Last night I spent a thoroughly enjoyable hour in front of the TV in the company of Twiggy, Lauren Laverne and Grazia’s Paula Reed on Twiggys Frock Exchange.
100 women were invited to the event and given the chance to walk away with a whole new wardrobe for free.
Clothes swapping parties, or swishing parties, aren’t exactly a new concept, but when an institution like the BBC catches on you can only hope they’ll take off. The BBC website has a downloadable .pdf guide to throwing your own swap shop that you can find here.
I’m pretty certain that most women have a wardrobe full of clothes that are too big, too small, don’t suit them, or just never get worn because they’re not really their style. Hanging onto them just takes up space and ups the “I have too many clothes” guilt factor. I really try and sell off or swap as much of mine as possible, but even I’ve got items lurking that I convince myself will fit again one day.
If throwing your own swapping party is a bit much like hard work then there are a number of public events in the UK. Check out swishing.org for details.
There are of course other ways to turn your guilt filled goodies into fantastic new looks.
The first and most obvious is to sell them. Take your photo, write your description, pay a small fee and wait for someone else to fall in love with your unwanted bits.
The obvious advantage of this method is that you receive cold hard cash for your items which can be spent on anything. The disadvantage, apart from the fees, is that cold hard cash can be spent on anything. Which includes the gas bill, way less fun than a new frock.
There are also a wide range of online swapping arenas popping up left right and centre. What’s Mine is Yours was the first such site, but a host of others are around now too to get like minded stylish girls together to swap their vintage and pre owned goodies.
Finally, if you can, whip out your sewing machine and edit your existing items into something new and exciting. It doesn’t always need to take masses of skill. Sometimes just tacking a new trim onto a dress or adding a corsage can make all the difference!
In the UK, textiles are the fastest growing waste stream, and for every 8 brand new items sold on the High Street we only re use 1. People who only buy free range chicken, organic vegetables and recycle all their rubbish will happily buy new clothes without even considering their environmental impact or the possibility of recycling old ones.
So next time you need a new party dress, a new pair of jeans or some basic black trousers, check out thrift shops, Ebay and, of course, Retro Chick before you buy new, you might even save yourself some money!