Fashion

How I Host a Clothing Swap

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I’ve received a tonne of messages recently asking me to share my exact formula for hosting a Clothing Swap. Running these events is easily one of the best parts about my role as the curator of Biome Eco stores new Slow Fashion Department. I’m able to connect with so many people in my local community and watch previously unloved clothes find new homes.

There are so many different ways to host a swap, however I wanted to share a simple version of exactly how I run them, so that once you understand the general flow it’s easy to mix and match to make it work for you.

I couldn’t run these events without my wing woman Jacq – Biomes Workshop Facilitator.


Pre-Swap Planning

1. Set a participant limit.

I’ve found the “friendliest” number for an event is no more than 20 people. This amount means that there are still enough clothes being swapped to bring in a good variety of garments, but not too many people that it gets manic. The space you are hosting your swap in may dictate your participant limit for you.

2. Set a garment limit.

We say no more than 10 garments per person. Again, this helps keeps things simple and ensures we don’t have participants bringing along a truck and a half full of clothing. We do allow participants to bring a few shoes/bags if they check in with us first but we don’t openly encourage it incase we have people bringing in 10 pairs of shoes. Again, it’s all about keeping it simple.

3. Create a garment quality checklist

Having super clear rules about the types of garments that can be brought to the swap helps with quality control and levels the playing field. It would be disappointing if one person brought a bunch of designer dresses and another brought their ratty old gym gear.

4. Set a ticket price – or don’t!

This one is totally up to you. If you’re hosting a swap with friends and family it can be nice to also have participants bring a plate of food each so you can snack up a storm once you’re finished. Nothing works up an appetite like the thrill of a good clothes swap!

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Running the Swap

5. Have a drop off time frame

We allow participants to drop off their clothing either the day prior to the swap or within a 1.5 hour window before the event begins. This gives us time to sort, hang and display the garments beautifully and also keep track of who’s given us their clothing. We have a simple guest list and tick off their name as they drop their clothes.

6. Give the participants their swap tokens

For each garment they bring the participant gets 1 playing card (a super easy, affordable token to use). 10 garments, 10 playing cards, 7 garments, 7 playing cards – get it? The playing cards are used as swap currency.

7. A warm welcome, then let the swapping commence!

We like to welcome the participants into the space before we allow any swapping to begin. It’s nice to take a moment to explain why clothes swapping is such an important part of the slow fashion movement and this also helps set the tone for the event. Calm is good. We don’t want any frenzied vibes, keep it friendly.

8. The check out

Set up a space where participants can pay with their tokens once they have their items. As I mentioned, most of the time people end up taking less than they brought so they’ll probably have some left over tokens. At the end of the day the tokens are just to help keep track of things. Thank your participants and give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back!

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FAQ’S

How do I know there will be clothes in my size?

Honestly, you don’t, and it’s important to understand that up front or you may be disappointed. If you’re hosting a public clothing swap it’s pretty much a mixed bag as to what types of clothing you may receive. Be sure to let participants be aware of this.

How do I know there will be clothes in my style?

Again, you don’t. It’s a risk. This is why we also encourage participants to only bring clothes to the swap that they are happy to part with. If they are too attached to the value of the clothing they may feel disappointed if they don’t find garments they like.

What happens to the clothes left over?

I’d encourage you to have a solid plan for the clothing left over from the swap. We at Biome either send our donations to Suited to Success, or give them to Restitch in order to be up-cycled into new amazing creations!

What if I bring more garments to the swap then I end up taking home?

Perfect! You’ve downsized, well done! There is absolutely no pressure to take more garments home than you brought with you. I’ve often found participants will bring 10 garments to swap but take home anywhere between 4 and 6.

Can I take things for my friends and family?

Your tokens are yours to use as you wish. We often find participants may pick a few things for themselves and. if they spot something nice for their mum or bestie, they might grab that too! At the end of the day we want the clothes to find new homes so they don’t end up in land fill.

What about Menswear?

This is a tricky one as across our three events so far we’ve only had women participate. In the same way that we can never guarantee certain sizes or styles, we also can’t guarantee that if we had male participants that there would be an abundance of menswear for them to swap. We don’t limit it to women only, however it seems so far to only attract women.

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I really hope that this break down has given you an insight into one way a clothing swap can be run, but please know that this is only one version. You can make and break as many rules as you like, it’s all about finding a style that works for you. I’d love to hear about your clothing swap success stories so keep me in the loop too!

Business, Fashion

Run the World Conference

Key Takeaways from The League Of Extraordinary Women’s ‘Run the World’ Conference

I first discovered the work of The League of Extraordinary Women when I attended the Clare Press book launch for Rise and Resist. The League describes what they do as – “Our mission is to create a community that focuses on connecting female entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to form and create authentic relationships and friendships” which is exactly what their Run the World conference was all about. And wow… was I lucky to nab a ticket! 

Considering there was close to 9 hours of non-stop inspiration across the Saturday event, I have decided to share a brief break down of my personal key takeaways from each speaker in the hopes that it will ignite something within you too.

P.s can we take a moment to praise this artwork by my good pal Steph of St Clement Creative?

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Geneva Vanderzeil – A Pair and a Spare

I don’t fan girl too often, but when Geneva walked past me, I lost it. I’d been following her insanely beautiful instagram for more than 6 years, and in my earlier uni days had often experimented with the easy to follow DIY fashion tutorials found on her blog. Her talk was so light, charming and relatable. It felt like the perfect way to kick off a massive day of inspo. My key take aways were:

  • Break the phone addiction and stop letting it rule your life. Setting time limits like no phone between 8pm and 8am is an easy way to start
  • Don’t wake up at check your emails (sounds obvious, but I’m guilty of this!) instead – make a nice cup of tea
  • Stop obsessing over numbers, and instead focus on creating quality content
  • Don’t end your day scrolling

Overall, her talk made me reflect on my current use of social media and how I need to actively start working on ways to tear myself away from the screen, focus on self care and create better content that comes from a more authentic place.

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Ale Wiecek  – Founder and Chief Empathy Officer at Sqr One

Ale was a ball of energy and enthusiasm. This is the kind of person you want on your team when you’re ideating and coming up with business solutions that are going to change the world. The fact that she started her talk by having the audience participate in a “Mexican Wave Poll” was testament to the fact that she doesn’t like to do things traditionally.

  • Stepping out of the box and creating a truly memorable experience for your customer will give an impression that can last a life time
  • To better understand the wants and needs of your customer, you have to empathise and put yourself in their shoes
  • Having “bad ideas” is part of the process. Fail and move on.
  • Being goofy and playful helps strip away the rigidness that can come with running a business and instead opens you up to new ideas

Her talk was fun, optimistic, energetic and packed full of useful tools.

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Women and Work Panel  – Jessy Cameron of Molten Store, Jasmine Dowling of Studio Jasmine, Helen Jacobs, psychic at @helenjacobs.co and Alison Rice of Offline the Podcast

This panel addressed all the challenges facing working Women today, and weaved in and out of so many interesting topics.

  • Jessy Cameron – “The day you start your business is the most wrong you’ll ever be”. Jessy shared so many good insights about the ups, downs and pivots of owning your own business. She talked about the importance of having first hand, face to face customer feedback in order find holes in your product and make it better. My strongest takeaway was to remain flexible and to roll with the punches if you want to grow.
  • Jasmine Dowling – The best thing about hearing Jasmine talk was how much I related to her struggle with self censorship on instagram. She shared about how she got to a point where she felt too afraid to write or post anything out of fear of offending or hurting someone, which is often how I feel. What it came down to was that at the end the day, when someone has a problem with you, it’s their problem. You can’t make everyone happy, and everyone won’t always like you, and that’s ok. You do you. It was refreshing to see someone with such a massive following be so honest and candid.
  • Helen Jacobs – I thought it was great the way she takes time to prepares herself mentally and physically for events such as the conference, which will inevitably be energetically draining. Prioritising self care is key. Mediation and grounding exercises help her from absorbing the energy from all the people she interacts with.
  • Alison Rice – She actually made me want to experiment with Podcasting! Her confidence and strong demeanour made me feel like I can really tackle whatever business/workplace challenges come my way.

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Jess Ruhfus  – Founder of Collabosaurus

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Fashion

Fash Fashun, The Real VAMFF

I’ve been going through a thing lately. An existential kind of thing. I feel like I’m starting to look at fashion and social media differently, and almost see through it in a way I couldn’t before. I feel like I’ve spiritually levelled up after a d&m with my soul sister @jacqfruit.music.

As this epiphany happened right before fashion week, I felt suddenly deeply anxious about my two frivolous upcoming weekends. Jac advised me to find the “real” fashion events, the gritty underground stuff, the stuff that pushes buttons, crosses boundaries, the stuff that has drawn me to this world in the first place. So I did.

I had seen @tenfingerz post about an event in collaboration with Famous Artist @sebastianberto. Epic bags of dirty clothing were being piled inside a shipping container. There was a call out for creatives to attend the event, swim through the nasty piles of landfill-destined clothing and create a look that would then be modelled straight down the runway, #fastfashun. I knew I had to be part of this, so @monutella and I carved out time in our afternoon to visit @testinggrounds and put together an entire look in 1 hour.

I was instantly drawn to a fitted Topshop work jacket, and a tacky floral polyester dress. We pulled out bits and pieces in some kind of colour scheme from the piles of clothing and gathered them into a corner in the shade. Next, we found scissors, safety pins and elastic bands. There were options to use sewing machines and hot glue, but as time was of the essence we used this rapid styling and inspiration. We ripped, shredded, tied, pinned, coiled and knotted a head to knee look (shoes not included, except for one baby sneaker tied as a necklace).

The runway was sectioned off by clothing strewn into the shape of a catwalk, and Tenfingers was a glamourous MC. There was even a cute mini model – baby Matilda, who was a show stealer. I was in awe of the creativity in every single one of these looks, they were endlessly interesting and such statement makers. The models were real, diverse, inclusive and fun! This was by far one of my favourite events I attended during all of VAMFF.

Enjoy these photos and marvel at the fact that I found the real good fashion stuff. Only more of that from now on, dear readers.

To support and help fun the important project at the heart of this event, head to www.fastfashun.com

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Fashion, Photoshoot

In Vogue

It’s a dream come true – I’ve finally made it onto the pages of Vogue Magazine, out today. I was one of 8 world changing millennials invited to participate in a round table interview discussing all the hot topics. The photographer shot on film, and by the end of the session I felt like I’d truly connected with every single person there. Bravo to Vogue for being forward thinking and inclusive enough to do a story like this.

Click the articles to zoom and read.

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Eco

Biome Clothes Swap

When I recently hosted a Clothes Swap as part of my new role at Biome, I had to find somewhere for all the unwanted clothes to go at the end of the event. I reached out to a small, local Women’s shelter in the hopes that they wouldn’t be one of the charities recently inundated with clothing after the recent Marie Kondo nextflix special.

When I called, the man on the phone told me that they currently had 12 women in their care, and 12 SHIPPING CONTAINERS worth of clothing donations.

Read the full story in the blog post I wrote for Biome by clicking HERE

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