ISA promotes diversity and sustainability through clothing swap

The International Student Assembly hosted Shop Around the World: A USC Swap Meet to promote sustainability and international fashion trends on Tuesday. Stationed at McCarthy Quad, this swap meet catered to those revamping their closets. It was also a frugal choice for students who wanted to add new elements to their signature look. In addition to the environmentally friendly qualities of the event, the first 40 participants received a free cup of boba milk tea from Ozero Tea and Desserts in Los Angeles.

An assortment of sweaters, dresses and blouses were hung on lines of rainbow yarn, creating a distinctive aesthetic to showcase all of the items available. The participant could bring in the clothes to the ticketing table and receive tickets for each article of clothing. Each piece was accepted based on quality, brand and international appeal. T-shirts and blouses were worth one ticket, pants and dresses were worth two tickets, and global, high-quality pieces were worth three tickets.

Students could exchange these tickets for items hung on the yarn or displayed on the table. Those who could not find what they were looking for were encouraged to come back later because the event was held from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. This allowed for a constant cycle of clothes to come through.

“We would like to promote awareness for international fashion trends. A lot of clothing styles from Asian countries have a different style than American countries,” said Cherry Tung, ISA vice president of public relations. “[Some have] lace at the end of the shirt that many Asian fashion has that would look really different from an H&M shirt.”

Though some participants enjoyed the variety of clothing, they could not necessarily credit the event as showcasing international styles. Michelle Agcamaran, a junior majoring in computer science, described it as a regular swap meet.

“There are a few brands that I notice, but I can’t really identify which sort of clothing is from which country — they all are the same,” Agcamaran said. “I think it’s because fashion isn’t specific to each country anymore. There are retail stores like H&M and Forever 21 that are opening all around the world with the same trends, and I think it deters from the unique style that each country has. Diversity is something to celebrate. The way people express themselves is something that I like seeing.”

Marvine Soleta, a senior majoring in biology, felt that the swap meet lacked variety for males.

“The clothes here are nice, but the majority of the clothes are for girls and not a lot for guys,” Soleta said. “I would rather trade my tickets for the boba milk tea if we were allowed to do that.”

All in all, ISA encouraged students to be open-minded toward the variety of styles from other countries. Clothes that were not successfully exchanged were donated to Goodwill.

Looking ahead, ISA is planning on holding other swap meets and similar programs to promote multicultural knowledge next semester.