The rag trade

G Magazine

Want great new threads without forking out a cent? A clothes swap party is just the ticket.

The rag trade

Credit: iStockphoto

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We all need a fashion fix at some point or another, but a new frock needn’t be detrimental to your environmental beliefs! This can easily be done without breaking into the savings or placing pressure on the planet by hosting a clothes swap party. A fun way to recycle, and a great excuse for a vino with friends, you can give clothing a new lease on life simply by handing them over to a new owner, while scoring some great finds in return.

Gather the gang

Invite your friends and ask them to bring as many items of clean unwanted clothing as possible. If you’d like to make it a full swap you can also extend this to accessories, beauty, homewares, anything at all! A party of 10–15 people is a good number to ensure there’s a variety of items yet sorting and deciding doesn’t get too out of hand. The aim is to include all shapes and sizes so everyone can get involved, as well as a mix of lifestyles and style tastes among the group.

Get swapping

On guests’ arrival, lay out the clothes on a table or a clean rug on the lounge room floor and let people mingle and browse. You can either have everyone start trying on and stockpiling what they like in a bit of a free-for-all, or if you prefer to initiate some decorum, exhibit each item by holding it up as if to auction, only without the bidding. At this point, people can say if they’re interested in the piece and trying on begins.

Play fair

There may be some competition for one piece of clothing, and no one wants to feel embarrassed or disappointed at a social party. An easy way to solve this is to flip a coin and the winner gets the item. Simple!

Pass on to others

For pieces that have not been lucky enough to find a new owner, donate them to charities. The expression – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – will still apply when distributing to the wider population outside your party.

Party Must-haves

Your party relies on some necessities for success:
- Full-length mirrors to ensure your guests are making happy and informed decisions.
- Private spaces for more modest guests to try things on. Designate other rooms in your home or place a makeshift change room in the party room as fitting rooms. If this isn’t possible, suggest for people to wear a swimsuit or bodysuit under their clothing.
- Nibbles and drinks are essentials to remind everyone that they’re at a party and fun is to be had! Finger food handled by toothpicks works best for less mess around peoples’ newfound treasures. Use washable plates and cups to reduce plastic waste.
- It can be handy to have on hand basic sewing materials like pins so people can envision the potential a less-than-perfect garment may have.