As part of Go Green Week, Keele University held The Big Green Swish. Now if you’ve never been swishing before (which I hadn’t) then you’re in for a treat.
I had always been curious about attending a swishing party but until now, the opportunity hadn’t arisen. I therefore jumped at the chance to get involved and started applying a critical eye to the clothes on rails in my wardrobe, singling out some items that could be swapped for some new goodies.
Although some swishing parties are limited to clothing swapping, with some adding accessories like handbags and shoes, Keele’s event also had a selection of kids’ items and toys, books and some soft furnishings. The best thing about a swishing event is being able to exchange items that you no longer use or wear for something new from a fellow swisher. Some parties collect items in advance, in the case of Keele, whilst at others, you take your items along on the night and swap to your heart’s content!
I took along my selected items: 2 necklaces that I loved the look of but never have anything to wear with them so they hang limply on a stand rather than decorating a neckline; a purple top (worn once); and a dress that I’d worn on a work’s night out. None of these items had much wear, but could be just what somebody else was looking for. Excitedly, I handed over my items and received a voucher in exchange entitling me to 4 items on Swish Day.
Some swishing events work on a basis where you get an equal value to the items you bring, at others you may not take as many items home as you brought with you, and at some, the principle of finding new homes for everything mean you could leave with more items than you started with.
At the end of the day, the thought behind swishing is to exchange things you no longer want and find them a home where they get used. This keeps good quality items out of landfill and reduces the use of new resources by distributing items with plenty left to give a new owner. Win-win!
On the Wednesday, I eagerly approached the hall laid out with rails and tables adorned with fellow swishers’ offerings. Clutching my voucher, I perused men’s jumpers, ladies’ clothing, a group of books, some shoes and bags. The turn out was excellent.
After sweeping the room once, I settled upon a lovely patterned skirt, perfect for my mum who had been hunting for some new skirts, a snuggly wooly jumper for my husband and a metal heart decoration to hang on a wall or add to the Christmas tree next year.
As I departed the room with my prizes, a Masters student weighed the items to calculate the volume of materials saved from landfill by the event. Although I hadn’t found clothing for myself, the jumper brought a smile to my husband’s face and my mum has been wearing her new skirt already, proving the concept works. Oh, and the little metal heart has a home on the bedroom wall; a reminder of my swishing experience.
So if you’ve never swished, or you’ve always wondered about popping along to a local swishing party, I strongly recommend it. Not only is it a great way to find a new home for some unwanted items, but you can meet some like minded people and enjoy engaging conversation. And if there aren’t any swishing parties going on in your area, launch your own! You don’t need a hall or a big venue to start with; just invite some friends round and bring a few items and add an eco element to a night in.