Black History Month: Providing space for cultural crossover
By Jasmine Khalia
This Black History Month we’ve curated a programme of events called ‘Healthy Exchange of Culture’ because we want to tell our story and get local people involved in who we are and what we do.
Healthy Exchange of Culture consists of weekly events taking place throughout October at our community membership clothes swap shop, Come Swap & Shop, in Hornsey High Street.
We recognise that we are a culture of consumers, and we are doing our part to educate others toward swapping clothes so that they avoid going to landfill.
In our Caribbean community, Black people would not usually buy second-hand clothes because of the stigma attached to this. But we want to highlight sustainable fashion, and encourage a new element of sharing and swapping within our area that preserves the environment.
We want to keep breaking taboos, as a new time is upon us, and we cannot keep destroying the planet; we all need to learn to buy consciously and sensibly.
We are running ‘Healthy Exchange of Culture’ together with artistic collaborators, because it’s important to exchange and understand other cultures so that we can all get along.
The programme includes a fashion show, open mic poetry and performance, an art exhibition, film screening and a theatre company showcase. Everyone in our local area is invited to attend.
As people, we can often tend to misunderstand other cultures, but we need to bring people in and share our experiences. Once people begin to understand one another, disparities between cultures start to heal.
People can be misinformed at first, but sharing brings about insight and compassion. We are feeding the curiosity of culture. We are showing that the initial differences between cultures are not that great.
London is so diverse, yet a friction with the idea of inclusion remains, so it’s important to have a month to stand in our power and say – “we do exist.”
Our regular customers have expressed the need and demand for our services, and they’ve embraced our business idea and concept openly, which is brilliant.
As Caribbean business owners, it’s important to represent ourselves in the community and encourage emerging business owners by letting them know that ‘you can do it’ – it’s achievable. We are not pigeonholed into what is expected of us and we want others, particularly women to realise their potential.
We are heavily involved in connecting with people in the local area. We’ve always been community focused, having had a family business in Tottenham previously. Our mother was a hairdresser based in West Green Road; she taught us to welcome people and share what we have with those that are interested.
This is why we’re inviting everyone to learn about and share local Black history, this month. We are inviting our neighbours in, to share our culture and for us to share theirs.
We are providing a platform for local artists and emerging designers, supporting their journeys, while, at the same time, being fearless within our own journey.
‘Healthy Exchange of Culture’ runs until 31st October. For more information: Visit comeswapandshop.com