How To Host A Clothing Swap (In 6 Easy Steps)

 

Last weekend I had the great honor to host the inaugural Hollywood Swap as part of the Global Fashion Exchange expansion to Los Angeles. We set up "shop" at the new FF-1051 Gallery and invited both men and women to participate.

Our leftovers were donated to the local Helping Children in Venezuela program (started by my friend and two time Impact Fashion Show model Claudia Serven!) and recycled through textiles waste leader I:CO.

 
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The average American tosses 82 pounds of textile waste each year, which adds up to 11 million tons of trash in landfills annually.

There are more than 12 million tons of unwanted clothes generated in the U.S. each year, the equivalent of over a half a billion t-shirts. It’s enough old clothes for every single person in U.S. to only wear secondhand.

 

Textiles waste has been an issue I've been grappling with lately. I deeply believe in the power of fair trade fashion to empower economies and especially uplift women, and am a huge advocate for vegan textiles, but, I also know that we - both as individuals and as part of the fashion industry - need to be extremely mindful about how much we are producing and consuming.

I don't know that there is just one right solution to this complex problem, but I've been actively trying to broaden my role in sustainable fashion so when the opportunity came to partner with GFX to bring their famous swaps to Hollywood, I was thrilled to get to explore this aspect of sustainability.

My goal was to show a chic side of swapping and second hand. I wanted to banish the flea market and thrift shop connotations, remove the chaos, and instead show what a simple, modern swap could like.

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Over 169.54 pounds of clothing, shoes, jewelry, bags, and accessories passed through our swap, including hundreds of gently-used designer pieces included Gucci, Prada, Roberto Cavalli, Nanette Lapore, Theory, and Tahari, as well as sustainable brands such as Elizabeth Suzann, Everlane, Mata Traders, and Groceries Apparel.

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Want to host your own swap?

6 easy steps

1) Invite Your Friends, Family, Co-Workers, Most Stylish Person You've Been Wanting To Get To Know

Almost everyone you know has too much clothing (and probably only wears 20% of their closet!)

2) Set The Rules

Consider if there are any price points or brands you want to exclude? What condition is allowed (new only, VERY gently used, all levels of wear?)? Is there a theme (workwear? winter wear?)?

Also be sure to mention how the swap will work. Is it 1-for-1 (you get to take home one item for every qualifying item you bring), or a point system (based on price point or brand)?

3) Get The Right Equipment

Garment racks are key to an organized swap. You can buy them (online, or at many local stores), rent them (depending on your location - but definitely in Los Angeles), or make them (ours were homemade with wood and cooper pipes and flanges from our local hardware store). Have plenty of hangers, table space, and somewhere for people to try things on (and don't forget the full length mirror!).

4) Create The Atmosphere

A good swap can work up a good appetite! You might want to provide light bites or even have a full potluck. (Fair trade) wine may be a nice touch too (or, BYOB!). And don't forget some fun music to get everyone feeling relaxed and upbeat. 

5) Make A Donation Plan

What will you do with the leftovers (there are always leftovers!). It will be helpful to scope out your best options for donation, which might be a local women's shelter, charity shop, or disaster relief clothing drive. 

6) Have Fun

This is the most important rule! Clean out your closet, laugh, connect, and plan to get some new (to you) things you'll absolutely love. And repeat!