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The Big Shwop hits Auckland
Fancy a fashion store without money?
Thread talks to Sarah Hopkins, co-organiser of fashion swopping event "The Big Shwop", which is coming to Auckland this September after a successful run in Wellington, and finds out what a "shwop" is and what to expect on the day...
What made you come up with the idea of the Big Shwop?
It started just over a year ago. I have always loved fashion but I became more and more aware of the conditions in which cheap fashionable clothes were made. It's truly awful - cheap cotton has such a huge impact on the environment and the people who grow it. And the cheaply made clothes that arrive here at bargain prices have also made our fashion industry hugely disposable – and that has massive impact on the environment too. It is just totally unsustainable – and after learning more, we (Inga Boyd, Chrissy McGonigal and I) began to think of ways to be fashionable and kind to the earth too.
Pictured below: The three organisers, from left: Inga Boyd, Sarah Hopkins & Christine McGinigal.
We became really committed to buying New Zealand made and ethically made fashion. The problem is that as we aren’t absolutely loaded, so it's hard to afford to buy these types of fashion all the time when you want a fresh fashion hit.
So The Big Shwop evolved out of necessity really. It is for when you feel like something fresh and don’t want to buy something that has been made with no respect for our planet or its people. The message really is that we should buy real quality clothes when we buy new, and shwop clothes when we can’t afford to do this.
What do they enjoy most about them?
What I wasn’t expecting was the huge amount of fun to be had at The Big Shwop. There is a real sense of community and excitement that is just intoxicating.
Sometimes shwoppers notice that someone else has picked up the clothes they bought in. It's great to look around and witness the old owner of a pair of really great trousers stoked that there is someone their loving them and taking them home.
What's the best item of clothing they have gained in a shwopping experience?
There are so many! Perhaps some of my faves has been a beaut pair of WORLD pants that still had their tag on them and a gorgeous retro blazer that is exquisite.
That is the beauty of The Big Shwop; how brave everyone is with their clothes. We have had fabulous selections of quality clothes and that is what it is all about.
What can women expect when they come along?
People bring in their clothes from 11- 1pm. For each item of clothing suitable for the shwop you receive a voucher. We're keeping it simple - one item is worth one voucher.
The shwop room is closed from 1-2pm. We'll be sorting the clothes onto racks and into sizes.
At 2pm The Big Shwop begins. Shwoppers can use your vouchers in exchange for any item in the Shwop.
We have some awesome eco-conscious companies on board and so each shwopper gets some great goodies to try, as well as a glass of wine, some great music and of course, spectacular clothes.
It's really simple, and we keep the rules really clear. We have all the details on our website www.thebigshwop.co.nz where you can also register for the event to guarantee a spot.
Any tips for happy shwopping?
The Big Shwop is only as good as the clothes that everyone brings in. So be brave, bring out those fantastic clothes you are no longer wearing and share the shwopping love!
What: The Big Shwop
Venue: The St James Theatre Auckland
Date: The next event will be held on Saturday October 31st 2009.
$10 charge. Bring clothes, hats, shoes to exchange for vouchers to redeem for others' quality used items. No jewellery, swimwear or lingere. Clothes must be in good nick; no tears, missing buttons etc and they will refuse poor quality clothes. Un-shwopped garements will be donated to charity after the event, you cannot ask for them back.
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