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Community, Activated

An Interview with Jessica Brunt: Founder of Verte

30 Fenchurch Street

March 8, 2023 - April 20, 2023

A woman standing in front of a rack of clothing

In celebration of International Women’s Day and in anticipation of the pioneering pop-up swap-shop, Verte coming to 30 Fenchurch next month from April 19-20, enjoy an interview with Verte founder, Jessica Brunt.

More and more of us are aware of the impact the fashion industry has on the planet. With about three out of five of the 100 billion garments made every year ending up in landfill, we’re in the midst of a fast-fashion crisis and – in the UK alone – there’s about £30bn worth of clothes sat in wardrobes that haven’t been worn for a year. This is where pioneering enterprises like Verte step in. Set up by Jessica Brunt in 2019, this swap-shop adds a social dimension to the concept of a circular economy and – alongside digital apps such as Depop or Vinted – gives a second (or third, or fourth) life to unloved items.

This April, to celebrate Earth Day, we’re launching an exciting collaboration with Verte, who will host a two-day swap-shop event at 30 Fenchurch. Ahead of the event, and in celebration of International Women’s Day, we spoke to Verte’s inspiring founder Jessica Brunt – who previously worked for Jones Lang LaSalle and Appear Here – about getting off the ground, the role of the fashion industry today and everything you need to know about this two-day swap shop.

Where did the idea for Verte come from?

I was part of a generation on the cusp of fast fashion coming out, with certain brands pushing consumers to buy as much as they can. The world is waking up to the fact that we can’t carry on at this rate of consumption and I wanted to see what I could do to help in that way. I have three sisters and although we don’t always have the same style we share clothes a lot. And I decided that as I’m always swapping clothes with friends I wanted to organise an event. I got some great feedback for the first few swap shops I ran and since Covid I’ve started picking up the regularity.

How can Verte make an impact?

I’m trying to extend the lifespan of clothes and length of time they’re in circulation. Clothes get worn a few times and then people don’t know what to do with them. Increasingly charity shops say they can’t take any more stock or I see donation bins in supermarket car parks that have bags and bags beside them. Even if charity shops do take donations they don’t always have the best quality clothing, sadly only a third of clothes in them are actually resold or they stock items aimed at an older generation. Then there are’s apps like Depop, but these are digital and things turn up and they don’t fit or the quality isn’t there.

How does the swap shop concept work?

You buy a ticket that enters 10 items into the swap. At check-in you get given tokens depending on the brand, condition and quality of an item. On a basic level, all T-shirts and unstructured items from lower-end brands are worth one token, premium high-street will be two and designer pieces might be three or four tokens. You then shop using the tokens you’ve got, taking a look at what you like, trying pieces on. The stock’s usually rotated during the event so as new stuff gets checked in, there’s greater choice, so it’s worth sticking around for a drink – these events are social occasions, too. And tokens can be kept for future swaps.

What role does second-hand fashion have in future?

Over the past three years it’s grown hugely and by 2033 it’s predicted that a third of our wardrobe will be second hand. I’ve got friends who are still wary and there can be a stigma about buying second-hand clothes but I think that’s changing. It’s driven by a younger generation – my younger sisters don’t buy new clothing at all any more. Their generation is really driving the shift and on social-media platforms there’s a greater awareness of the impact fashion is having, especially fast fashion. This pressure is pushing brands to reconsider and look for more sustainable ways to produce their clothes.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It’s perhaps sad that we have to justify having an international women’s day but it’s about giving a platform to those brands and individuals who use their voice for good. My mother was a founder of a very successful marketing agency and is one of my biggest inspirations. I think it’s important to shine a light on people who are doing amazing work.


30 Fenchurch Street icon-external-site-link

30 Fenchurch St
London, United Kingdom EC3M 3AD

Date & Time

March 8, 2023 - April 20, 2023