On Wednesday June 1, The Clothing Exchange will celebrate its sixth birthday with an event at Loop in Myers Place. Started as an initiative to promote sustainability in fashion, the Clothing Exchange organises swap events roughly every four or five weeks, allowing people to exchange clothes, shoes and accessories they no longer wear for new additions to their wardrobe.
For an entry fee of $25, each participant can bring up to six items. Entrants receive a button for every item they bring to exchange, with these buttons becoming the currency used to buy other items.
This simple model has proved very popular. Since it’s inception in Melbourne, more than 5000 people have swapped at Clothing Exchange events and its success has prompted expansions to Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth with Canberra soon to follow.
Apart from their own gatherings The Clothing Exchange team also runs swaps for councils and corporate events, their success owing to a strict policy regulating quality. All items are assessed on entry to weed out anything excessively worn, ensuring there’s always the possibility to unearth some real hidden treasures. “The quality of the items has really improved over the years,” says event organiser Linda Vydra. “[Lately] I’ve seen some [pieces] from some really good Melbourne designers.”
Men, sadly, are a bit out of luck. The events remain female focused—though not for a lack of trying. “We’ve unisex swaps to encourage partners to come down, but we find that it doesn’t catch on that well,” says Linda. “We’ve [also] tried to do a ‘bring a boy for free’ kind of thing, but found that there was only three or four [guys]—not enough for a good swap…And guys are a lot pickier than you’d think.”
To win a free double pass to the event at Loop on Wednesday June 1, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘I want a free double pass to the birthday swap’.