Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Toronto Swap Events This Week: November 5-10, 2013

Sooo many swaps happening this month! Of course, if you have any vintage clothes to swap, you should check out our Vintage clothing Swap this Saturday at the Arts Market. If you only have newer clothes to swap, fear not - there are plenty of swaps (and other cheap clothing events) happening over the next week - day and night, weekday and weekend!

November 9
$2 Clothing Sale
The Walmer Centre, 188 Lowther
Not quite a swap, but a great opportunity to get some cheap clothes. As indicated by the title, everything is $2, with proceeds going to the Live to Give Relief Organization.

Ultimate Diva Clothing Swap
Hugh Garner Party Room, 550 Ontario St.
Admission: $5
Clean out your closets and pass along those clothes, shoes and accessories you no longer wear. And at the same time you will find "new" items for yourself from the items being passed on by others.

Swap and Shop with Stella and Dot!
Make Den, 1224 Bloor St. W.
Admission: $10 (or 1/2 off with a fb like)
Clothing swap and pop-up shop, with proceeds going to help kids from PACTfashion develop their runway show for FAT.

November 10

EcoFair at the Barns
Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St.
Admission: FREE
In addition to an eco-themed book swap, there will be eco exhibits, demos, kids' activities and more.

Clothing Swap!
Tall Boys Craft Beer House, 838 Bloor St. W.
Admission $8 (w/clothes) / $15 (without clothes)
Take a look through your closet and find some clothes you no longer wear or would like to give away. Bring those clothes to the swap, to be sorted by volunteers. Bring as much as you want and walk away with as much as you want. All proceeds go towards supporting the United Way.

November 11
Pre-loved Clothing Bazaar
Loft 404, 263 Adelaide St. W.
Admission: $15 (or $10 in advance)
Although this event is happening next week, clothing can be dropped off in advance this week. Loft 404 is hosting this clothing swap fundraiser in partnership with Sauvage. All ticket proceeds will go to New Circles, a charity offering clothing and community services to east end residents.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Vintage Clothing Swap!

I'm super excited that Swap Don't Shop! will be hosting our first Vintage Clothing Swap next month! Vintage means different things to different people, but we're going by Etsy rules, which means anything pre-mid 90s is fair game.

As usual, you'll get a ticket for each good quality vintage item you bring (max. 30 tickets). Each ticket can then be redeemed for a new swap find.

We're offering advanced tickets, this time around, though. As well as saving a bit of time at the door (and we all know that it only takes a few seconds to miss out on that awesome dress you spotted), if you buy in advance you'll get an extra 2 clothing tickets! Tickets can be purchased via the 'Book It' button in the sidebar, our facebook page, or our uniiverse event page.

Details are below:

Vintage Clothing Swap
Saturday, November 9
Arts Market, 846 College St. 

All vintage (20+ years old) clothing, shoes, and other accessories (with the exception of socks & undies) that are clean and in good condition are welcome.

The swap starts at noon, but feel free to arrive any time after 11:30am to drop off your clothes.

At the end of the day, all of the clothing that is left will be donated to charity.

Check out our facebook event page for updates.

Toronto Swap Events This Week: October 21-27, 2013

This weekend offers a great opportunity to hang out in the east end and do some swapping of clothing, and… anything else.

Sunday, October 27
Jare's Place B&B Swap Meet
Jare's Place B&B, 87 Empire Avenue

Bring your unwanted lightly used item(s) (retail valued between $5 and $50) to Jare’s Place B&B. Get a brown, green and/or pink Trading Token(s) depending on the value of the used item(s) that you brought. Then shop with your Trading Tokens at the trading posts.

Clothing Swap!
7pm - ?
Moksha Yoga Danforth, 372A Danforth Ave
Admission: $5

Clothing in good condition, accessories, bags,and footwear are welcome (underwear, swimwear, activewear, stained or torn items are not). It's a one for one item exchange, and a max of 5 items should be brought. Proceeds will be donated to to Fashion Takes Action.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Toronto Swap Events This Week: October 15-20, 2013

Saturday, October 19
Canzine Symposium for Indie Culture Makers
918 Bathurst St.
Admission: $38 day pass

Crafty types may want to check out Canzine's symposium on Saturday. it's a full day of events including a zine swap and skill share, in addition to a panel discussion, book pitch, readings, books, comics and printed ephemera.

Sunday, October 20
Evergreen Brickworks Community Clothing Swap
BMO Atrium, Evergreen Brickworks
Admission: $3

If you're still hunting for a halloween costume, Sunday's clothing swap is perfect! It's open to men, women, youth and children; and clean, gently used clothing (except underwear), fashion accessories and Halloween costumes are welcome. As always, proceeds will go towards further community events at Evergreen Brick Works, and all extra clothing will be given to charity. Check out their site for info on advanced clothing drop off dates and times.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Toronto Swap Events This Week: September 23-29, 2013

Saturday, September 28
Autumn Uber-SWAP
947 Queen Street East, Toronto (Queen E. Presb. Church) at Carlaw
Admission: $10

It's uber-swap time again! Nathalie Roze's quarterly event is always big, chaotic and fun.

Gently used in-season clothing, accessories & footwear as well as craft supplies & fabric are welcome (minimum 10 approved items needed to participate).

Monday, September 16, 2013

Swap Don't Shop! This Saturday!

So excited about this weekend's swap! We're in a new location, this time around - at the Arts Market on College. Details below:

Autumn Clothing Swap Party
Saturday, September 21
Arts Market, 846 College St.
Admission: $5

Show up with the clothes and accessories you no longer want, and leave with a great new haul! You'll get a ticket for each good quality item you bring (max. 30 tickets). Each ticket can then be redeemed for a new swap find.

The swap starts at noon, but feel free to arrive any time after 11:30am to drop off your clothes.

As usual, there will also be snacks, diy tips and on-site alterations.

All clothing, shoes, and other accessories (with the exception of socks & undies) that are clean and in good condition are welcome.

At the end of the day, all of the clothing that is left will be donated to charity.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Links: Shopping Food for Thought

It's always tempting to go shopping at the start of a new season. Below are some shopping-related links that don't include the usual sale promotions:

If, like me, you're someone who struggles with responsible spending, xojane's piece on avoiding 'I deserve it' purchases is a good pre-shopping read.

If you're not into spending money, but you're feeling dissatisfied with your fall wardrobe, shopping doesn't always need to cost money. Styled247 has some tips on shopping your closet.

..and check out stiletosandtequila's post to remind you of all the reasons why shopping isn't all it's cracked up to be.

And on the 'bigger picture' side of things, an interesting interview on the CBC with Doug Stephens sheds some light on the consumer impact of creating safer and more financially reasonable working conditions for factory workers in Bangladesh (hint: it's pretty minor).

Monday, August 19, 2013

Toronto Swap Events This Week: August 19-26, 2013

Things have been fairly quiet on the swapping front this month, but there are a couple of fun events coming up in the next week:  

Thursday, August 22
Summer's Eve Clothing Swap
Admission: $5 requested donation

Bring your gently used clothing and accessories. Exchange them for others gently used items.
All proceeds and leftover clothing will be donated to a local charity.

Monday, August 26
Home Ec: Food & Films
Handlebar, 129 Augusta St.
Admission: FREE
Although this event is not happening until next week, you might want to do some advanced planning. With a food & films theme this month, this potluck event should appeal to cinephiles and foodies alike. People are welcome (but not required) to being a food item to share with others. As well as delicious film-inspired snacks, look forward to projections of famous foodie flicks and some good natured banter on the topic of the best food films of all time.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Toronto Swap Events This Week: August 5-11, 2013

Sunday, August 11
CLOTHING SWAP In Support of Horizons For Youth
12pm – 4pm
Arts Market, 846 College St.
Admission: PWYC
Update your wardrobe, be part of a sustainable movement and help support homeless or at risk youth! Bring gently used clothing (with the exception of socks or underwear) and swap them for new-to-you pieces! Proceeds going to the Horizons for Youth Foundation. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Toronto Swap Events This Week: July 22 -29, 2013

Saturday, July 27
Book, Movie, Music Eco Swap
11am – 9pm
Yonge-Dundas Square
Admission: FREE
Thousands of items will be available at this media swap event. For each item you bring you get a token that can be used towards a new swap find. There will also be a family-friendly section for the kids.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Toronto Swap Events This Week: July 15 -21, 2013

Tuesday, July 16
Summer Swap
5pm – 9pm
Admission: PWYC

Clothing swap and dance party to raise money for Body Theatre’s SummerWorks 2013 production of Salome’s Clothes. 

Thursday, July 18
Clothes Swap
5pm – 7pm
Dufferin Grove Park, 875 Dufferin St
Admission: FREE

This laid back event will take place on the grass, somewhere close to the farmer's market on the North/West side of the park (weather permitting). 

Clothes and Cocktails for Dress for Success
6:30pm – 9pm
Pentimento Fine Art Gallery 1164 Queen St. E

If you have some work clothes to unload, check out this evening of networking, clothes swapping, and fundraising for Dress for Success. For every 5 items you donate, you will get to choose 1 item for yourself.

Saturday, July 20
Uber-Swap Fashion Exchange
11am – 2pm
1114 Queen St. East
Admission: $10

This massive swap event is not to be missed. Bring a minimum of 10 or more 'approved' clothing items. All of the leftover clothing is donated to Double-Take, the Yonge St. Mission's thrift shop or CAMH's Suits Me Fine clothing bank. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

DIYs to Refresh Your Summer Wardrobe

Photos (from top left): obaz.com, endlessbeauty.com, fashion-mind.com, merricksart.com, whybuyitdiyit.wordpress.com, apairandasparediy.com, beautyriot.com, lladybird.com, sewinginnomansland.com

It's only early July, but if you're already feeling tired of your summer clothes (I know I am), here are some money-saving DIY tips to refresh your existing wardrobe.

if you're bored with your denim cut-offs, updating them with a print using a sharpie is the easiest refashion option. If you're feeling a bit more ambitious, bleach them first to add more contrast, or try bleached spots or dip-dyeing them for a bolder look.

This works well for solid coloured t-shirts as well.

You can also add to your shorts collection of you've got a pencil skirt you're willing to part with, and some sewing skills. Check out Lladybird for inspiring refashion pics.
if you have some solid coloured loafers or ballet flats that are in need of some life, try Whybuyit's tutorial to add stripes.

Chevron stripes can also be added to a tank or tee shirt for a more fun look.

If you've overloaded on neutrals, get excited about them again by adding some colour. A neon stripe can make a plain white dress shirt feel new again.

A coloured underlay can be added to a lace skirt or dress (for a no-sew option just cut out the existing lining, and wear a colourful slip under it instead).

Another idea, which I'm planning on trying out myself, is Merrick's anthropologie inspired striped t-shirt, with a floral pocket and back added.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review: Brickworks Community Clothing Swap

Photo: Ashley Wallis/info.evergreen.ca

The Basics:
$3 gets you entrance to the 2 hour event, and you get a ticket for each item you bring to be redeemed for a new swap item, to a max of 12. Anything extra was $1 per item. 

Nice space - the Brickworks is a nice venue in general, and the swap took place in a spacious  room, with lots of light. 

Relaxed vibe - there weren't many people in attendance, which meant that although the clothing selection was on the small side, the energy was very laid back. 

Well organized - clothing was organized by gender, with a third section for children's clothes. Women's clothing was also sorted by item - dresses on one rack, jackets on another, and tops and bottoms each had their own tables. 

Difficult to get there. I lucked out with shuttle buses, but the Brickworks is definitely a trek for those of us who don't drive.

No mirrors or change rooms - many swaps don't take place at change room-friendly venues, but it would have been nice if there had been a mirror or two.

Clothing didn't seem to be filtered - I came across a number of items with stains, sweaters with pills, and a few old bras in the mix.

Good for:
Small sizes - the most interesting selection when I arrived was in the 0-2 range.
Kids clothes

Bad for:
Vintage and other unique eye-catching pieces - the selection may have been more interesting at the beginning of the swap, but by the time I arrived, it was mostly jeans, T-shirts, and casual tops and dresses in solid colours. 

5 items

Left with:
6 items. The best find were a pair of near new H&M gladiator heels. I also got a hot pink sweater dress (which I'm on the fence about), a pair of lilac wide-legged 'inspiration' pants that don't quite fit yet,  and white loose-knit v-neck sweater. A lavender T-shirt and ill-fitting striped jersey blouse will be returning to the swap pool. 

Charity element:
leftover clothes were donated, and money raised went to Brickworks community projects

This is an annual event, and I will likely check out the next one. As is usually the case with swaps, I think it's probably better if you get there early ( I arrived 45 minutes in to the event, this time). Even though I didn't find much, I can't really complain about spending $4 to get a cute new pair of dressy summer shoes. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Toronto Swap Events This Week: July 8 -14, 2013

Friday July 12
The Ultimate Exchange Clothing Swap Party
6pm – 9pm
Hugh Garner, Party Room 550 Ontario St 
Admission: $2 donation appreciated

Clean out your closets and pass along those clean) clothes, shoes and accessories you no longer wear. And at the same time you will find "new" items for yourself from the items being passed on by others. There will be no change rooms. Please RSVP.

Saturday, July 13
$2 Clothing Sale
9am – 1pm
The Walmer Centre, 188 Lowther Avenue (map)
Admission: free to get in, $2 per item

So cheap, it's just about as close to swapping as shopping can get. Find some amazing gently-used clothing while helping to support the Live to Give Relief Organization, whose focus is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged men & women. Please bring your own bags!

Vinyl Replay: all-day music event 
11am – 6pm
Artscape Triangle Gallery 38 Abell St. 

Admission is $5.

Hear music collectors discuss their rare collections and play their favourite tunes, and participate in a record swap so you can add to your own collection.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Swap Party This Sunday

Come celebrate the beginning of summer by finding some fun new outfits - our next swap is just a week away! We're a little further west and a little bit cheaper than usual.

Show up with $5 and the clothes you no longer want, and you'll get a ticket for each good quality item you bring (max. 30 tickets). Each ticket can then be redeemed for a new swap find.

Sunday, June 23
industREAL arts room
688 Richmond St. West, Ground Floor
Admission: $5

The swap starts at noon, but feel free to arrive any time after 11:30am to drop off your clothes.

As always, there will also be snacks, DIY tips and on-site alterations.

All clothing, shoes, and other accessories (with the exception of socks & undies) that are clean and in good condition are welcome.

At the end of the day, all of the clothing that is left will be donated to local charities.

Check out the Facebook event page for updates.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Toronto Swap Events This Week: May 28-June 2, 2013

Saturday June 1
Clothing Swap & BBQ
Double Double Land, 209 Augusta Ave.

A massive clothing swap with live music and BBQ. Bill Bill, Dune Buddies, New Fries, and DJ Wes Allen are performing.

Really Really Free Market
Campbell Park, near Lansdowne Stn.

Bring your clean, functional stuff, pick something up, or stick around! But you don't need to bring anything to take something. Suggestions include: clothes, media, toys, household items, pet supplies, arts and crafts, and baked goods. Offering services, such as haircuts, fix up skills, yoga classes, music/dance lessons, massage, or gardening help are also welcome.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Toronto Swap Events This Week: May 20-27, 2013

Saturday May 26
9am - 11am
Venice Room, Doubletree International Plaza Hotel, 655 Dixon Road
Cost: $5

This week's big clothing swap is part of Anime North. With a focus solely on Japanese street fashion and Steampunk, it should be an interesting event. Items will be available for swap and sale. Attendees are encouraged to wear their PJs (because of the early start time) or their best street style outfit.

Foodies may also want to start thinking about what to make for next Monday's HomeEc event. The monthly potluck social takes place at Handlebar in Kensington Market, and this month's theme is bar snacks.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Toronto Swap Events This Week: May 13-19, 2013

Spring is here (even though it doesn't quite feel like it at the moment), which means swap season is in full swing! This is a great week for swaps of all kinds: books? check! other media? check! bikes? check! clothes? but of course!

Thursday May 16
5pm - 8pm
Harvest Noon, 16 Bancroft Ave (near College & Spadina) 
Cost: FREE

There’s no need to bring an item in order to participate, although the more items, the better the swap! Swapping will commence at 5pm, but items for swap can be dropped off anytime after 11 am. Local sustainable food, coffee and tea will be served throughout the evening. 

Saturday, May 18
9am - 1pm
Withrow Park, 725 Logan Avenue, south of the Danforth 
Cost: FREE

This event is part of the Withrow Park Farmer's Market. Bring any clothes in need of repair, to get fixed for free! There will also be a cookbook swap.

MEC Bikefest
11am to 5pm
Trinity Bellwoods Park
Cost: FREE

This celebration of all things bike-related features a bike and gear swap, as well as clinics, group rides, demos, and lots more.

Sunday, May 19
11am - 1pm
BMO Atrium, Evergreen Brickworks 
Cost: $3

Clothing (except underwear), and fashion accessories are welcome. 1 token per item to a max of 12. Any additional finds cost $1. Proceeds go towards further community events at Evergreen Brick Works. At the end of the swap, all extra clothing will be given to charity.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Swap & Rock Fundraiser - Just One Week to Go!

So excited about this event! Details are below:

Sunday, April 21
The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W.

Show up with the clothes and any items you no longer want, and leave with a great new haul! You'll get a ticket for each good quality item you bring (max. 30 tickets). Each ticket can then be redeemed for a new swap find.

Performing in the front room:
The Bicycles
Blonde Elvis
Persian Rugs

The swap will feature on-site alterations and a nail bar!

The swap starts at 12:30, but feel free to arrive any time after 12:00pm to drop off your clothes.

Bands start at 1:00!

All clothing and accessories you no longer use that are clean and in good condition are welcome.

$8 with swap items
$5 if you're just interested in seeing the bands

Everything left at the end of the day will be donated to charity, and all funds raised will go to Girls Rock Camp!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Vintage Shoes

For years, despite my love of vintage clothing, I always steered clear of the shoe section when vintage shopping. The idea of wearing someone else's shoes, and not knowing how to sufficiently clean them seemed, for lack of a better word… icky. A few years ago I was thrifting, and came across a pair of black slouchy leather boots that I LOVED. Yes, they had belonged to someone else, but suddenly I was able to justify trying them on. They fit perfectly, and looked great. Squeamishness be damned - I had to have them! 

I have since amassed a sizeable collection of second-hand footwear, and because I'm such a cheap-o, my vintage and thrifted shoes and boots are among my most prized, and best quality footwear. A few things to keep in mind if you're thinking about perusing the shoe racks at the next swap you attend:

1. Check for wear. 
Shoes conform to the feet of the wearer, so shoes that are misshapen or whose soles have uneven wear and tear can be bad for your feet. I always check the upper, inside the shoe, and the soles, as well. If you are a bit squeamish about wearing someone's old shoes, confirming there's no wear to the soles can also be reassuring.

2. Ignore sizing. 
Just eyeball it. When buying/swapping vintage, you often don't know where the shoes came from - country, era, even gender sometimes. I recently picked up an awesome pair of grey ankle boots in a size 6. UK size 6, men's 6 - who knows? I was just pleased to find that they comfortably fit my size 8 1/2 feet.

3. Clean 'em. 
As well as the usual weatherproofing and polishing, I like to spray some deodorizer inside the shoes for good measure. Baking soda works as well. Just remove it with a damp cloth before putting them on. I also like to get shoes that are teensy bit too big when possible, so I can stick some insoles in, to soothe my neurotic germaphobe soul.

4. Get creative. 
Not really shoe specific - this is something advisable for swap finds in general. When you get something for free, trying a DIY re-do is a pretty low-risk proposition. The idea of re-vamping shoes is less likely to occur to people, though. Although re-styling possibilities are limited compared to what's possible with clothing (unless you've got some cobbling experience), it's amazing what can be done with a bit of paint, fabric, and sequins. Check out our Footwear DIY Pinterest board for inspiration.

Are there any great second-hand shoe tips I've missed? If so, please share in the comments!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Swap Events This Week: April 1-7, 2013

Saturday, April 6
Really Really Free Market Toronto 
Campbell Park (near Lansdowne Station)

Not exactly a swap, as there's no obligation to bring anything, but definitely an event that should appeal to swap fans. People bring what they have to give, take what they need, and leave the rest. It’s kind of like a potluck, but for goods and services! 

Sunday, April 7 
Clothing Swap/Wardrobe Refresh
Dovercourt House (north of Bloor)
Clothes, shoes, accessories, books, jewelry, etc. are welcome. 
Admission: $5 (goes to C4P animal rescue)

Check out our Events page for more upcoming Toronto swap events. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Oh, Cotton!

While scavenging through piles of clothing at a rummage sale recently, I came across a fun graphic 80’s style t-shirt, that was way too big for me, but had some DIY boxy cropped-tee potential. When I got it home, I was amused to see the label – Cotton Ginny! As a child of the 80s, I fondly remember the over-sized logo-ed sweatshirts and hot pink leggings of my youth. I wondered – whatever happened to Cotton Ginny? Do they still exist? Have they thought to capitalize on the 80s/90s revival? This, of course, led me down a Canadian 80s retailer Internet rabbit hole. 

Pricey Cotton Ginny Look-alikes by Splendid, MSGM and Alice + Olivia

Yes, it turns out, Cotton Ginny does in fact still exist. No, they are not capitalizing on the resurgence of ‘fashion’ sweatshirts and leggings as pants. Why? God knows. They should be in the midst of a grand resurgance. Instead, they’re half-assing it as on online retailer, all of their brick and mortar locations having closed ages ago due to bankruptcy (damn those fickle customers! Stirrup pants 4evr!).  Their site looks so sad and abandoned – prominently advertising their fall 2012 collection, with an About Us section that says ‘Coming soon…’. Really? How is it possible that a company who have existed for 34 years can't come up with anything to say about their business? They carry a small selection of mumsy clothing in drab colours, with nary an 3X in sight. I remember Cotton Ginny Plus flourishing for a while, even as their original line lost popularity over the years, but their current line maxes out at XL. 

Even boring Beaver Canoe has made a comeback

Sadly, I wasn’t able to find any Cotton Ginny ads from their heyday, but my exercise in procrastination research, did lead me to Au Coton. I had always considered them to be Cotton Ginny’s slightly lamer counterpart, but they seem to have a much bigger online presence.  They even have a Facebook group for former employees. Their site advertises a new collection coming this Spring (although I’m guessing ‘this Spring’ isn’t actually this Spring), with non-functioning twitter, facebook and RSS links. It’s too bad, because the vintage 80s pic on their site definitely suggests their trying to use nostalgia to their advantage. If only they would follow through…

The 80's: So much colour! So much fun! So much fabric!

It’s particularly unfortunate that Cotton Ginny isn’t seizing this opportunity. They have the retro nostalgia /much neglected plus-sized market double-whammy going for them. Ignoring this seems like such a missed opportunity to be seen as relevant again.

Oh well, there's always Etsy

Fashion revivals only last so long – grunge is already back, and soon enough the runways will be teeming with phat pants and neon fun fur everything. In the meantime, maybe their new Islamabad location will be a success…?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Refresh Your Spring Wardrobe with some DIYs

Spring is almost here, so it's the perfect time to start thinking about what to do with the winter clothes that (as-is) aren't worth storing for next year. Here's some DIY inspiration:

Boot Cuffs from a Sweater (Petit Elefant)
A great idea for sweaters that are pilling or moth hole-y, but still have useable cuffs. Sure, you won't really need boot cuffs for much longer, but they take up so little space, packing them up for the fall is no biggie.

Tassel Boot (P.S. I made this)
Booties will still be in season for a while, so why not update yours with some cute fringe?

Floral Painted Purse (studs and pearls)
A little floral enhancement is a great way to amp up a cute purse for Spring. I'm excited to try this in with a less high-contrast combo than the tutorial. Black and lavender is a good look, but I think the subtlety of tone-on-tone paint job would work well too.

Crop Top (Melissa Esplin)
Short shirts are in for Spring, so if you have the confidence, take a pair of scissors to some of your long tops.

Colour-blocked Trousers (Adventures in Dressmaking)
...and while you're at it, why not revamp your boring old khakis?

Sweatshirt Dress (Prudent Baby)
This is probably more of an early Spring/Fall dress, but check out So, 'Zo... What Do You Know? for ideas on Spring-ifying it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review: N/A Collective Co-ed Clothing Swap

Last weekend I checked out  the Co-ed Clothing Swap, organized by N/A collective and Shop My Clothes. The rules were a bit different from any other swap I’ve been to before – it was free to attend, but the clothing on offer was for sale. Swappers were asked to bring a bag of clothing, which they could exchange for 2 tickets to use towards new swap finds. Any additional items found were $5 each (or a bit less for the items in bins). I was initially a little put off by the idea of having to pay for each item of clothing donated to the swap (and the idea of the organizers profiting from the individual items of clothing I brought), but I was won over by the possibility of some cool vintage finds.

Down a little alleyway at Brock and Dundas, the studio was a bit hard to find (for less observant types such as myself, who missed the sandwich board on Dundas advertising the event - oops), but upon entering was met with a very well merchandised space, that had the feel of a tiny cute vintage boutique. There were a few tables and baskets, flanked by clothing racks on either side of the room. Men’s clothing was on one side of the narrow studio, women’s on the other. I was initially a bit disappointed by the selection, although that was mostly due to being an unlucky size at this particular event. There were some great pieces (both older vintage items and newer mall-store labels) in the 8-12 size range, and a few really great XS finds. Unfortunately the 4-6 range it was mostly H&M and Forever 21 cast-offs, none very appealing. I did manage to find a great shoulder bag, and sheer black 1980s secretary blouse with some cool asymmetrical detailing. Despite my initial curmudgeonliness about the cost, I ended up feeling guilty about leaving without spending any money, so I also picked up a cream-coloured mini with metal studs on the shoulders (which is cute, if a little too small).

In the end the concept actually did kind of grown on me. I was forced to be a bit pickier than usual, so a few items I was considering, but was a bit iffy on (and probably would have taken if it had been a straight item for item swap) ended up, thankfully, back on the racks. I’m also very excited about the two items I settled on (the third, not so much, but you can’t win ‘em all). It's also a good option for people who have nothing to swap, but are hoping to find some cheap wardrobe additions. The atmosphere was nice and relaxed; there was a makeshift changing area in the back, and some snacks for sale, as well. It was an all-day affair (11am-6pm), with people trickling in and out, so it seemed like the kind of swap that would merit a few visits throughout the day. Also worth noting was the men’s selection – it was pretty sizable, and better than what’s on offer at most swaps I’ve attended.

All-in-all, I was a pretty happy swapper. I entered with slight trepidation, but left with a smile (and an awesome new bag!). Definitely a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Check out their site (or our Events page) for info on upcoming N/A swaps.

Monday, February 11, 2013

February is for Lovers... Fashion Lovers!

The post-valentine's edition of Swap - Don't Shop! is just around the corner! 

Show up with $8 and the clothes you no longer want, and you'll get a ticket for each good quality item you bring (max. 30 tickets). Each ticket can then be redeemed for a new swap find.

The swap starts at noon, but feel free to arrive any time after 11am to drop off your clothes.

As usual, there will also be snacks, diy tips and on-site alterations.

All clothing, shoes, and other accessories (with the exception of socks & undies) that are clean and in good condition are welcome.

Swap - Don't Shop Clothing Swap Party

12pm - 4pm
Beaver Hall Gallery
29 McCaul St.
Admission: $8

At the end of the day, all of the clothing that is left will be donated to local charities.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

H&M Launches Clothing Recycling Program

Good news for eco-conscious fast fashion fans - clothing chain H&M is getting into the recycling game. Starting February 13, the clothing giant will be implementing a recycling program in select stores across all of its 48 markets. People will be able to bring in their unwanted clothing (any item, any condition - they don't even need to be h&m brand), receiving a $5 voucher towards new purchases.

According to H&M "Every year, tons of textiles are thrown out with domestic waste and end up in landfill. As much as 95% of these clothes could be used again; re-worn, reused or recycled — depending on the state of the garment. Long-term, H&M wants to reduce the environmental impact of garments throughout the lifecycle and create a closed loop for textile fibers." It's great that they are concerned about recycling existing clothes, but this concern is contradicted by their clothing production practices. They sell over 550 million garments every year, with a weekly to bi-weekly turnover of stock. Recycling is important, but continually producing new garments, often designed not to last more than a season or two is more than a little environmentally irresponsible (even if they do increase the number of garments made from recycled materials).

Clothing collected will be processed by I:Collect, a partner of H&M. Although the environmental benefits of recycling clothing are clear, I can't help but wonder if clothing that otherwise would have been donated to charities, will end up in the h&m bins instead. Hopefully will think to donate to those in need first, but the program is still a good option though for items that aren't in good enough condition to be worth donating to a local charity.

H&M is the first clothing retailer to launch a worldwide recycling program, but recycling is already pretty prevalent in certain types of retail - electronics and cosmetics in particular. Here's a selection of independent and chain retailers with recycling initiatives:

Secrets from your Sister
Each February, the Toronto bra boutique has a 'Dead Bra Day' sale, where shoppers can bring in their old gently used bras for a 25% discount on a new bra. The collected bras are then donated to charity.

Available in the US, Europe, and Japan, the Butler Worn Out series, allows customers to return their old A.P.C. jeans for a 50% discount on new jeans. The old jeans are then washed, repaired if necessary, marked with the initials of the previous owner, and re-sold at A.P.C.  stores under the Butler moniker.

The American retailer encourages customers to return any Patagonia clothing that is no longer wearable for recycling.

When a little black dress is purchased from the American online dress shop, a prepaid mailer is sent to the customer, allowing them to  donate their of old bridesmaid (or other formal) dress. Donated dresses are donated to charity or upcycled.

Nike / Converse (reuse a shoe)
Many Nike and Converse stores accept donations of worn-out athletic shoes, which are then recycled. The recycled materials are used for Nike products and creating athletic and playground surfaces.

The shoe company has partnered with soles4souls with their Renew Your Soles program. Customers who donate a pair of gently worn shoes receive $20 off an $80 purchase at shoes.com.

They have a Recycle and be Rewarded program, where customers get a stamp for every full sized Khiel's container they return. 3 stamps gets you a new lip balm, 5 yields a travel collection product, for 10 stamps you get a full sized product, and with 10 empties you get all 3.

With their Back to M.A.C. program, customers receive a free lipstick for every 6 M.A.C. containers they return.

London Drugs
The Western Canadian drug stores have bins allowing people to recycle beauty product boxes. The materials are processed by TerraCycle and then used towards items such as park benches and garbage bins.

This company accepts any brand of cosmetics containers for recycling.

Many Electronics retailers offer discounts to people who donate their old devices. A few examples:


The Source

Best Buy

Mountain Equipment Co-op
The Canadian camping and outdoors equipment store doesn't have a recycling program per se, but they do have an online gear swap, where people can buy, sell or trade in old equipment.