Swishing refers to swapping an item or items of clothing or shoes or an accessory with friends or acquaintances. Parties must willingly give an item to participate in the transaction, once they have given an item they are free to choose something of interest from what others have offered. (via Wikipedia)
Until recently, I was a swishing virgin. I had been saving myself for something special, namely the annual L’Oreal Fashion Festival Clothing Swap, but after missing one too many events, I got sick of waiting and hooked up with the local uni’s clothing swap instead.
My wardrobe possessed several items that I no longer wore but were too good for the charity bin: a couple of black dresses, a pair of low-waisted jeans that no longer fit, a cowgirl frock, and a jumper from MNG. These were surrendered to the organisers a day or two before the swap.
After I had disposed of my unwanted threads, I started to fret. What would happen when two people wanted the same top? What if one person turned up with a $5 item from Cotton On and someone else brought along a $500 coat from Cue? Wouldn’t there be stuff that even an op shop would reject?
Most of my concerns were unfounded. Clothes that were ripped, stained, stretched, faded or damaged didn’t make the cut. Swap attendees were given points to ‘spend’; the number of points they received were based on the quality as well as the quantity of clothes brought.
It was first in, first served, however, with a lot of good stuff disappearing in the opening minutes. Dawdling me ended up rifling through the less desirables, with points to spare. Most offerings came from low-end clothing stores such as Supre, Valley Girl, and Cotton On and were more suited to cash-strapped students looking for throwaway fashions rather than a twenty-something-year-old professional who’d prefer clothing that lasted longer than half a season.
While my first swishing experience was far from perfect, I wouldn’t mind giving it another go. Next time, however, I’ll probably try a more upmarket clothing swap. Apparently, The Clothing Exchange is worth the $25 entry fee (via The Age) with its range of ‘formal dresses, corporate suits, beautiful casual jumpers, high-end branded goods, homemade amazing pieces and very much sort after vintage…pieces.’ (Juliette Anich, via Sneaky Bug). Online swaps like 99dresses.com and threadswap.com.au also look promising. Hmmm. Whichever swishing gig I choose, at least I now know that there’s an alternative to shoplifting or spendthrifting when it comes to clothes.
24 years, 7 months to go,