Visitors are having a look at the cloth swap possibilities. © Greenpeace / Bas Beentjes

Thinking about freshening up your wardrobe before the summer? Forget shopping – it’s time for a clothes swap! Whether you are a green-dressing fashionista concerned about fashion’s footprint or just simply love shopping, clothes swapping can be a whole lot of fun. 

In the face of throwaway fashion clothes swapping is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to reduce waste, contribute less to the increasing accumulation of toxic chemicals in the environment and upgrade your wardrobe without spending a penny!

This Thursday (April 24th, 2014) will mark the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, when more than 1,130 people died and twice as many were injured in one of the worst industrial disasters in recent history. It will be marked by the first Fashion Revolution Day, a moment to remember all those who suffered in the name of fashion. It is a global call for change.

To mark the day there will be events taking place around the world. You can join them or, even better, why not organise something yourself – why not a clothes swap?

To help you out we have come up with some simple tips to organise your very own swap. Good luck and swap till you drop!

10 Steps to Clothes Swap Heaven

  1. Pick a date and venue. You can organise it at your house, your friend’s house, or even at work! Here at the Greenpeace International office we have organised our own clothes swap parties in our canteen. While our Greenpeace colleagues in Hong Kong recently organised a kids’ clothes swap party in a café.
  1. Send an invitation to your guests – friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc. And who said clothes are for girls only? Invite boys as well!
  1. Tell the participants to bring clean, wearable clothes in good condition.
  1. Make enough space to place the clothes and make sure people will be able to move around easily. It always helps to have a mirror for people to check out their new look!
  1. When people arrive, show them where to place their clothes. It’s most efficient to divide the clothes according to categories: shoes, accessories, shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, etc.
  1. To stop clothes hogging why not set some rules of how many items everyone can take, e.g. as many items as they brought in.
  1. Ask people to bring snacks, drinks and their favourite tunes – this always makes the clothes swapping party even more fun!
  2. Make sure all items are in place before you start swapping – this will minimise the chaos.
  1. One, two, three – go! Let your clotheswappers loose! Dig for treasures, try things on and go for a whole new look!
  1. Clean up and donate. At the end of the swap, ask the participants to help put the unclaimed items into boxes and take them to a thrift store, charity shop or clothing container. The last thing you want is to end up with lots of bags of unwanted clothes until your next party ;)

Want to find out how else you can Detox your clothes? Check out our handy guides to creating a revolution in your wardrobe:

Part I and Part II

Greenpeace’s Detox campaign is calling on big fashion brands to stop the use and release of hazardous chemicals. Thanks to global #PeoplePower 20 international fashion leaders have already committed to Detox our clothes and many are already taking action towards a toxic-free future.

Join the movement to clean up fashion and find out how you can help Detox our future.

Ieva Vilimaviciute is a Detox Campaigner at Greenpeace International.