Fashion Swap


Fashion Swapping – low cost, green and FUN!

Here Aleris reviews the annual style-Uptown Fashion Swap:

I love going through other people’s clothes. It’s been a favourite pasttime ever since I was a girl: examining the contents of girlfriends’ closets, ooh-ing and ahh-ing, trying things on and, like a true friend, borrowing them.

I also love getting free stuff, perusing gorgeous local wares, laughing hysterically over photobooth pictures, and having a glass of wine outdoors with a pal (not to mention waltzing into shops with said glass of wine and pal, where special deals are available to us and we are treated like special people). If I could do all these things at once – but instead of a single closet, I get to choose from a room filled with thousands of clothing items, carefully organized by size and type – I think I’d call that place Heaven.

Well, that’s exactly what happened last night when Amber and I went to the first annual style-Uptown Fashion Swap, except no-one from the hordes of female fashion-hunters who attended will ever have to return the clothes. That’s right – they’re ours! All ours! It makes me so gleeful that I actually just rubbed my hands together and let out an evil chuckle.

But here’s the best part! Half of the ticket proceeds went to the BC Cancer Foundation to support breast cancer research. A night of fashion and fun for an amazing cause? It almost doesn’t get any better than that… only it does, as the event also encourages sustainable consumerism by being based on the trade of previously purchased, gently-used fashions. It’s a low-cost and planet-friendly opportunity to update your wardrobe by parting with ten pieces from it and replacing them with ten new-to-you ones. From there, it’s easy to decide what shiny new item or two you’d like to purchase to complete your closet for the season. I’m in love with the idea.

Here’s how it all went down:

The $20 tickets were sold at Uptown’s guest services centre, and included a $10 donation to the BC Cancer Foundation; a $10 Uptown gift card; a free beverage; a stack of coupons for great deals at Uptown stores; and a style-Uptown Fashion Swap lip balm in a sweet little tub; all of which we received at the swap in a beautiful tote bag specially made for the event bow.

Ticket purchasers had nine full days before the event to drop off the items they chose to swap out, so there was absolutely no stress or pressure involved. The meticulous organizing was all done in the days prior to the swap, and I was so impressed by the results.

In a room packed to the brim with women and clothing, it was miraculously fun and easy to navigate and make great finds. There was a lot of energy and activity and an all-around great vibe. And most importantly, there were racks and tables filled with massive amounts of clothes, shoes, and other accessories! The fun wasn’t confined to the main swapping room, however.

Outside, the Uptown Boulevard was populated by tables bedecked by lovely things from local vendors.  One of these was Fiona of Wolf Circus Jewelry. I instantly wanted almost every necklace, ring, and pair of earrings I laid eyes on. I could easily satisfy any jewelry craving from her line, where she’s created everything from powerful fashion statements to subtle, pretty accents.

Then there was April and Leona of Party Shoes, showcasing an array of shoes that made my knees weak and my lip tremble.  What I found most exciting, though, was that these are usually sold at hosted parties. Like a Tupperware party… BUT WITH SHOES. Can you imagine?

DalyCo Boutique was there as well, with a fresh, bright, and slick selection of shoes and clothing from their shop on Lower Johnson. Suffice it to say that I’ll be bringing a large tote bag when I visit the store.

At another table, Stella and Dot had a display laid out that nearly brought me to tears. If you have seen their jewelry you’ll probably understand what I mean. That table simply glowed with gorgeousness.

Our hands-down favourite stop on the boulevard, however, was the photo booth run by Linsday and Derek of Four Frames Photo Booth. Do you remember how much fun photo booths used to be? This is WAY MORE FUN. It was such a blast that we went in twice. We got to deck ourselves out in wigs,giant glasses, feather boas, ridiculous hats, a sexy moustache, you name it. It was hilariously fun and honestly the best time I’ve had in a while. These folks are based in Tofino, and Amber and I are currently plotting to have them come back to Victoria as soon and often as possible.

We were unable to stay for the big party after the swap’s completion, but I know it involved music, food, drinks, and that incomparable rosy feeling that comes after the rush of fashion acquirement. My verdict? Fashion swaps are a brilliant idea, and Uptown absolutely nailed it. I’m already looking forward to next year’s!