A visit to the Sustainable Didcot clothes swish

If you’ve got a wardrobe full  of clothes you no longer wear why not swap them for something different? I recently visited a clothes swish at Cornerstone to find out more.

A small team of volunteers from Sustainable Didcot organised the clothes swish. They are keen to offer a facility to swap clothing that you’ve paid a little more for, for example occasion or business wear. By its nature this often has minimal wear and it seems such a shame to sit unworn in wardrobes.

Clothes for swishing, Sustainable Didcot
Clothes for swishing, Sustainable Didcot

Upon arrival there’s a £5 entrance fee. Di from Sustainable Didcot explained this pays for the venue hire. Any excess monies from the entrance fee are donated to Sustainable Didcot to help fund further events. And you potentially get a new wardrobe for minimal outlay!

Clothes for swapping
Clothes for swapping

What happens at a clothes swish?

After you’ve paid your entrance fee the first stop is the scrutiny table. This is where your items for swapping are quality checked. Some items, for example, T-shirts and underwear, are not accepted. Similarly the event is only for adult clothing. This is because there are already other outlets for children’s clothing, such as nearly new sales.

If items aren’t suitable you can either take them away with you or donate to the charity shop bag. Accepted items are added to the clothes rails and you are given a ticket which details how many items you’ve bought in for swapping; this equates to how many you can take away.

Tops for swishing, Sustainable Didcot
Tops for swishing, Sustainable Didcot

Once you’ve confirmed how many items you can swap it’s time to browse the rails. I visited early afternoon and there was a good number of items on all of the racks. Some quality items from local charity shops are also added before the event starts. This ensures there are sufficient items for people to choose from.

If you don’t have any clothes suitable for swapping you are still welcome to come along, pay the entrance fee and then pay £1 per item if anything takes your fancy. Given that many of the items were dresses or evening wear that’s a bargain!

Colour me beautiful, Sustainable Didcot clothes swish
Colour me beautiful, Sustainable Didcot clothes swish

Jo, from Colour with Confidence, was on hand to provide advice on suitable colour choices. I chatted for a while, all the time acutely aware of my hastily chosen orange jumper and clashing red Converse! 

Swish clothing swap at Cornerstone, Didcot
Swish clothing swap at Cornerstone, Didcot

Three local charity shops supported the event. Sobell House, Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary and Cancer Research helped by providing initial donations of stock. They also benefit from any leftover clothing at the end of the event. That way there’s no waste or storage issues. Sounds like a win-win situation for all involved!

Interested in attending a future event?

There are plans to hold these events two or three times per year, perhaps in line with the seasons. The next event is on Sunday 29 March 2020; keep an eye out for further details on the Sustainable Didcot Facebook page.

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