Swap till you drop!


This weekend I finally hosted my first ever Clothes Swap at my work, Buzz Lockleaze. It was amazing to finally get to organise an event that involved fashion! I’d been planning it with the help of a colleague for a couple of months and had promoted it like crazy in the weeks leading up to the event. 

The idea of a clothes swap is to bring along a select amount of clothes that are good quality but that you no longer want, and hope to leave with some new pieces. It’s usually a low price for entry (we did ours for £2) and the aim is to encourage people to leave with the same amount of items they brought (or more if there are too many clothes left at the end), therefore making it a zero-waste event. Clothes swaps are a great way of getting new clothes without buying them from a store or online, slowing down the fashion industry and reusing what’s already available.

I found that some people were bringing a lot more than the requested 5 items, which meant that there were even more clothes at the end than we started with. Not a huge problem though as we decided to donate the remaining clothes to a local Barnardos charity shop. 

Everyone was really impressed with the range of clothing on offer and it was so great to see people interacting with new people, helping each other try things on and talking about their shopping habits. I’d put up some fashion waste related posters and info graphics around the room and people were taking the time to read them and ask questions, this made the event even more successful for me! 

It was a really good experience and I definitely learnt a lot about what works and doesn’t work – although this can change depending on the crowd that attends. I’ve put together a few tips for anyone thinking of holding their own clothes swap.

  • Make it clear the maximum number of items people are allowed to bring and count them at the door – some people will try to use it as an excuse to dump a load of unwanted clothes and leave. Not cool man, not cool.
  • Encourage people to mingle and talk to each other about how they usually shop and whether they would consider doing a clothes swap again, it gets the conversation flowing about sustainability and circular fashion
  • Have information on hand about reducing textile waste, recycling options and ways to get the most out of your wardrobe, there’s no reason why these events can’t be fun and informative!
  • Have a plan for how you’re going to get the leftover clothes to wherever you’re going to take them (charity shop, textile recyclers, etc) – you could be left with a lot of bags!