Swishing is brilliant. I’ve actually been swishing with my friends for years without realising it was what I was doing.
We get together a couple of times a year in someone’s house, bring a bunch of clothes we don’t want any more and swap them over a few drinks plus – with a bit of luck – the essential ingredient of cake!
It’s frugal, fun, free and as busy people, it gives us the excuse we need to get together regularly. Otherwise we’d never manage it.
Clothes swapping parties have spread worldwide since Lucy Shea, the CEO of the sustainable PR agency Futerra, coined the phrase six years ago. The name, swishing, comes from the lovely sound clothes make when they rustle. Her site, swishing.com, has gone from strength to strength over the years and these days it’s HUGE!
Fancy a go? There are several cool ways to swish:
1. Swishing at home with friends
The simplest and least commercial way is to swish with friends in the comfort of your own home. I’m not a great one for joining in with gangs of strangers, I find the whole thing pretty alarming, so the DIY option is my favourite. And it’s the easiest – just spot something you want, take it, try it on upstairs and have a laugh.
2. Online swishing
A whole load of websites have sprung up to meet the demand for online swishing. It’s perfect if you’re comfortable picking clothes without feeling the texture or having 100% confidence in the colour or fit. Thousands of people do it and most of the sites work in much the same way. Swishing.co.uk, for example, works like this:
- register as a member
- hook out and photograph your unwanted clothes
- upload the images (it’s simple and quick)
- wait for your Virtual Money Offer
- send the clothes to them
- claim your Virtual Money Credits
- use your virtual money to buy lovely things you find on-site
- refer your friends to get extra credits
There’s a whole load of cool places to swish online, most of which provide free ways to buy, sell or swap new, used, unwanted, second hand, vintage and restyled clothes, including posh-swaps.com and thebigwardrobe.com.
3. Swishing in real life with swishing parties and shops
The swishing.com website includes a list and map of swishing events, here. Take a look at the list and you’ll see there are also swishing shops to visit as well as specific events to mark special occasions and organisations who put on regular events.
4. Set up your own swishing event
Find somewhere to hold your event. Ask all your mates to invite their friends so you get a good turnout and lots of choice. Bring at least one item of unwanted clothing each. The get swishing. It’s ridiculously easy. You can simply do straight swaps, grabbing what you want without further ado, or create a ticket system where the clothes you bring are allocated a points value and you use your allocated points to swish the items you want. Its entirely up to you how far you go towards formalising it.
5. Mini-swishing with small numbers of people
One of my friends is exactly the same size as me, somewhere between an eight and a ten, and we end up swapping clothes regularly simply because we have roughly the same taste and our clothes and shoes fit one another perfectly. We sometimes meet up for private two-person mini-swishing events, which is great fun and takes absolutely no organising!