Coming to the Clothes Swap?

Here's a guide to let you know what to expect for this event!

First a little bit of background - I've been living in New Plymouth for a few years now and have been missing a couple things from my years in Vancouver - one of them was a great clothes swap event that I have attended in the past. So, because the awesome folks at Manifold have such a great space, I approached them about hiring the venue to host this event. They were more than happy to get involved so here we are.

I know there are many different takes on clothes swapping - anything from a quiet evening with friends at home, to a girls night out event with bubbles and fashion shows. For me, I really liked the up-cycling angle taken by the event I attended but realized that it might be a bit much to take on with my first attempt so I decided to keep it very simple. I also aimed to keep the event open and inclusive without too many barriers or requirements to participating. So without further adieu...

What to expect at the clothes swap this Saturday:

  • Arrive anytime between 11am-3pm with your bag of clothes that you're ready to pass on to someone else. Be sure they are clothes you're happy to see go.
  • Pay your $5 entry fee (so that we can cover the venue hire - and possibly create a fund to hire "experts" for future events - see below). Please remember it's cash only.
  • While your clothes get sorted into categories like "ladies short-sleeved tops", "dresses" or "mens pants" you can start perusing the clothes that have already been sorted. They will be piled on tables through the space. (They might start off folded neatly but after a few people have held them up and thought "not for me" they will probably end up in a big pile! But that's ok, the items will be clean, and in good condition - as long as everyone has stuck to that rule!)
  • You can browse through the piles and take home anything from them. You might wish to try a different style than you normally do, or you might find something that's a tad too big but you'll take to get altered. Maybe you're a seamstress yourself and have plans to transform the item in your sewing room - whatever you find, you can take home.
  • You may wish to sit down for a coffee or tea to socialize with friends (current and new!).
  • All the while, as each person arrives, their clothes will be sorted and put out on the tables. Our volunteers will be adding clothes to the piles as each new batch of contributions arrives. A wide range of attendees ensures that we'll have a wide range of styles and sizes so bring your friends!
  • We may not have formal, individual changing rooms so you may have to trust the ol' "hold it up and hope for the best" version of trying it on. There will be toilets down the hall and there may be a communal changing area for those who are comfortable with that. Of course, you can try things on over your clothes too.
  • You can stay for the full event or you might find an hour is plenty of time for you to pick up a few (or more!) items that you can't wait to show off!
  • When 3pm rolls around, people will go home with new-to-them clothes - hopefully everyone feels like they got their $5 worth :) From there, our lovely volunteers will pack up all leftover items and they will be donated to the Taranaki Women's Refuge. 

The day is meant to be a positive way to reuse clothing that might otherwise be collecting dust in a closet! The items on offer are completely dependant on what each attendee contributes as they arrive. It's a bit of a lucky dip in that way but that's part of the fun! This event is being run to gauge whether it's the right sort of event for the community or whether we'll be making changes for future events. 

One aim in the future is to offer DIY stations manned by experts who will help you upcycle items right then and there with their sewing skills or screen-printing skills. Other ideas might be to run it as a social event as much as a community event and have music and nibbles and drinks, or to operate on a more structured token-based system if that's what the attendees' feedback indicates. Before all of these grand plans though, I just wanted to make sure that there were people interested in coming to an event like this! 

Because it's the first one, we can't say we have the formula exactly right but we'll be taking feedback throughout the event and through a survey afterwards (if you wish to sign up) so that we can create a fun event that people look forward to. So I hope to see you there and we can start a fun community event for swapping our clothes!

If you wish to drop your clothes off before the event, feel free to come by Manifold between 5-7pm on Friday or from 10am on Saturday.

Katherine Blaney

Graham Nelson