Why Swish? We asked Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop for a blog post on why Clothes Swapping is the new Black.
How many people associate the term ‘second hand’ with being forced to wear hand-me-downs of questionable taste from older siblings and family friends? It was not our colour, probably not even our size. “You will grow into it,” they said, but we had to wear it … end of.
Fast forward to now.
You are a grown up and you wear whatever you want, whenever you want!
You cannot wear those shorts at work. It’s the dress code!
You cannot wear that gown and Mary’s wedding. You wore it at John’s graduation and everyone has seen it on Instagram.
You cannot wear flared jeans. They are not in fashion and nowhere to be found on the High Street.
You cannot wear those heels. You got them when you had a car and now you cycle everywhere instead.
You cannot wear that jumper. Your ex bought it for you during that holiday in Wales and emotions are woven in with the yarn.
You cannot wear that dress you rocked when you were 20. You’re 30 now and your figure has changed.
You cannot wear that coat you impulsively bagged at the sales. You just do not like it.
… And so it comes to pass that your wardrobe is overflowing with stuff you do not use, maybe you don’t even want that stuff anymore, and yet you still feel like you’ve got nothing to wear.
“Well,” you say “I could just get rid of my unwanted clothes by donating them and buy something new.” We’ve all don’t that haven’t we? Only, there are consequences to this way of thinking.
Consider that the “Something new” you nip out and buy off the shelf takes A LOT of resources to be made. The planet resources are finite. On top of that, this type of ‘fast fashion’ is the second most polluting industry in the world today.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Betsy.
Betsy is your SWAPLUTION!
The idea is to put all those garments you no longer want back into a ‘collective closet’ called “Betsy’s Swap Shop” for other people to appreciate, wear and enjoy. Those of you who choose to participate in this process get something you’d love to wear in return.
Clothes Swaps are events where you swap your clothes with friends, acquaintances and/or strangers. We try to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion by offering a better alternative to shopping. People take great quality clothing that’s collecting dust while remaining un-loved in their wardrobes and swap them for different wonderful garms of your choosing! It is an excellent way of renewing your wardrobe without the guilt of spending a fortune on the high street, without the danger of harming the planet.
Betsy’s Closet Manifesto is based on 3 key points:
- Second Hand First
- One size does NOT fit all
Do I really need it? Our choices as conscious consumers make a statement: We want to slow down the machine and prevent textiles from ending up in landfill. The swap is not a GUILT CLEANSER, not a quick-fix-absolution from our fast fashion sins. We try to live sustainably and to reduce our carbon footprint by sharing the clothes we already have collectively.
Swapping clothes is just one way to help put an end to wasteful behaviour. Swishing is sustainable for your bank account too! Create a wardrobe by combining individual pieces. In this way, you can form outfits for any occasions … and all for the price of a pair of socks!
Imagine what might happen if, rather than falling into the trap of immediately buying something new, we instead start to use and share our fashion items as a community of like-minded people. The big corporations will have to notice the trend and might stop squeezing all the natural resources out of the planet and all the money out of our wallets.
Let’s consume less, let’s produce less, let’s spend more time enjoying food, music and nature instead. Let’s all get involved in the SWAPLUTION!
Beauty comes in all sizes and shapes. We promote confidence and positive body image. Come to our clothes swap events with a mate or on your own. You will find plenty of friendly faces. Try on something unusual and experiment with your new look. I bet you will be showered with compliments from fellow swappers!
The fast fashion industry wants us to look like cloned mannequins in shop windows: one size fits all, but we are all different! Our clothes send a message. They are a reflection of our personalities and a way to express who we are and how we feel, a creative way to boost our confidence.
Be a gracious swapper. We want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable. Swapping is about sharing and not a race to grab the best pieces.
No sample-sale-elbowing your way through the rails to grab that 90% off designer dress (which might not even fit after all!). If you do not like shopping centres and outlets, Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop is your natural habitat. At the swap we relax, we experiment trying on something different, we see something which “this is just your style pal!” [congratulations, you broke the ice and just made a new friend]
There is something for everyone take time, enjoy yourself and the right piece will FIND YOU; make sure you stay for the whole event as new items are added all the time when new swappers check in. Not just for #fashionistas, our events strive to be a platform to share ideas and connect with #likemindedpeople. Never judge the book by the cover, but if you are drawn to someone’s #look chances are you got something in common, and that is a friend who you have not met yet.
If you resort to #retailtherapy when you feel down, come to the swap instead.
Do a wardrobe inventory. How about a good old clear out? These clothes too big? Too small? Too far from your current mood? Not quite your style anymore? Probably not, but they are still in good shape and totally wearable. So, take it along with you to the swap!
If something is no longer right for you but it is still in great condition, set it free to a loving new home and make room for new gems that match your unique style. Someone’s trash (not quite literally, bring something you would be proud to give to your friends), is another person’s treasure!
Bring your pieces of excellent quality, unwanted clothing, on hangers if possible, to trade and exchange for other gently worn items.
No shoes, bags, jewellery, bathrobes, pyjamas or night wear, tights/plain leggings, underwear, lingerie, slippers, socks, stockings. No badly stained, shrunk, bobbly or ruined items. Check seams, hems, buttons, zips. Scan for rips, tears, loose sequins or beading, etc. Items that fail to meet these standards will not be accepted and will be returned to you. For hygienic reason and as a courtesy to your fellow swapper, wash all items.
Our motto is, “Bring the quality you expect to find.” The swap is not an upgrade. It is an exchange of equal value.
Hand in your unwanted clothes at the check-in counter. Our team checks quality, weighs the garment to record how much textile waste you are diverting from the landfill it would otherwise end up in. We will then issue you with a membership card and record your token credit.
Move on to the main floor and start to browse. Choose from the many new items that are continuously being placed on the rails. Kilos of beautiful #garments which you can exchange for other excellent quality #preloved items with a story. Bags and bags of #textilewaste diverted from #landfill, resources put back into #circulareconomy.
Perhaps you will not always leave with the same amount of items you brought. This is why we have membership cards, to keep track of your token credit which can be used at a later date at any of Betsy’s events going forward. To be fair to all swappers, we have introduced a token system because we believe it is a much fairer way to exchange fashion than one-for-one, and it’s more flexible than like-for-like.
At the swap tables and rails are messy, we go for the #jumblesale. Swishing is a game, a #treasurehunt. In shops everything is neatly and carefully arranged in a way that paradoxically makes #choice overwhelming. At the swap you have got a pile of clothes in front of you. You spot a #pattern you like; your hand feels a soft #fabric You look for something you do not know, until you find it. You take your time to assess the quality, to check a #label
Normally you would head to your #sizesection, but do you still believe sizes are an exact science? Can we all be squeezed into an even number system? And as you search for your perfect fit, you might also find something that your friend would absolutely looooove. Take it! This friend always compliments you on your #clothesswapfind but she has never been to an event. Spread the sustainable message and invite them to the next one.
Experiment, try something unusual. Or just go for your favourite colour as usual, because it looks good on you and makes you #feelconfident
Take your pick! When you are ready, check out at the front desk and pay using your tokens. How cool, how easy, how convenient, and perhaps most importantly, how sustainable is that?!!
Now every time someone compliments you on your gorgeous ‘new’ outfit, you can proudly answer, “Thanks, I got it at Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop”.
Just by wearing something found at the swap, you will have become a SWAPLUTION AMBASSADOR.
Follow Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop on FB and Instagram; our pages aim to share useful sustainable living tips, spread the eco-friendly message, provoke thoughts, connect like-minded people, have a giggle, encourage behavioural change, promote positive body image, and last but not least appreciate fashion as a creative way of expressing our unique personalities.
We’re thrilled to announce we’ve upgraded to a new venue ‘Hackney House’ for our #SustainableThreads ‘Festival of Sustainable Fashion’ on Saturday 24th November. The event is a celebration of fashion, creativity and recyclability – we’ll be popping up at Hackney House, where you can expect to find a Repair Cafe, The Big #Swish Clothes Swap hosted by @betsysclosetswapshop whilst on the ground floor we’ll be running another Sustainable Threads Panel Discussion. There will be entertainment, refreshments & Eco Stalls promoting how we can make a difference! Come join us – it’s FREE! And in a world where the problems are all around, we need to work together to find Solutions! Let’s have that conversation together. Find tickets at www.lcrn.eventbrite.co.uk
why shop, when you can swap
why buy, when you can try (something different from your ordinary without the guilt of an impulsive purchase)
why spend, when you can mend (button, zippers….)