Hi! My name is Sam and I am a serial clothing swapper. If you happen to be my friend, coworker, or classmate, you’ve definitely swapped with me. I mean what is not to love about swapping clothes? You leave home with fewer clothes than you brought (capsule closet here you come!). You come home with free new-to-you items. You are closer to the people in your community. And, you’ve reduced your carbon footprint, saving the planet in style!
If you are interested in hosting a clothing swap for the first time or looking to kick your swap game up a notch, here are 5 quick tips I’ve learned over my years of hosting and attending clothing swaps.
Ditch the rules, mostly
Outside of what to bring, how a swap works is the question I get most often. People are easily overwhelmed by the unknown so overly complicating swamps, by using credits or tracking the number of items a person brings with tokens, can quickly deter people from attending. I like to keep my clothing swamps as simple and streamlined as possible. There are three rules: Bring your once loved items. Bring your friends. And, bring your ready to swamp and share self.
Define once loveD
When hosting a clothing swap there’s always the lingering fear of what will be people bring?! Communicating ahead of time, often and with examples will decrease the likelihood of people bringing less desirable, unshareable pieces. But remember, in the end, all items are welcome. I will put out a “to be recycled” box for people to sort items with stains, tears and beyond its time clothing when they arrive. Most people forget clothing can be recycled instead of thrown away, so it is a great teachable moment. I also let your guests know that all leftover clothing can be reclaimed by the owner or left to be taken to a local charity in need of the items.
Merchandise your heart out
The more organized and easily accessible the clothes are the more people will enjoy their time shopping—think clothing racks, extra hangers, and space for neatly draped clothes. Honestly, I’d skip folding items. People rarely refold clothing, but you want to ensure there are not just mounds of clothes as well. Sorting by style (workout, lounge, work pants, work dresses, denim, etc.) is more preferable than size, especially given the extreme variances in sizes from brand to brand. Don’t forget stands or trays for jewelry, scarves, purses, and shoes and 1-2 mirrors for trying outfits on. I also like to adorn the room with snacks, drinks, music, and flowers, but these are all totally optional and budget dependent.
Invite a diverse group of people
When creating your invite and sharing with your community of friends, co-workers or classmates, remember to invite a diverse group of people. Inviting a large enough group will help ensure that there will be various sizes and styles represented.
Swap more than clothes
People will bring more than just once loved clothes to your event. They will bring stories! Encouraging your guests to share with the group about a favorite moment while wearing one of their pieces reminds us that people are a part of the clothes that we wear, from who we borrow from to who we buy from. This can also be a great opportunity to share with the group about the impact of fast fashion, speaking to its costly toll on the lives of women around the world. Remake has resources to support you in this!
Have fun and let us know how your clothing swap went! We’d love to share any tips you discover with our community.