Wow, does the fashion industry move fast these days! We used to have two fashion seasons: fall/winter and spring/summer. Now we have 52 mini seasons with new items tempting us every week.

It’s called “fast fashion” and for some, the lure of new styles, big discounts and savvy marketing is too hard to resist. We are compelled to keep up with the newest trends and we over-stuff our closets with items we might wear a handful of times, or not at all. And yet with all this buying, we somehow never feel satisfied.

What if you could satisfy the never-ending desire to refresh your closet, while spending almost nothing… or nothing at all?

It’s called clothes swapping and the idea is to exchange clothing and accessories that you no longer wear (or have never worn) for someone else’s barely-worn (or never-worn) items. You can revitalize your wardrobe as often as you’d like without breaking the bank and without falling prey to fast fashion!

Swap Your Clothes!

Shop someone else’s closet, declutter yours and build a completely new wardrobe on a budget. The clothes may not be brand new, but they’ll be new to you!

Participate by throwing or attending a swap party, or by joining the ever-growing community of non-shoppers online.

Throw a clothes swap party
  • Choose a date and send invites to friends, family, and coworkers.
  • You can also start a Meetup to gather like-minded friends in your community.
  • Ask guests to bring seasonal items, so swappers can wear their new clothes right away.
  • Ask guests to clean each item before the party and to only bring clothes that are new or gently worn. Items that are torn, missing buttons, or have broken zippers should be repaired first or left at home.
  • Avoid swapper’s remorse by asking guests to make sure they are truly ready to part with each item they bring. Let them know that leftover items will be donated to charity, if that’s your plan.
  • Section off different areas of the party for shoes, accessories and clothing, and lay everything out neatly.
  • Set up full-length mirrors and designate changing areas.
  • Serve food and drinks (or ask guests to bring some) and play music as guests mingle and check out the goods.
  • Gather everyone to get started and keep things fair by taking turns. Guests choose one item at a time, and you can pick numbers from a hat to see who goes first.
  • Donate leftover items to a local charity, church or women’s shelter.
  • Start planning next season’s follow-up party!
Attend a clothes swap party
  • Savvy fashionistas everywhere are starting to throw clothes swap events. Type “Clothes swap party” plus your city into Google to find events near you.
  • Depending on where you live, you can sometimes find swap parties on Meetup.com, Yelp, Eventbrite or social media sites.
  • Clean out your closet to find items that no longer fit you or that you just don’t seem to wear. Make sure they’re in great condition and that you are ready to part with every item you bring.
  • Also be prepared to leave any clothes that aren’t swapped. Party hosts often donate whatever is left to women’s shelters, churches or others in need.
  • Be sure to wash everything before the party.
  • Meet new friends, swap til you drop and have fun!
  • Oh, and don’t forget to post photos on social media to show off your great finds!
Swap online
  • There are different ways to swap online and new sites are popping up all the time.
  • Most often, the website will have an easy way for you to upload a photo and write a quick description for each item you want to swap.
  • Once an item sells, the website will send you a shipping label and you’ll send the item to the buyer.
  • You can then use the funds to buy someone else’s stuff or have the funds transferred to your bank account.
  • The website takes a small fee from the transaction to cover their costs.
Resist the Urge of Fast Fashion
Fast fashion drives big sales for brands who produce new styles of clothing quickly. These brands play on consumers’ love of novelty and it can be difficult to resist.

To maintain such fast turnover, the fashion brands will manufacture the clothing using cheap materials and underpaid workers, who are often forced to labor under unsafe and unfair conditions. The price of fast fashion is low for the consumer, but high for the impoverished women and children who produce it.

Fast fashion also places a heavy burden on the environment, as consumers discard the quickly tattered clothing in the trash to make new for newer items. In addition to stuffing the landfills, the chemicals used to make the synthetic fabrics, dyes and clothing adornments can make their way into our water supply and harm the local environment.

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