So the other week I had the great fortune to attend a clothes swapping event. It was absolutely brilliant! I think there are numerous ways in which these things are run but this one was at a friend’s home (an expert in running these now – having done several, including kitchen appliances and baby clothes/toys swaps).
So the rules were that everyone- all women of varying ages and sizes, I might add – bought something to swap. It could be anything, any form of women’s clothing, shoes or accessories. This was all neatly displayed on racks and around the downstairs of the house, and then all attendees (about 15 of us) had chance to browse for about 15 minutes. We were then given some small tags with numbers on them. If we liked something, we had to fill this out with an item description and our name in space number ‘1’ and place the tag on the hanger of the item. If someone else liked the item they added their name in space number ‘2’, and so on. This went on for about an hour or so. When everyone had had chance to look, the browsing was ‘closed’ and people could see if they had won the items they had tagged – in other words, if there were no other names on it, it was theirs. If there was another name, then names were pulled out of hat to see who had won it.
It was really fun, and got me thinking about how such events are great alternative ways of re-using clothing and other goods. Moreover, unlike a shopping experience (charity shops included) there was no perceived haste in the process. Everyone was smiling and chatting, having a drink and some food, encouraging each other to try on certain things. It felt a really friendly environment. Moreover, there was no seasonality to the event. Unlike the shops which are all about trends and seasons, vintage was mixed in with last year’s lace dress; sleeveless Summer vest tops with thick woolly jumpers. This also somehow made the experience much more enjoyable and relaxed than a trip to the shops.
The only downside, and this is completely personal, was the magic leggings – see image! These were an amazing pair of sequined black leggings which everyone was looking at and exclaiming “Ooo aren’t they great!” I had my eye on them from the start, but wasn’t brave enough to try them on, let alone think about tagging them (this I claimed was age related: “I’m too old to get away with them,” and along the lines of “Where would I wear them? And what with?”). They went to a woman in the end who looked amazing in them. I’m only slightly jealous…..