Swishing. party guide. Everything you need to hold your own swishing clothes swap party. Swishing a fun, free fashion fix for friends

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1 Swishing party guide Everything you need to hold your own swishing clothes swap party. Swishing a fun, free fashion fix for friends

2 The average UK household owns around 4,000 worth of clothes, 30% of which has not been worn for a year.

3 Contents What is swishing? 2 Why swishing? 3 Planning your swishing party 4 Inviting your swishers 7 Swishing success 8

4 What is swishing? Swishing is a way to have a clear out and get a whole new wardrobe without spending any money. The idea is to get together with friends and family to swap clothes, accessories and shoes. This is how it works: Step 1: decide who to invite, a venue (whose home to use), and a date that suits everyone. Step 2: ask everyone to look through their wardrobes for good quality items they no longer wear (or have never worn!). Step 3: ask everyone to bring their pre-loved items to the party and let the swishing begin. The aim is to find new homes for all the donated items. Swishing events are also called swap shops, clothes swaps, frock exchanges and shwopping. 2

5 Why swishing? It saves you money Swishing is a fun, free fashion activity. You can pick up some fantastic new clothes without having to spend any money. You can also save money by holding the party in your own home rather than hiring a venue or paying to go to an event. It s a great way to meet people Planning your own swishing party provides the perfect opportunity to invite your new neighbours over, get to know fellow students or just get all your old friends together for free communal swishing and a chat. It is a great ice breaker when you first move into a neighbourhood or if you ve just started college/ university. It s good for the planet Waste sent to landfill sites eventually decays and creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and a liquid called leachate, which can lead to serious environmental impacts. While recycling is a better option than landfill, it still has an impact on the environment which could be avoided by reusing our textiles. We throw away approximately one million tonnes of clothing a year 50% of which ends up in landfill. 3

6 Planning your swishing party Who First of all, decide who you want to invite. Would it work best with close friends and family, housemates or would you like to use the opportunity to meet your neighbours or get to know your fellow students or work colleagues? Involve everyone men can swish too! When Once you know who would like to come, you can find out when the best time for them is. It might work well to hold it on a week night so that people can pop in after work, or make it into more of a party and hold it on a weekend. Where If you have enough space, you might like to hold it in your home. If not, you could ask a friend to host the party, or even organise a lunch-time swish at work. There is no reason why you couldn t hold the event in a public place such a community centre, or make it part of a larger event, but don t forget there may be a charge for hiring the venue. How There are a number of different ways to organise your swishing party. What you decide may depend on who is coming and how much time you will have. Choose from the options on page 5 4

7 Option 1: The simple swishing party This one is fuss-free, open to everyone and should ensure plenty of stock. Ask everyone to bring any items they no longer want. Neatly display similar items together and ask your guests to browse and choose as many items as they like. Option 2: The specific swishing party This is a good option if you are looking for a particular item. Ask your guests to bring a specific type of item, e.g. party dresses, suits, children s clothes, maternity clothes, accessories or shoes. You could hold a series of swishing parties and choose a different type of item to swish each time. Option 3: The special swishing party This is the option to use if you have some special or expensive items that you would be proud to pass on. Ask your guests to bring at least one high quality item. Give your guests one token (e.g. button or ribbon) for every item they bring. Allow your guests to browse and when someone chooses an item, ask them to pay one token for it. 5

8 Optional extras Once you ve decided on the basic structure of your party, there s no limit to the extra activities you can provide for your guests. Here are some ideas to keep your swishers smiling: Ask a friend who is good at sewing to do minor repairs on the day. If you know an aspiring make-up artist or style consultant, ask if they would like to provide mini makeovers or style advice at the party. Make a night of it use your Saturday afternoon swish as a way to meet up before a big night out. To complete the personal experience, provide home-made tags to label items (see template at the back of this guide). You may decide to do this for all items, or just for special pieces that are donated. With love from... 6

9 Inviting your swishers When your planning is underway, it s time to send out your invites. Start talking to people as early as possible so that they save the date, and spread the word using social media (make it clear whether it is an invite only party, or whether your guests can bring friends). Send the invite via or social media to save time and paper, or if you prefer to send the invites through the post photocopy the invite at the end of this guide. Send a reminder a few days before the event asking people to get their pre-loved items ready and reminding them what they can bring. 7

10 Successful swishing Here are some top tips for a great swishing party: Make sure there is a mirror, and if possible, a changing area available. Give a little introduction at the beginning of the party, explaining whether you will use a certain system, and set some ground rules. Ask your guests to be polite and share as much as possible, items are taken on a first come, first served basis! For a completely cost-free swishing party, ask your guests for a small donation to cover the cost of refreshments, or ask them to bring refreshments to share. Make sure someone has a camera on the day to take photos of people with their swished items. To take the stress out of the planning, use our quick checklist at the back of this pack. We d love to hear how it went, so send us your comments with photos to and put swishing in the subject line. 8

11 5 options for leftover items 1. Repair If there are items that are a bit worn, or that don t fit, try customising or fixing them to give them a new lease of life. 2. Reuse If there are clothes and shoes that are not fit for purpose, can you reuse them for something else, e.g. try the furoshiki ideas at the back of this pack for gift wrapping. 3. Community exchange events There are free community exchange events called Stuff for Free where you can bring leftover items from your party. To find out when the next event is, visit 4. Charity shops Charity shops are a great place to take leftover items. Use the Charity Retail Association s handy tool at to find your nearest shop. 5. Textile banks There are plenty of textile banks in your area and at your local Reuse and Recycling Centre where clothes and shoes can be deposited for re-use. To find your nearest centre, visit Printed on 70% post consumer recycled paper

12 Save money, save the planet, come swishing! You are warmly invited to my swishing party! When: Where: Please RSVP to: What to bring: Please make sure all items to be swished are clean and presentable. What is swishing? Swishing is a way to have a clear out and get a whole new wardrobe without spending a penny! The idea is to get together with friends and family to swap clothes, shoes and accessories.

13 Swishing party guide Furoshiki bag Why not use a spare scarf or square piece of fabric to make a furoshiki bag to bring your pre-loved clothes to the party and then take away your swished items in it? Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese method of wrapping clothes, gifts and goods to carry them instead of using a carrier bag. Follow these simple instructions to make your own quick shoulder bag no sewing required! 1 Place your clothes in the centre of the fabric 2 Tie the corners on one side into a knot 3 Tie the corners on the other side into a knot so that you have two knots 4 Sling the bag over your shoulder and come to the party For more information about reusing textiles, and to order your free swishing party guide to host your own party, visit To watch a video about furoshiki, visit

14 Swishing party guide Pre-swish checklist Take the stress out of planning the party with this simple pre-swish checklist. Find a suitable date and time Decide on a venue Decide which type of swish to have (options on page 5) Invite your swishers by using the invite via , Facebook, Twitter or through the post Look through your wardrobe for pre-loved items you want to swish Decide on any optional extras on page 6 and invite the experts you will need Make gift tags if you decide to use them (using the template in this guide) Send your guests a reminder Have a camera ready and ask one of your guests to be in charge of taking photos at the party Set up a mirror and changing area Get refreshments ready if you are providing them Send your party photos to with swishing in the subject line Follow our tips on the back of the guide for dealing with any leftover items

15 Swishing party guide Furoshiki instructions Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese method of wrapping clothes, gifts and goods to carry them instead of using a carrier bag. If you have leftover scarves or pretty fabrics at the end of your party, try some of these clever ideas for using the fabric as a waste-free gift wrap. For more information and a video about furoshiki, visit

16 Swishing party guide Make your own gift tags Use these tags to attach to any items that are being swished, or save them for special, high quality items that you are proud to pass on but will miss, to show the receiver that they are getting something special. Cut out the templates below to make your tags, and if you need more, make them out of cardboard from empty packaging. Use plain string, or remnants of coloured ribbon with safety pins to attach them to the clothes. Ask your guests to write their own labels by hand for the items they are donating to give a nice personal feel to the party. With love from...

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