This Sunday I participated in a girls-only clothes swap event. The rules were very simple: bring the clothes you don’t wear anymore and all that is left after swapping will be donated to charity. I am not a 100% convinced about donating clothes to charity but I wanted to try out clothes swapping. I did it before in Madrid and it was a bit like feeding the lions…
Some clothes and shoes disappeared faster than they could be taken out of our bags and put on the table. I even saw some women fighting over a piece of clothing, well they were for free so it was a bit like a super-sale event without the need for money.
This time we would be less people and it was more about doing something good than just getting rid of old and/or exchanging for “new” clothes.
Here is what I brought to the event:
- A Diesel dress
- A pair of tie dyed jeans
- A pair of clogs from Buffalo
- A lace skirt for under your skirt
- A wool cap from Kangol (from the 90’s, they were so hot back then)
- A wool skirt from Olsen
I want to tell you why I am not a big fan of donating for charity. There is an article on The Guardian about donating clothes that appears interesting to me.
Back to charity: The problem I see with donating clothes is that about half of it is being resold in developing countries. There is no problem with offering cheap second hand clothing to people in need as a low-cost option. The problem lies in the fact that these second hand markets offering the 1st worlds textile waste are competing with the local textile industry and pushing small craftsman and artisans out of business. The less we shop cheap and the longer the clothes last in our closets the more we avoid flooding the rest of the world with our fashion trash.
Back to the event in Rotterdam this weekend. The clothes swap was very clever organised and the organiser told us that she especially chose to do it this way as it was her favourite way to swap clothing. No clothes fights and no grabbing as much and as fast as possible. This is how it worked: We left our bags with the clothes we wanted to swap in one corner of the room and sat down around the living room table to have tee and cookies. This was a great start already. After a general introduction, we didn’t meet before, the host started presenting clothes from a random bag. We could say if we wanted to try it on and after three bags, and different people taking turns presenting different bags, we had a “changing room” break when we tried on the clothes we had picked before. What we liked we kept the rest went into the charity bag. Everything that was not chosen from the presenting rounds also went into the charity bag.
If more than one person wanted something they would all try the piece on and if they still liked it, they would do a lucky draw at the end. At the end of the day there were two lucky draws and no clothing fights, yeah.
The event was really fun as we got the chance to chat a lot, eat cookies and also give style tips to each other. It’s especially good if you present your own bag with clothes as you are the one who knows your clothes best.
I went home with a bag of fitness clothes, a denim skirt and a sweater to wear at home. At every piece of clothing I tried on I asked myself if I was going to wear it. Just taking clothes and than not wearing them wouldn’t make any sense to me.