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Clothing swaps in Singapore: What I've learned from joining Swapaholic and The Fashion Pulpit

Clothing swaps in Singapore: What I've learned from joining Swapaholic and The Fashion Pulpit

Swapping is the new shopping

Text: Dora Aljoofri-Shrestha


If you're working towards becoming a more conscious consumer, clothes swapping is a good alternative to shopping. And with organisers in Singapore like Swapaholic and The Fashion Pulpit in the game, it's easy to refresh your wardrobe in a sustainable way. What is it like at a clothes swap? I went for swap meets by both organisers, and these are things I've learned:

1. It's not a dumping ground

If you think these swap meets are the answer to discarding things you don't want in your wardrobe, think again. A clothes swap session isn't your recycling bin. Organisers are strict about the quality of the items on offer. I had sent in some clothes that I thought were acceptable, but learned later that there were tiny stains that I had missed. Checks are extremely thorough. Items with stains, tears, and fading colours will not be accepted.

Clothing swaps in Singapore: What I've learned from joining Swapaholic and The Fashion Pulpit (фото 1)


2. Points are your "shopping" currency

Points are given to you according to the items accepted. For my first swap with Swapaholic, I received 27 points from the nine clothes I gave. As a general guideline, a top or a bottom will give you two to three points. The same goes with The Fashion Pulpit.

Each item is assigned points, and you swap according to how many points you are given

Each item is assigned points, and you swap according to how many points you are given

3. Attend with no expectations

I get that there will always be some apprehension towards swaps. Will there be clothes that are of equal value as the ones I've traded in? My advice is to have no expectations. A clothes swap isn't a one-for-one event. You may find many things or nothing at all. The whole intention behind a swap meet is to give your pre-loved items a new home. If you're lucky, you'll find something in exchange for your contribution. If not, be happy that the clothes that would have otherwise gone to a landmine will now have new owners.

Clothing swaps in Singapore: What I've learned from joining Swapaholic and The Fashion Pulpit (фото 2)

4. It's not a market place; it's a mindful and positive experience

You'd think the events would be be chaotic, but at both swaps, I had pleasant experiences. The whole idea behind swapping is not to accumulate clothes, and it felt like everyone came with the same mind-set. Swappers weren't snagging items like it's a sample sale, but were carefully going through racks and picking out items mindfully.

Clothing swaps in Singapore: What I've learned from joining Swapaholic and The Fashion Pulpit (фото 3)

Wework x The Fashion Pulpit Lelong! Lelong! Sutainable Fashion Swap in August

5. It's a treasure trove of goodies and there is enough to go around

I went for my first swap with Swapaholic out of curiosity. I didn't think I would find anything, plus there wasn't anything that I needed. But when I was there, I was surprised to find items I've wanted but never felt the need to buy, like a French shopping net bag and a cheongsam top. The best item I got at a swap was a dupatta (a traditional Indian shawl), at my second sesh with The Fashion Pulpit. I had almost purchased one just a week before the event, but decided against it because it was a 'want', not a 'need'. So it was an unexpected treat to find something similar at the swap. It felt like I was meant to wait it out and swap for this shawl.

Clothing swaps in Singapore: What I've learned from joining Swapaholic and The Fashion Pulpit (фото 4)

My swap finds (from left to right): Embroidered dress, dupatta, clutch, cropped sweater, basket bag, vintage blouse

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