News / USA

Social Media Draw More US Women to Clothing Swaps

Social Media Draw More US Women to Clothing Swapsi
X
May 01, 2013 11:59 AM
Clothes swapping has become an increasingly popular way for women in the United States to give away undesired items from their wardrobes and get something fresh in return. With the help of social media, enthusiasts are now attracting hundreds of new participants to their events. As VOA's Michael Lipin found out at one recent gathering in northern Virginia, clothing swappers say they can stay fashionable and save money, while being charitable and environmentally-friendly at the same time.
Social Media Draw More US Women to Clothing Swaps
Clothes swapping has become an increasingly popular way for women in the United States to give away undesired items from their wardrobes and get something fresh in return.

Enthusiasts in the Washington area and beyond have attracted hundreds of new participants to their events in recent months, using social media to spread the word.

Swappers say the events are an opportunity to stay fashionable on a budget, and to be charitable and environmentally friendly at the same time.

One of the area's most popular clothing swap groups drew a record crowd to its latest gathering at a high school in Springfield, Virginia on April 20.

Bartering for bargains

About 300 women came to the cafeteria of the West Springfield High School to lay out gently used shirts, dresses and other items they no longer wanted. In return, they could take home almost anything they like.

Student volunteer Ashley Moore loved the concept. "I brought five shirts and got two nice pairs of boots," she said. "They were like new, not even used!"

A resident of the nearby Virginia suburb of Alexandria, Daphne Steinberg, said she was attracted by the prospect of finding something special. One of her finds included a shirt by American brand LOFT, originally known as Ann Taylor LOFT.

"Ann Taylor is a really nice women's designer and I will totally wear this to work," Steinberg explained. "I love that I can outfit myself for work, have a good time doing it, not totally bankrupt myself."

Green benefits

Among the vendors offering special deals to the clothing swappers was Waldorf, Maryland-based energy healer Sandy Van Dusen. She liked the idea that clothes were finding new homes rather than getting thrown away and ending up in a landfill.

"It helps to keep the Earth green," she said. "There is no point, in my opinion, in continuing to buy new clothes when we can reuse what is already here, give it a new home, let somebody else love what you used to love."

Organizer Kim Pratt's Frugal Fashionista group raised about $700 at the event, by charging a $5 entry fee for the swappers, a $25 table fee for the vendors, and selling raffle tickets for various prizes.

Community giving

The group used half of the money to cover operating costs and donated the other half to the school's debate team.

The Frugal Fashionistas support several charitable causes through their events. They deliver all 'unswapped' clothes to shelters for victims of domestic violence and raise money for anti-sexual violence organization Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).

Pratt said her inspiration is Suzanne Agasi, who began hosting private swaps in San Francisco in 1996. After several years, Agasi's gatherings outgrew her home and she developed them into a business through her website ClothingSwap.com.

"I learned about it from her online," Pratt said. "I started doing this myself four years ago, and we have been doing it for four years, getting bigger and bigger each time we have a swap."

Using the social media site meetup.com to promote the events has helped the Frugal Fashionistas to grow from 30 members to 1,300.

Challenges

Most of them respect clothing swap etiquette. But Pratt said competition for desirable fashion can get heated.

"We have to tell people sometimes not to hover over the new people coming in with their clothing as they put it down. Some people tend to grab the stuff right out of their hands and it becomes like a free-for-all. We try to avoid that as much as possible."

Co-organizer Dianna Moy said the group plans to draw even more women to future swaps, but needs many volunteers to donate time, effort and money for that to happen.

"We found there is a big demand here in the DC area and very few that want to address it," said Moy. "We are very happy to help satisfy part of that necessity."

Fun factor

Enthusiasts also have been emphasizing the social aspect of their events to broaden the appeal.

Local group Dewdrop is promoting a May clothing swap in downtown Washington by offering cocktails, style tips from experts and a fashion show to women who pay the $20 advance ticket fee.

At the Springfield event, a mini-dance party erupted in a part of the cafeteria as a female DJ played popular tunes like "Gangnam Style."

"We are all here because we like fashion," said swap attendee Steinberg. "Some of it might be like 10-year ago fashion, but we have a good time."

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

update Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, US demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid