swapper Shoppers! Best of luck with the Shop, we hope it makes an impact in your community!

As part of the assessment of this WebQuest, young people are being asked to do something tangible in their community by setting up and running an online Swap Shop to promote second-hand clothes shopping and swapping in their community. This task is a good team activity as they will learn a lot about the environmental impact of fast fashion, and will then develop their digital, creative and teamwork skills to come up with a real-world solution to this problem.

As a self- assessment exercise for this WebQuest,
young people will then be asked complete a short self-reflection exercise and write 350-400 words on how they rated their performance in the task, what elements they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy, etc. If the young people in the group are reluctant to write this self-assessment, the youth worker can accept the answers to the self-assessment in the form of a short vlog entry. The following questions will guide this self-assessment:

  • Did you learn new things about ethical and sustainable fashion that you did not know before? Mention them.
  • Do you think that your Swap Shop will be popular in your community? Explain why.
  • How did you find the experience of learning through a WebQuest? Did the practical activities help you to better understand the environmental impact of fast fashion?
  • List 3 new skills that you have developed/skills you have improved through this WebQuest.
  • How will you raise awareness about fast fashion among your peers?
  • Is there another activity that you can think of that would help your community to reduce its carbon footprint? Mention it here.

Congratulations, through this WebQuest, you have done something that will have a positive impact in your community and you should be very proud! When you look at the statistics, which you have, you begin to realise how bad our fashion and consumption habits are for the environment, and why action is needed from community members, like you, to make a difference.

Knowing that your generation often faces influences and pressures from magazine, fashion experts, bloggers and even some influencers, to always have the newest clothes for the next trends; it is important to stop and question what impact this is having on the environment. Helping to raise awareness about the carbon footprint and water waste alone from the fashion industry with your friends and family members, is a great first step in influencing others to develop more responsible shopping habits, and to reducing our impact on the environment. In this WebQuest we haven’t even touched on the issue of textile waste and what happens, usually, to our clothes when we no longer want them! This might be an interesting area for you to research next.

To create a positive impact we must inform, understand and be proactive about the problem of fast and low-cost fashion. Educating yourself, your friends and family can help to facilitate a fundamental change in our habits and behaviours, which can have an impact on a global scale! If you take one thing from this WebQuest, remember:

“Clothes aren't going to change the world. The people who wear them will ” - Anne Kleine

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On completion of this WebQuest, team members will have achieved the following learning outcomes:

  • Basic knowledge of the carbon footprint of clothing.
  • Factual knowledge of the environmental cost of fast fashion.
  • Factual knowledge of what measures individuals can take to limit the impact of fashion on the environment.
  • Factual knowledge of how to create promotional tools and flyers.
  • Factual knowledge of how to set up a Facebook shop.
  • Theoretical knowledge of the impact that small actions from one community can have on the environment.
  • Discuss the impact that fast fashion has on the environment.
  • Describe the merits of sustainable and ethical fashion.
  • Research the topic of ethical fashion and the environmental impact of fast-fashion.
  • Design a flyer.
  • Develop a manifesto.
  • Design a logo.
  • Engage in a brainstorming activity to generate a name for the brand.
  • Apply digital skills to set up a shop on Facebook shops.
  • Promote the Online Swap Shop through low-budget marketing techniques.
  • Collaborate as part of a team to develop an Online Shop.
  • Evaluate one’s own performance as part of this activity.
  • Awareness of environmental impact of fast fashion.
  • Willingness to learn more about ethical and sustainable fashion.
  • Willingness to self-assess one’s own consumer habits.
  • Openness to promoting facts and information about fast fashion among peers and family members.
  • Appreciation of the impact that a few small changes to our habits and behaviours can have on the environment.
  • Willingness to advocate for more sustainable fashion habits.

Questions that a youth worker or teacher might use in a whole class discussion to debrief this WebQuest:
  • How would you rate the over-all experience? Did you enjoy learning through completing a WebQuest challenge?
  • How did you find working in a group to complete a challenge?
  • Who was the leader in your group? What role did you take on?
  • Did you enjoy the scenario? Would you have preferred to use this time to work on another topic? Why?
  • Where you happy with the Online Swap Shop that you and your team developed?
  • What about the brand name and logo? Were you happy with what it said about your Swap Shop?
  • How did you find the task of creating a Manifesto? Did it help you to fix your aims in your mind?
  • What is the one most important thing that have you learned through this challenge?
  • Do you feel like you have gained new skills? If so, what are they?
  • Do you feel like you could bring this idea forward and start and manage a Swap Shop in your area? Why or why not?
Download WebQuest: Ethical Fashion Shopping
Download WebQuest: Creating your own sustainable fashion wardrobe
Download WebQuest: Developing a “Why second-hand is best?” Promotional Film