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How to: Host a Clothes Swap

Posted by SJP Oxfam Fashion blogger

7th Jul 2014

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Have you been to a clothes swap, 'swishing' party or similar before? If not then you're missing out on procuring clothes in an ethical and guilt-free way. 



In case you can't already tell, I'm a big fan, regularly hosting and attending clothes swaps with friends. If you'd like to host your own clothes swap, this is what you need to know...


Tell your friends


If you need to convince any of your friends why they should come to your clothes swap in the first place, simply tell them with one clothes swap they can clear out unloved items from their wardrobe, donate to charity, walk away with a bag of new threads for free, and have a fun evening catching up with friends at the same time - what's not to love?


The more the Merrier


Once your friends, family members and colleagues are convinced, you need to decide what scale your clothes swap will be - do you want to hire out a village hall and host a public event with charity donations to cover the cost, or would you prefer a more intimate gathering with a handful of friends? If you've never hosted a swap before I'd suggest starting with the latter and considering it a practice run for the future.


What to bring


Select a date, invite however many friends you want to come and ask everyone to bring at least five items of no longer wanted clothes with them. Don't forget that the more people you invite, there greater variety of body shapes there will be. This is ideal as there's nothing worse than attending a swap where you can't actually fit in to any of the clothes. In addition to clothes, you could also suggest that your guests bring jewelry, accessories and even books and DVDs.

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Name your price


Consider a financial donation - the local charity shop will of course benefit from any clothes that don't get swapped, but if you want to, you could invite guests to donate a couple of pounds each, to give to an agreed upon charity. Make a night (or afternoon) of it and encourage your friends to bring along a bottle of wine or some nibbles - swapping can be thirsty work and constantly trying items on and taking them off again can easily induce the desire for a handful of Malteasers or slice of cake!


Make some room


On the day of the swap, make sure the floor of your chosen room is clean and tidy - however neatly clothes might be folded and placed atop a dinning table or sofa to begin with, chances are some items are likely to end up in piles on the floor. If you have the space, you might want to designate your bedroom or bathroom as a changing room.


Lovely leftovers


Once you and your friends have finished swapping, there will almost certainly be items leftover that didn't get snapped up by someone else. At the most recent swap I hosted, we had over four bin liners full of clothes in need of a good home! Fold the remaining items and place them into bags, then take them to your local charity shop. This adds the feel-good factor to the swap and means others will benefit from your desire for a night of fun-filled 'swishing'.


Et volià! You've just hosted your first clothes swap.


Got any of your own tips for hosting the perfect clothes swap? Let us know in the comments.


Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

Blog post written by SJP

Oxfam Fashion blogger

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SJP