Swapping clothes is a sustainable way to give your wardrobe an update without involving buying new from fast fashion chains. By keeping clothes in circulation longer it helps reduce carbon emissions, textile waste and water use. It also helps encourage sustainability and move away from the linear economy which is based on the Take, Make, Use, Waste principle and towards a circular economy which involves no waste.
PLAN IN ADVANCE
Plan ahead to give participants notice and to create interest. Which season are you planning on hosting it in for example?
TYPE OF SWAP
There are many ways in which you can swap clothes. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:
- The Best Friend Swap– Swap your favourite dress with your best friend!
- The Friends Swap– Invite some friends round and swap clothes!
- The Family Swap– Involve members of your family!
- The School Swap-Arrange a swap at school to encourage sustainability.
- The Organised Swap– Someone else does the organising and you do the swapping!
- The Posh Swap– Arrange a posh swap involving posh things!
- The Community Swap– Arrange a clothes swap involving your community.
- The Retro and Vintage Swap-Arrange a vintage or retro clothes swap
- The Colleague Swap-Arrange a clothes swap between work colleagues.
Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself when arranging a clothes swap.
- Are you going to host a clothes swap in your own home?
- Is the venue going to be at your friends´house?
- Is the swap going to take place between work colleagues in the staff room at work? Do you need to book a room?
- Is it going to be outside?
- Do you have a wet weather back-up plan in case it rains?
- Check with your local council if there are any legal requirements such a permit.
- If you are planning on hosting a large event what are the costs involved?
- Will you need to charge people an entrance fee?
- Are you going to provide refreshments or food and drink? A welcome drink perhaps?
- Is there a bathroom available?
- If you are hosting a large swap think about ways in which people can purchase tickets. Can they be purchased online only or at the door?
- Does the venue have clothes rails and clothes hangers?
- Are there any mirrors available?
- In terms of bags, encourage people to be sustainable and bring their own reusable bags along to the swap.
Think also if your venue is accessible for wheelchair users, parents with strollers and has changing facilities for babies.
Think about what type of audience you are aiming for. If you are arranging a children’s clothing swap, for example, the pitch needs to be aimed at parents.
If your audience is going to be a group of friends you can provide some drinks and nibbles for your guests.
If your audience is going to be young working professionals you need to attract them possibly with a touch of glitz and glamour and invite them for a glass of fizz at the entrance. The choice of venue is important, especially if you are looking to make a good impression.
Social media can be a great platform for creating adverts and talking about your event to promote interest. For larger events, you can place an advert in your local newspaper.
Participants should be informed on the rules of the swap. For example, if you bring 5 items of clothing, you can swap those items for 5 different ones.
Clothes should be clean and in good condition. No holes, stains or visible signs of wear and tear.
A good way to ensure swaps are fair is by a colour coding system e.g a heavy wool coat is given a green ticket and a lightweight t-shirt a red ticket.
Any left over clothes are generally not returned to their owners but donated to charity as an act of good will unless specifically stated otherwise.
If hosting at home, participants can try clothes on in the bathroom or a bedroom for instance. If you are hosting in a warehouse, community centre, or hotel you can create changing rooms using curtains or you might be able to hire pop up tents which can act as changing rooms.
If you are creating your own online swap via social media, participants need to fully understand the terms and conditions and costs involved for postage.
If you are looking to swap clothes from the comfort of your own armchair here are a few apps to get you started:
If you have good IT skills perhaps you could set up your own app or website and if clothes swapping hasn’t taken off in your country perhaps you could be the one to introduce the idea!