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Swish It!

In our quest to buy less, wear more, we thought it would be useful to take a look at swishing parties. Swishing is the latest craze in ethical shopping, and if you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s a fun and social way of revamping your wardrobe by swapping unworn, good quality clothes. Totally guilt free and kind to your purse!

CMB consultant, Sarah Harris recently organised a swishing event in her local community, for a charity dear to her heart. You can find out more here

Here are Sarah’s top tips to make your swishing event a roaring success.

  • Remember this isn’t a big money-spinner so you will need to think of other income streams if it’s being held for charity or a fundraiser. Consider selling tickets, serving refreshments and having local craft and beauty stalls (agree the % donation beforehand). Also, it’s a good idea to ask for raffle prizes.
  • Set your date and go for it. Avoid summer months and popular dates such as Valentines Day.
  • Start marketing your event as early as possible. Publicise on social media, notice boards and local press (don’t forget the radio). And remember to talk about it at every opportunity!
  • Decide on the rules.
  • Ask for good quality, clean and ironed clothes, to be delivered to a central point before the event. Ideally you will want to have time to go through the items as invariably there will be rejects.
  • The simplest way to operate the event is using the token system, one for every item of clothing donated, which can be exchanged on the night for one new piece of clothing. Set an upper limit though, say maximum 10 pieces. You could keep the token system simple; one for one or set a value, so a ‘designer’ piece may be deemed worthy of four tokens for example.
  • Make sure you have lots of clothes rails, coat hangers and tables to display accessories. You may be able to borrow rails from your local shops. At the very least, you will be able to pick up some coat hangers.
  • Sort the clothes into size order (consider making divider cards).
  • Background music is a nice touch so take a portable speaker along with you.
  • A few full length mirrors are a must, and ideally a couple of changing areas. These could be side rooms depending on your venue, or fashioned out of a couple of sheets draped over clothes rails.
  • Rope in lots of helpers. You will need to set up the clothes and clean up afterwards. It’s a lot of work.
  • Book your local cmb expert  who can work the room, offering colour and style advice.
  • After the event, sort the clothes into two piles: the best bits for eBay (although this could be time consuming so ask for volunteers to manage this), and the other for charity. You could even do a supermarket sweep at the end of the event, allowing lurkers to take as much they want. Less for you to deal with!
  • Add something extra such as a mini fashion show or get your cmb consultant to talk about colour.
  • Get Swishing is an excellent website and there are a lot more resources on the web too.

And if you are attending a swishing event:

  • Only donate clothes that are in a good state of repair and are laundered and ironed.
  • Hang clothes on individual hangers before donating; it makes life much easier for the organisers.
  • Take your own bag.
  • Offer assistance. It’s quite a task to run a swishing event and another pair of hands is often welcomed. You could promote the event within your own friendship groups. Or bake and donate a cake.
  • On the night, don’t swish for the sake of it. Just because you have five tokens doesn’t mean that you have to spend them all.
  • Think about your lifestyle, what colours suit you and whether an item will work on your body shape. If something doesn’t fit but you love it, it’s worth investing in alterations.
  • >Don’t worry about the apparent disparity in value. A coat that you don’t wear is a great swap for a scarf that you’ll love and cherish.
  • Consider holding a small swishing event yourself for friends and family. It’s a fun way of revamping your wardrobe, and very sustainable.

Sarah is a Colour Me Beautiful consultant operating in Lancashire. For more details about her services, contact her here.