Last Friday (19th) a few of us organised a women’s Clothes Swap Party in the back room of our local pub.
I have run a few informal Clothes Swap Parties before. I think it would be an exaggeration to call them a ‘Swish’ and I have deliberately strayed away from the idea that a) you have to pay to take part and b) provide a minimum number of high-quality/designer items to swap. As I think I wrote in the introduction to this blog I like to explore ways in which we can ‘consume’ by exchanging items or skills, rather than money. In the past the swaps have always worked well because of the informal nature of them. It seems to have been a social gathering as much as anything else and everyone has been far too polite to squabble over the same item of clothing (!).
This year a friend and I decided to ‘up the game’ a little by charging admission and advertising the swap to a far wider audience. The reason we did this was because for the first time we wanted it to be a fundraiser as well. There are two charities that are close to our hearts in this village: the local playgroup (which I was chair of last year), and Jemima’s Gift which is a recent charity set up in memory of the gorgeous Jemima Prees. We asked people for voluntary donations on the door and the pub supplied the room free of charge and gave us tea and coffee as well.
The event was really well attended and, in total, we raised £243.28!
The quality of the clothing was also excellent. Personally, I picked up items from Jigsaw, Monsoon, M&S Autograph and Principles. I believe that people really made the effort to sort through their good quality items knowing that they would get something equally good in return. I also heard many comments from women who took it as an opportunity to donate items that they had been hanging onto but knew they weren’t really going to wear again. One friend very kindly donated two bags of clothes that she had been planning to sell on e-bay.
It was also lovely to welcome people from further afield, such as colleagues in Corsham, Emma from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Jen from the blog, ‘my make do and mend year’. As it was a women-only event there was a very lovely, supportive atmosphere. And there was absolutely no squabbling over any clothing! In fact we had a quite a few items left which a friend will be selling to make some more money for our charities. I have also created a pinterest board with ideas on how to upcycle any of the finds from Friday night.
I think we could be tempted to run it again next year so watch this space…