What do you get when you put free clothes together with cocktails?
Perhaps you’ve been eying that black Saint Laurent blazer your best friend bought a couple of years ago but no longer fits her. Perhaps she has been obsessed with your Louis Vuitton Speedy, the one that you no longer carry because it reminds you of your ex. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could trade?
With a dress exchange, you can. If you’ve recently finished a wardrobe makeover or closet detox and have a pile of designer leftover pieces that are looking for a new home, it’s a fun way to turn “shopping” into a party with your closest friends.
And it’s sustainable.
New clothing uses up precious resources. Producing a new cotton tee and a pair of jeans can use almost 20,000 litres of water thanks to the water needed to grow, harvest and dye the cotton. Not to mention the resources used in shipping the finished product.
A clothing swap is an eco-friendly way to minimize all that, score some new outfits and enjoy a cocktail or two on the side.
The concept is simple: invite your friends to bring over the items left over after their own detox and trade amongst yourself. Here are some helpful hints to make the clothing exchange as fun and productive as possible:
1) Set up some guidelines and quality standards so that some guests don’t bring their old rubber flip flops when others are bringing last season’s Ancient Greek sandals. Also, think about setting a minimum and/or maximum number of items to bring to your clothing exchange.
2) Set up a system so it’s not a major free-for-all when everyone arrives (or that the early birds don’t grab all the good pieces before the rest of the guests arrive). Have guests drop off their items a day or a few hours early so you have time to organize them. Then set a pre-arranged “shopping” time so everyone gets the same access.
3) Make sure there are lots of available mirrors for guests to check out their finds (and take selfies of course!).
4) Don’t forget snacks for sustenance and cocktails for comic relief.
5) Make a plan for what to do with the items that don’t get swapped. Donating them to a local charity like Oxfam is always a good idea to make sure the unwanted pieces go to someone who can give them a good home.