Swap shop: how to host a 

Swap shop: how to host a clothes-swapping party

Sometimes we all hanker for a new dress, shoes or a handbag to bring a fresh lease of life to our wardrobe. But the credit crunch, awareness of waste - the UK generates approximately 1.5 to 2 million tones of clothing waste per year - and sometimes dubious high-street ethics has made guilt-free spending sprees a thing of the past for some of us.

Fear not, however, because there is a new way of updating your wardrobe without it costing you or the environment. Clothes-swapping is the latest money-saving trend among budget- and fashion-conscious 'recessionistas'. And with vintage-chic the look of the moment, there's never been a better time to get second-hand swapping, or 'swishing' as it's been named.

Follow our guide to hosting your own clothes-swapping party.

How to host your own clothes-swapping party

1. Send invites - invite as many fashion-loving friends to your party as your house or venue will accommodate. Ring round, send texts, create an event on Facebook or list your party on www.swishing.org to pull in the crowds. The more people, the wider variety of clothing styles and sizes. (Although you might want to make sure your home insurance is up to date to cover any accidental damage if you're opening your home to very large numbers of "swishers"!)

2. Giving and taking - Each guest must bring at least one piece of clothing or an accessory to the party that they will be proud to pass on. Encourage clothes-swappers to bring a bag full of unwanted items if they can. Guests can take as many items home as they wish.

3. Window dressing - Use anything you can get your hands on to display the donated items. Stand-alone rails are your best bet, but with a bit of imagination chairs, ladders, clothes horses and drying racks can act as great display props. Make your guests wait till everything is set up to start 'swishing', otherwise some may lose out in the desperate grab-a-thon.

4. Make-do and mend - if there are any designers among your friends; let them work their magic on the left-overs from your swap. They could even sell-on their re-made items at your next swap. Anyone who is handy with a sewing machine is also invaluable at these events as they can alter items to the wishes of their new owners.

5. Charity case - Take all unwanted leftovers to your local charity shop - they'll always be gladly received. Or you could hold a clothes-swapping event to raise money for charity by charging a small admission fee.

Sainsbury's offer a range of financial services including loans, pet insurance, home insurance, life insurance and savings accounts. Visit www.sainsburysbank.co.uk for quotes and more information.

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