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Swishing Parties help reduce waste!

If you want to refresh your wardrobe and at the same time keep clothes from being thrown away willy-nilly, organise a Swishing (Clothes Swap) Party!

Refresh, Reduce and Re-Use. Whether it is planned around your family and friends or open to public, either way, you can raise awareness on how clothes can be very harmful to the environment when they are just thrown in the bin! Recycling is at times not enough when it comes to clothes. Let’s stop the Fast-Fashion machine and share our clothes instead!

Step 1 - Plan it!

What is it for? Are your organising to reduce waste in the community, for charity or is it to refresh your own wardrobe! Advertise your party informing people of what can be expected and figure out the interest around you.

Who’s coming? Is it for your family or friends, or is it a community activity? Try to figure out how many people will participate. If it is open to the public.

Where will it be? The place is important. For a close-knit party, you can do it at home or a small hall. If its for the public, try organising it at a bigger hall. Make it easier for your guests to get to the venue by choosing a place where it can be more central.

What time? Time and Date needs to be set up. Depending on the swapping or swishing system you want to do, you can set up a date for people to drop clothes off first to exchange with tokens before the event or people can bring their garments on the day to exchange with tokens. Or even both!

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Step 2 - Figure out a System

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Side note. Give the option that people can bring as much as they want, and not be obliged to take as much. Some people tend to go away with less when it comes to swishes.

Time Frame. How long is the swishing going to last in one day? Could be during a weekend between 10am-4pm? Is it a weekend thing or during a week night?

Before you put it out there, consider how you are doing this event. This makes for clearer instructions and lessening the chances of mucking up on the day or before it. Depending on how you want to organise your party, there are various systems you can use for a swishing party.

  • System 1 – Free for All – if you have so many clothes to go around, allow one token, and let people take as many as they can.
  • System 2 – One Token = One Garment – people can take as many clothes they want, if they bring as many clothes to swap.
  • System 3 – Token by Quality. Designer items can have more token worth if they are being swapped with high-street items. You may choose to assign a token value to different brands to make sure everyone gets the appropriate value for their items. For example, a Primark top might get one token; an M&S top might get 3 tokens; and a designer top will get 5 tokens. This takes a lot more organisation, but helps to avoid any concerns over people bringing an H&M skirt, and leaving with a Gucci coat.

Whose Helping You Out? A swishing party can look a bit like a retail clothing store. You want to make sure that all areas are manned and people are being accommodated. This also keeps track of things and that the exchange is fair and organised.

For Example:

  • 1 person at the door
  • 2 people at the clothing racks and table
  • 2 people for the changing rooms
  • 2 people for dealing with the token exchanges and token swapping

Step 3 - Get Your Stuff

Clothing Rack and Tables. Depending how many clothes you are getting, one or two racks and two tables should be enough for a capacity of 20 people. If there are more, try to get 3 to 4 racks and a few tables to hanging dresses up and folded garments can go on the tables.

Coat-Hangers. Neat way to hang clothes and to show them off too.

Tokens or Cards. Depending on the swapping system youre doing. Use tokens or cards as an exchangeable for garments. 

Mirrors and Chairs. For people to use and see garments on them.

Curtains. If the toilets are not enough try making DIY changing rooms by curtaining off an area for people to try stuff on.

Till or a Box. To stash the tokens and lists.

Sign-In Sheets. To keep track of the guests, their allowed tokens and how many garments they brought in and how many they are leaving with.

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Optional: Add to the atmosphere

  • Decorations
  • Nibbles and Snacks
  • Tea or Coffee
  • Some Music
  • A Fast Fashion Theme. If it is solely to reduce waste, how about putting small snappy information about Fast Fashion and how much it affects the environment and those involved in fast fashion industries in more deprived areas, i.e. ‘3000 gallons of water is used to make one pair of jeans’ written on a card next to the pile or rack of clothes.

Step 4 - Put it Out There!

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Let People Know. Social Media is your friend. People find out more about your party through online networks. Get people to share and like your event. Share your event through different organisations or communities i.e. putting an newspaper Ad if it can be done.

Advertising is important for a successful swishing party! When everything is set up and you are ready to go, put it out there! You want to make people feel that they want to get involved. You can advertise the different types of styles that are going to be on the racks to create interest. Snapping a picture of examples from your collected clothes can give people an idea of what type of garments are going to be there to entice people to come along!

Step 6 - The Week or Night Before

Set Rules. A swishing party can get easily chaotic if people don’t know the rules. Advise participants before and on the event.

  • All clothes must be clean before they are dropped off.
  • Everyone must bring at least one item.
  • No item can be claimed before the swish party starts.
  • No Fighting. Toss a Coin for a garment.

Collecting the Clothes. If people are dropping clothes off before the day of the event. Advertise a time and date when clothes can be dropped off to exchange with tokens.

Arrange Clothes by Quality. If you are using System 3 where clothes are ranked by quality. Set aside a high-quality/branded clothes to one rack and high-street brands to another. 

  • Designer brand – 5 tokens worth 
  • Quality Brands – 3 tokens
  • High Street Brands – 1 token worth
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Step 7 - On the Day

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Before the Party

Clothes, tables, racks, stations and decor must be set up. Guests can come in, to drop more clothes off and claim tokens for their goods. Here is an example timeline of your party:

11-11.30am – Waiting Area. Guests can stay here before the swishing starts. Gives you time to put things on hangers, racks or any last minute prep.

11.30 – 12 noon – Guests are allowed to Browse around the racks and tables. No picking yet. Allow 30 minutes.


12 noon on wards – Start the Swishing! People can go ahead and exchange their tokens with clothes.

Last Hour of the Party – allow people to take as much as they want, so you are not left with any clothes.

Before it Ends. Thank your Guests or advertise for other upcoming events.

After the Event

Ask for Feedback and Advertise how well your Swishing event went. By social media, comment cards and feedback. Fast-Fashion needs to slow down! Tell people how events such as these control the amount of clothes being bought and wasted!

Leftover Clothes. Keep them if you are having more swishing parties in the future. Or have a small gathering of people who are interested in the leftover stuff with discounts. Don’t opt to bin them right away if no one wants them. Encourage ways to make use of unwanted items. One Word: Upcycle.

Encourage Ways to Keep Clothes. Swishing parties help reduce people’s waste and avoid the chances of more clothes going into landfills. Although, we cannot always track what people do with their items. Some tend, to use it for awhile and end up binning it eventually.There are various ways that we can take care of our clothes, such as making them last longer and upcycling them!