Our First Clothing Swap

To celebrate and share My New Neighbour with our friends, we hosted a clothing swap! A clothing swap is a surprisingly easy way to clean out your closet while also getting a few new items to update your wardrobe...for free!

How Do I Host A Swap? Hosting a swap can be as simple or involved as you want or have time for!

Invite

Guests included ladies from all areas of our lives. To give our guests plenty of time to prepare, we informed them of the swap a couple of months before it was to take place. We asked them to look through their closet and set aside any items they haven’t worn for awhile that are still in good condition. For a low key but effective swap keep the numbers between 5-10 people.

Food

A couple of weeks before the date, we asked a few friends to bring specific food items like appetizers, a fruit plate or a dessert. As hosts we made a vegan curry for a main dish to share. Food is not necessary of course, but we believe food has a special way of connecting old and new friends. As everyone enjoyed dinner together, we shared about My New Neighbour and our intention behind the swap.

Organize

We designated areas of the location to specific clothing types including sweaters, tanks and tees, bottoms, dresses and jackets, active wear and accessories. We borrowed a hanging garment rack from a local church for jackets and dresses. As guests arrived we helped them sort their items into the appropriate piles. We kept some reusable bags nearby for guests to use as they shopped. We also informed guests of designated rooms where they could try items on and where they could find mirrors.

Donate

It is likely you will have A LOT of leftover clothing. There are endless places to donate clothing from outdoor drop off bins to charity stores to large chain second hand retail spaces. For this swap we will be donating the leftover clothes to a local church’s seasonal clothing giveaway for at risk families and to World Serve Calgary.

Why Clothing Swaps Are AWESOME

A clothing swap contributes to the ethical fashion movement in many ways:

  • Say no to fast fashion. Swaps prevent participants from satisfying their shopping craving at a “fast fashion” retailer - one which does not consider the human and environmental impact of their production.
  • Re-use. Unwanted or unworn garments are given new home.
  • Less waste. With less shopping and more re-using of unworn clothes, textile waste in landfills is reduced.
  • Start a conversation. Swaps are a great opportunity for participants to gain a better understanding of what they actually wear in their wardrobe. When all of the swap clothes are laid out, participants are often quick to notice how massive our consumerism is and how little we appreciate or actually like what we buy. This can initiate a conversation about shopping with more intention, less often and contemplating our resources to do these things.

Where Can I Find A Swap?

If you are unable to host or convince a friend to host a clothing swap, it is highly likely there are large swaps already being held in your area!

  • The Canadian Youth Sustainability Network recently hosted a large clothing swap in Vancouver.
  • The SWAP Team based in Montreal hosts mega clothing swaps in cities all over Canada. Find them on Facebook here.
  • Meetup.com is also a great place to check for swaps in your area.

Feel free to share your swap experiences or ask us any questions you have about swapping!