Have you ever wondered how to host a clothing swap?
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.
Drum roll please. Let me introduce you to the concept of a… Clothing Swap!
Recently my friend Tamika was frustrated with this scenario in her own wardrobe, and decided to do something about it. Her eyes were opened after watching 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 feels like the right thing to do, there are simply too many clothes being dumped into the charity bins – and ending up in landfills or countries such as Haiti. There are just too many unwanted clothes, with new fashions and styles hitting the shops constantly. This high demand for new clothing is leaving a pretty serious eco-footprint on our planet.
As Tamika shared with me, “We don’t even stop to think about where our clothing items are coming from. Real people 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 her pretty hard – like so many of us. But she decided to channel this sorrow into a fun and easy way to make a difference!
With the help of some friends, Tamika has so far pulled off TWO amazing clothing 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 new homes ready to be loved and worn again – in place of buying yet another item of clothing from the shops!
Are you excited yet?
Ready to host your very own clothing swap, and in doing so bring more awareness to sustainable fashion AND score some sweet new-to-you free threads?
Here’s everything you need to know before hosting your own clothing swap party!
1. Set a date
Pick a date, time and place that will work for most of your girlfriends, and make sure you give them plenty of warning. They will need time to go through their wardrobes and drop off their offerings.
2. Invite as many people as you can
These events are generally more successful when there are more people attending – it means a greater selection of second-hand goodies, and more opportunities for each item to find a new home.
3. Clarify guidelines and rules for your clothing swap
Post the event online and explain the details of the clothes swap, including:
- What types of items will be included, and who will be collecting them/where to drop them off. (Collecting the items prior to the event isn’t always necessary. But it will look beautiful and enhance the event if all clothes, shoes and accessories are already laid out into sizes and categories before the guests arrive).
- Any etiquette expected of the guests (for example, any guidelines as to how much they may donate, or how much they may take home with them).
- Be very clear that you can’t accept any unclean, damaged, holey, misshapen, faded or otherwise unwearable items.
4. Gather a team
Get a small group of girls to help with the setup of the clothing swap. Meet a couple of hours beforehand and arrange the items by type. Put someone in charge of snacks and drinks. Delegate, baby!
5. Sort the leftovers
After the event, split the leftover items into two categories:
1) Pile to store for the next swap
2) Pile to donate.
Clothing Swap Categories
As for what can be swapped, the choice is up to you! But Tamika decided on these item categories for her clothes swaps:
– makeup (gently used, that can be used by someone else)
– small homeware items
What are the benefits of a clothing swap?
1. You can get new outfits in great condition – for free! Who doesn’t love a bargain?
2. You clear out your wardrobe!
3. It’s like shopping with friends, but from the comfort of home!
4. You might just make a small difference in the fashion industry and reduce your eco footprint.
A clothing swap 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.”
And how about the cost of hosting a clothing swap?
It’s one of the cheapest parties you can host! Organizing a clothes swap costs no more than some time to plan, 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.
Hello, opportunities for a new seasonal wardrobe – for free!
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!
This event seriously went down a treat for every attendee, many of whom raved about it on the Facebook event page following the event.
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 their wardrobes.
Let’s all take steps towards limiting the times we go to the shops to buy a new outfit that we really don’t need.
Let’s limit the amount of ‘stuff’ we are collecting and filling up our houses with.
Our planet (and our wallets!) could really catch a break.
Photo credits: Tamika Bint (used with permission)