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Sharing, swapping, swishing

Women peaking out from a rack of clothers

Tuesday 27 September 2016

A clothes swap or swishing event is a great way to get a new wardrobe or refresh your current one without buying new clothes. Bring your friends and family together to swap your unwanted clothes in an informal clothes swap.

How it works 

  1. Ensure everyone brings clean and wearable items they no longer want to the event.
  2. Guests receive a token for each item donated and the clothes are displayed.
  3. Let the swish begin! Guests look through the items and exchange for tokens.

Planning a swish event

You might like to consider some of the following points:

Event location

Arrange a location well in advance of the event. This can be anywhere from a friend's lounge to a community or school hall depending on the size of your event.


Invite people to attend the event through emails, social media or posters. Working with local schools or community groups might help you with some other communication options.


It's helpful if you receive donations in advance of the start time. This could be a couple of days before to even just an hour before. This allows you to set out all the clothes before the swish begins and nobody misses out. 

People don’t necessarily need to be there for the start of the event. If you have people arriving throughout the event you’ll get new clothes as you go and it will make the start less of a rush.


You might like to display the rules on posters around the room. Things to include would be items you will/won’t accept, must be in a clean and wearable condition, and how the token system works.


You would ideally need tables, clothes rails (local shops might loan these to you), mirrors and a changing room. Signage and different areas for different types of clothing are also helpful. 

Tokens can be anything from plastic bottle tops, buttons or raffle tickets. For smaller events less equipment will be needed, just space to display clothes.


Each item of clothing should be exchanged for one token. 

Clothing type events

The events can be tailored such as school uniform or baby clothing swaps depending on the group or area you are running the event in.


Depending on the rules above, if you're accepting clothes with small repairs such as missing buttons, you might like to have someone good at making repairs be there on the day.

After the event

The aim of the event is to have all items given a new home, but this might not be possible. Get in touch with a local charity shop to donate the items.


It’s a good idea to know how successful your event is by recording the items exchanged and the number of items left at the end of the event.