A new trend in clothes swapping is hitting the capital
Have clothes in your wardrobe that haven't seen the light of day since before last Bonfire Night? It's time to swap them, and you just might get free designer goodies for your sense of charity.
The Victoria & Albert Museum is hosting a "swishing" party as part of its Ethical Fashion Day on Sunday. Swishing's dictionary definition is "to rustle, as silk". This weekend it'll mean "to rustle clothes from friends", explains green communications company Futerra, a partner for the event.
The rules of swishing are simple. Bring at least one clean, good-quality garment, accessory or pair of shoes. Turn them over to be put on display. Browse the goods. When the start signal is given, grab as many pieces as you like, and keep them forever.
Eco-friendly fashion followers are promoting swishing parties as an easy and fun way to look good without giving in to waste. In the UK alone, 1.5 to 2 million tonnes of shoes and clothes are thrown away annually, according to Futerra, and 75 percent of those are disposed in landfills or burned.
The rise of fast-fashion retailers has sparked criticism for fuelling a throwaway culture for clothes, and the looming economic mess coincides with profit boosts for retailers shoppers perceive as ethically lacking.
With swishing, traders get to lighten their wardrobes of pieces they never wear, give them to others who'll love them more, and keep their bank accounts stable by not spending for new purchases. No waste involved, and sartorial consciences stay clean.
The V&A will have style advisers from the fashion industry and Central Saint Martins on hand to help swishers build the perfect outfits, and Ethical Fashion Day also includes a series of seminars and mini design projects scheduled. The designer Katharine Hamnett is just one speaker on the list.
Visit the V&A website for full details and times, and go to Swishing.org for lists of other swishing parties or ideas on how to start your own. When you put together a fabulous new outfit at the museum this Sunday, be sure to send us a picture.
- Jill Hilbrenner