​Clothing Swaps: Community + Conscious Shopping

Gingerly, you slide each garment laden hanger along the clothing rack as the murmurs of other fashion savvy individuals hum in the background. Out of the corner of your eye you catch a glimpse of it. You briskly slide the hanger over to get a full view. You let the soft fabric fill your palm as you examine the cut and size of the piece. Your heart flutters. You have been looking for a dress like this for ages. You remove the hanger from the rack and glowingly stare at the piece, a smile of relief and triumph creeping across your mouth. You search the room, wondering what wild woman would release this dress to the world. You can't wait to take it home and treasure it, for free!

Stories of surprise, delight and budget-friendly wardrobe updates have us convinced clothing swaps need to be a part of everyone's yearly routine! After last year's clothing swap, we received a lot of wonderful feedback from our swap attendees that they are still thrilled with and constantly complimented on pieces they picked up at our swap. With that in mind it was an obvious decision to host another one this year.

We've included some swap-hosting tips throughout the post, and to show off some favourite swap pieces (and some favourite friends), we constructed a simple photo booth with paper flowers handmade by Prairie Love for our friends to display their swap finds. 

Here are a few things we learned from the swap..

Tip 1: Set up garment racks and lots of hangers. This makes it easy and enjoyable to look through the clothes.

If you have to pile the clothes, try neatly folding or spreading them out so the pile doesn't feel as much like 'dumpster diving'. Find inexpensive garment racks second hand on sites like Kijiji, or borrow from a friend. 

Tip 2: Set up as much as possible beforehand and designate racks/piles for certain items - dresses, dress shirts, t shirts, pants and skirts, active wear, etc. 

Request your guests to arrive a few minutes early or right on time so everyone's clothes can be in place before the 'swapping' begins. 

Tip 3: Set up a mirror or two for guests to easily try on their swap finds 

We set up a few mirrors and designated a couple private change spaces for our guests to try on their potential take-home treasures. 

Tip 4: Embrace teamwork!

Organizing a swap might seem daunting, but getting your friends involved can be a huge help! For this swap, we borrowed a garment rack and a mirror from friends and also asked a few people to bring a snack to share. We love how food makes for a comfortable and easy-to-mingle atmosphere. 

Tip 5: Get it into their calendars! 

Tell your friends at least a month in advance about your swap so they have time to go through their closets. (It doesn't hurt to remind me them the week before either!) We have found creating an event on Facebook to be a useful tool for sharing the event and getting our pals excited to swap. 

At the end of the swap, we sorted the leftover items into separate piles for consignment at The Clothing Bar and donation to Women in Need Society

We'd love to hear about your experience or questions about clothing swaps! 

If you're looking for more information..

Find out other ways we "survive" ethical fashion HERE.