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UI freshman creates eco-friendly clothing swap service


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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — Mona Fang knows fashion.

She understands old clothes can take up space in your closet, so she's here to help.

"It was something I saw that wasn't done right and I just thought, there has to be a new solution out there," she says.

So she created an online clothing swap service.: Karma Trade. Fang feels it's a better alternative to traditional thrifting and other sites similar to hers.

"We let you swap in the clothes that you don't wear for points and use those points for clothes that you do want to wear from our website all for a flat fee," says Fang.

According to Fang, it's also good for the Earth.

"We create 80 billion new items every year and yet we're still generating 200 million tons of textile waste every year," she says. "So what that means to me is that all the clothes that are going to waste can actually be recycled and reworn.... We can reduce the waste and also be an alternative model to buying new clothes."

Here's how it works: first, take a picture of clothing items you no longer want. Karma Trade will then tell you how many points you might get for them.

"Then simply choose the items you want from our platform and get them sent to your door first," Fang explains.

Put the items you're sending to Karma Trade in the bag they sent and use the prepaid shipping label and send it off.

"It's a super easy process and we want to help people clean out their closets as well as get clothes they want for a very affordable price."

Right now Karma Trade is only online, but Fang does want to open a brick and mortar store. First, she's working on partnerships with local businesses.

"Where we can divide traffic to them as pick up and drop off locations and also maybe hold up a clothing rack so people can see our clothes in person."

So the next time you need new clothes, Fang hopes you consider Karma Trade instead of buying something from a traditional retail store.

"We work by the motto that one man's trash is another man's treasure... or woman."

The City of Urbana presented Fang with a $3,000 check after going through small business training and developing a business plan.

Fang and her team are also working with fashion design classes at the U of I.

To check out Karma Trade, visit their website here.

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You can also find Karma Trade on Instagram at Karma.Trade.

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