Recycle And Buy Unique Clothes At Shaftesbury Fashion Swap

After the success of their Shaftesbury Fringe sustainable fashion show, Lucy Fosh and Georgie Faulkner-Bryant are planning a clothing recycling event that they promise will be fun and filled with ‘one off’ finds.

The women are hosting a clothes swap of ladies fashions, children’s clothing and school uniforms on 7th September. Alfred found out more.

“There’s one in Frome and in Wincanton that have taken off,” said Lucy Fosh, who is a clothes swap fan. “I think Shaftesbury would be a fantastic place to have another one and it will hopefully take off too.”

Georgie Faulkner-Bryant (left) and Lucy Fosh in Swan’s Yard

The term for clothes recyclers like Lucy and Georgie Faulkner Bryant is re-fashionistas. They keep garments out of landfill by ‘blinging’ them up with extra details and they are always on the lookout for individual and quirky pieces that you never find in the less-than-sustainable fashion chain stores.

The concept is that you pay a £5 fee and exchange ten of your unwanted items for ten tokens to buy other people’s pre-loved clothing. Georgie believes that it brings out the best from the back of swappers wardrobes. “It’s the clothes that are valuable to someone or they’ve got memories and they want to pass them on.” She says the range differs from charity shops. “I think you do get a different type of clothing at these events,” said Georgie.

The clothes swap event will be held in Swans Yard. As the home of the zero-waste shop and with a clothing repair and alterations business on site, the women think it is the perfect venue. “Here in Swan’s Yard, we’ve got Andrea with The Dressmaker studio. She specialises in alterations, so people find clothes they love and then they can go over to Andrea and ask for advice on how to alter them. She can do fittings on the day and they’ll be able to try on clothes in her shop,” Georgie said.

The women will decorate their outdoor sales space. “Swans Yard have gazebos, so we’ll be putting them up, rain or shine. We’ve got our own rails, so we can make it look beautiful,” said Georgie.

Lucy says it’s important to discourage unnecessary waste and make do and mend – or swap. “People these days throw out clothes if a button or a zip is broken. That happened to me this weekend. I had to cut myself out of a dress because the zip broke, but I’m going to get a zip and put another one in, because it is one of my favourite dresses. People just throw fashion away readily when they shouldn’t do,” said Lucy.

Georgie says the women are supporting a national sustainability drive. “Oxfam have out a campaign called ‘Second Hand September’, where people are asked to shop second hand for a whole month, instead of buying new clothes. It will be an interesting experiment,” Georgie explained.

Children’s clothing will be welcome too. “Especially with school again. If anyone has any old school uniforms bring them along and swap for the next size,” said Lucy.

But for this experimental first session there won’t be menswear. “Men traditionally don’t shop for clothes as much as women. They tend to hang on to their clothes, and they are more sustainable,” Georgie laughed. “We would absolutely love to include men in the future,” she added.

There’s an incentive to get there early. “We are doing an early bird drop off scheme starting at 10 o’clock on the 7th of September. It’s to help us out a little bit, so we can sort through the clothes. If you come early at 10 o’clock, with your ten items of clothing, you will get £1 off the entry fee.”

If you don’t have any clothes to bring, you can still take part in the event. “You’re still welcome to come because we will have a rail of handpicked clothes from Oxfam, that we’ll be selling on behalf of Oxfam on the day. We will open the doors for the sale at noon, and we close at 4pm.”

If the dropped off clothing sells out quickly, the women have reserved some of their items to put out on the rails. “I’ve had people ask whether they can come and drop things off the night before, so we will have a lot of choice for people,” said Georgie.

You can drop off from 10am to 11am and the sale runs from 12pm to 4pm. Items that aren’t sold will be reused, as you might expect. “Any clothes that are left over will be either donated to Oxfam or we will use them in one of our re-fashioning workshops,” said Georgie.

If the event is successful Lucy says it will lead to more. “It is a test pilot. We’re going to find out how popular it is. If it does really well then we will definitely be planning for future events.”