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Take off your clothes…


Yesterday afternoon I spent a few hours at a city wide clothing swap. The event, Take Off Your Clothes, invited anyone and everyone to haul their lightly used/never worn clothes to the Musée Juste Pour Rire for an afternoon of riffling. As with most things, the event had it’s pros and cons. Unloading of everyones hauls to the main swapping area was slow, and there were loads of people grabbing at the same items which made for more than a few glares and stares, but I thought it was wonderful that any left over clothes were given to the salvation army. The swap system was pretty straight forward as well:  each item brought yielded a ticket that could be exchanged for any other item and higher end items got you a higher end ticket (and access to the coveted ‘higher end room’..)

(meet my friend Eliza – yes, we have the same name. Weird. She on the other hand, is awesome.)

These events are always kind of a gamble. I don’t know that I necessarily agree that one mans trash is another mans treasure… Not in every case anyways. More than anything I find these types of large scale events to be a kind of testament to all the crap we accumulate. I actually felt a bit gross after a while. There were just… so many piles… so much stuff..

Granted, I’d expected to have to do some serious rifling and I did manage a few good finds but it was the high end room (as would be expected…) that had some amazing little gems including a seriously dated Pierre Cardin dress and some Yohji Yamamoto pants that an acquaintance nabbed before I could even spot them (hence, no pic. I know! sad…) Also a stark reminder that just because a ‘name’ is attached to something, doesn’t mean it’s gonna be nice.

In the end I left with less than I came with, which I think indicates a success. While once I would have been determined to nab my tickets-worth of exchangeables, on this day I was more happy to scour about and see what I could find that I really liked. I know, revolutionary thinking right?… I’m such a consumer… but I think the heaps and piles of clothes really threw me through a loop hole and thanks to my depressing trip to the city center last weekend I think I’ve been officially shaken out of that mentality that drives us to pile up on superfluous items based solely on their tiny price tag. And what did I walk away with you may wonder? …

Aside from the usual few mens shirts I like to pick up at these types of things (seriously, the best place to find them!) I came away with a dusty cotton candy pink knit top that gives me wonderfully broad shoulders minus the 80’s pads…

(pink top – Swaped | grey skirt – h&m | brogues – steve madden)

…a yellow button down silk shirt that immediately made me think of a certain miu miu collar.. There may not be a naked woman sprawled across the collar, the chickadee yellow is nearly as charming as the print itself.

(yellow shirt – swaped | purple tank – aa | shorts – garage | necklace – f21)

..And finally a Michael Kors frock. I was inspired by the current surf wear moment fashion seems to be having and the I heart Norwegian Wood lookbook that just came out when I put this together.. Paired with cut nylons and a sweater (with purple and black stripes that you can’t really make out because unfortunately my bookcase blocks much of the light in my apartment. ack..) and a paillette colar from h&m.



(dress – Michael Kors | sweater – Calvin Klein | booties – Steve Madden | shorts – d.i.y nylons | colar – h&m)

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/31/2010 12:53 pm

    What a cool event! I have yet to go to a clothing swap, but I love the idea. I must keep an eye out for those!


  2. 05/31/2010 2:11 pm

    ça à l’air super, il y avait quelque chose du genre à Lyon ce weekend !

    J’adore ta robe Michael Kors :)

  3. 05/31/2010 3:18 pm

    What an amazing idea – I would love to go to an event like this. Will need to organise something in Scotland. xx

    • 05/31/2010 5:14 pm

      Hi Eliza,

      Thanks for the great post on our Saturday event! We are a nonprofit social enterprise and are 100% volunteer-run. A big part of our mission is conscious consumerism. When you think about all of the human and natural resources that go into producing clothing that rarely gets worn, you are right: overconsumption does feel gross. It is our hope that by hosting more and more of these events, folks will make the same realization that you did in your post.

      We currently have chapters in Montreal, Halifax, Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, Boston, and Lausanne and love swapping in new cities. If anyone reading this post would like to partner with us to do an event in their city, please feel free to contact me.

      Thanks for writing about your experience Eliza. Sharing is good! :-)

      All the best,

      Aleece Germano

      President and Founder
      The S.W.A.P. Team

      • unefilledemtl permalink*
        06/01/2010 8:54 am

        Hi Aleece!

        Glad you liked the post! Yes, I’d heard that it was nonprofit… really a great initiative!! I’m glad I heard about it…nearly missed it actually.. As for overconsumption, I really just feel like it’s been drilled into our heads that we must all get our moneys worth end up picking up things we wouldn’t have had they cost more… a never ending amount of things that don’t fit quite right or that we don’t really even like..

  4. 05/31/2010 5:33 pm

    Aww, I can’t believe you didn’t get that gorgeous Cavalli top. Without the 12 lbs of beading, how would anyone know it’s Cavalli?

  5. 05/31/2010 9:34 pm

    OMG this looks like a lot of fun! i wish there was an event like this in Vancouver, i would totally go!

  6. 06/01/2010 9:11 am

    Great finds, looks like my kind of place…

    tweet tweet tweet


  7. 06/01/2010 11:35 am

    Awesome!!! Looks like a blast – what a great way to recycle!

  8. 06/01/2010 12:15 pm

    Hey Eliza!!!
    Love your blog and your style (May showed it to me). Me and some of the girls are starting our own. Check it out! Trying to keep the blog as anonymous as possible… even though there is a picture of me… haha Anyways looks like you are having lots of fun in Montreal. Take care!

    PS. Congrats on Paris!
    PPS. We miss you =D

  9. 06/03/2010 2:51 pm

    Wow i didn’t know about this event at all! So glad you made some good scores! You look so adorable in that yellow collared shirt outfit :) And love the pink – feels so fresh! Too bad i was out of town, i totally would’ve gone with you!


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