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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.