Do you ever look into your wardrobe and see a multitude of items that are in great condition, but you just don’t feel like wearing anymore? Sick of spending money on clothes, shoes, jewellery or makeup you’ll only wear a few times and then be back at the shops looking for a whole new outfit? Yep, I see you nodding. I feel ya. You’ve come to the right place!
Tamika Bint, from Tamika Lee Beauty, was frustrated with the same problems, and decided to do something about it. It all started with an event showing The True Cost Documentary by Andrew Morgan (you can find it on Netflix). “It opened my eyes and really took me behind the scenes of the fashion world. I love clothing and even though I’m not spending thousands of dollars on my clothes, I’m still quick to jump on board with the latest trends. I was challenged by the number of items in my wardrobe and around my house that I haven’t touched in ages because I don’t like them or they don’t fit anymore. They are just sitting there because I can’t be bothered taking them to a charity bin.”
Do you feel good about dropping clothes off to a thrift store? While it’s a great idea, there are simply too many clothes being dumped into the charity bins – and end up in landfills or countries such as Haiti. There are just too many unwanted clothes, with new fashions and styles hitting the shops constantly.
“I’m so ready to jump onto the next big trend”, Tamika admits, “we don’t even stop to think about where our clothing items are coming from. Real people that are sitting making our clothes in rough and dangerous working conditions just so we can keep collecting and expanding our wardrobes.”
It’s safe to say this issue has hit Tamika pretty hard – like so many of us. But she has found a way to channel this sorrow into a fun and easy way to make a difference! Drum roll please. Let me introduce you to the concept of a… Clothes Swap!
With the help of some friends, Tamika has since pulled off TWO amazing clothes swaps. It started with a call out to a group of her girlfriends, and resulted in piles of clothes that were once unwanted, and have since found a new home ready to be loved and worn again – in place of buying yet another item of clothing from the shops!
Here’s what you need to do to start your own clothes swap!
- Set a time and place that will work for most of your girlfriends.
- Post the event online and explain the details of the swap, including what types of items will be included, and who will be collecting them. (While collecting the items prior to the event isn’t always necessary, Tamika knew her event would be more successful if it looked beautiful and was already laid out into categories as the guests arrived).
- Get a small group of girls to help with the setup of the swap! Arrange the items by type. Putting out some snacks and drinks also makes it more inviting!
- After the event, split the leftover items into two categories: 1) pile to store for the next swap 2) pile to donate.
As for what can be swapped, the choice is up to you! But Tamika decided on these item categories:
– makeup (gently used, that can be used by someone else)
– small homeware items
So, what are the pros of a clothes swap?
- You can get new outfits in great condition – for free! Who doesn’t love a bargain?
- One of the attendees, Amy, commented “You might only need something for one event – and then you can bring it back next time for someone else to wear!”
- You clear out your wardrobe!
- “It’s not a big deal if you grab something that you realise later doesn’t quite fit, because you can bring it back to the next one!” another attendee, Mia, commented.
- It’s like shopping with friends, only at home!
- You might just make a small difference in the fashion industry.
- It might just challenge you a little bit too. An attendee, Caitlin, later reflected “It has challenged me to not buy as much as I usually would. The amount of clothes I have been able to give to the clothes swaps has been a little insane, and I still have plenty left. It really made me question my buying habits! So I’m trying to focus on what I have now and how I can make the most of that, rather than spending my time and money shopping.”
As for the cost of doing a clothes swap? It costs no more than some time to organise, a place to host, and some girls to bring along some snacks!
And so, is it worth it? According to Tamika, “Absolutely!” So worth it, in fact, that she plans on continuing these events twice a year – one at the end of Summer and then again at the end of Winter.
Part of the fun is doing it with others. “I have a small group of girls who I can rely on to help me with the physical sorting of the clothes, making snacks, taking photos and setting up the space nicely. It’s possible for one person to run it on their own but it’s much more fun with a group!”
As for me? While I didn’t have much I could give away, and I don’t fit the shoe size of the majority of the group, I came away with some beautiful clothes for both work and casual!
The final comment on the Facebook event read “This was so great! Thanks Mia for your house, Tam for the organising and the girls for the clothes! Such a bargain!” We think so too, Katie. What a bargain.
Tamika’s final encouragement is to simply give it a go!! Set a date, gather your friends and have a wonderful time exploring the treasures that lie in the wardrobes of your friends. Spread the word and let’s take steps towards limiting the times we go to the shops to buy a new outfit that we really don’t need; limit the amount of ‘stuff’ we are collecting and filling up our houses with. Do it!!
Want to connect with Tamika Lee Beauty? Check her out via the following channels:
Photo credits: Tamika Bint (used with permission)