Swapping – the new shopping?!

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A new kind of shopping craze is sweeping across the UK at the moment; swapping! It is all about swapping clothes and unwanted goods with total strangers; people are turning to the ancient system of swapping services to exchange goods. With the current economic climate making us tighten our purse strings, more people are finding themselves swapping last seasons dress for that must have frilly chiffon blouse, or their unwanted electrical goods for that latest gadget. That way you don’t break the bank and have a completely new item for free.

One of the most popular items to exchange is clothes. Fashionistas can now get rid of their old wardrobe clobber in a fun and guilt free way.

The popular programme Twiggy’s frock Exchange, have seen clothes addicts in every city in Britain set up a swap shop. Wendy Allsop, an event’s organizer for Swap Shop in Manchester said:
“The idea behind Swap Shop is because a huge amount of clothes are thrown away each year. This concept fits well, with the reduce, reuse and recycle theory which we hope to embed with as many people as possible. 

“An issue for British charity shops is that only 10-20 per cent of their clothes are actually resold in the UK. Because new clothes are so cheap it doesn’t always make financial sense to recycle. Statistics say recycling is now a declining market. But we think that it still makes sense to the environment. “

The way swapping works is that swappers bring a minimum of three items of clothing to the Swap Shop. When the swapping starts anything you want is yours, there is no limit! Events are often free if you bring items with you. Even if you don’t, you are only charged a small fee, which is a bargin if you are lucky to nab that designer dress or jacket.

First time swapper, Tara Ratcliffe said: “It is such a fun thing to do, I have managed to nab myself a gorgeous dress for my office Christmas party.

“It is perfect for girls like me who get bored quickly with their clothes, I will definitely be swapping instead of shopping from now on.”

With Christmas looming near it could be a perfect opportunity to look at the bottom of your cupboard and swap it for that perfect party dress. It is also a great way to great rid of any unwanted Christmas presents, that sweater your nan got you could be exchange for that topshop dress you have had your eye on for ages.

The Swap Shop will be organising an event in the New Year; if your new year’s resolution is to de-cluttering your life, then Swap Shop could be a great way to kick start your ‘new you.’

The Swap Shop is not the only place to get a freebie; Whatisyoursismine.com is the ultimate website for clothes addicts to swap their items for something else.

Judy Berger, a former stylist and personal shopper, who set up the Whatismineisyours.com fashion website four years ago to cater for customers interested in trading their clothes, said, “When we started the economy was strong and the site used to specialize in sales.

“But now it has gone the other way around and we have had a 33 per cent increase in the number of swaps.”

The site emphasizes the importance of swapping is that you get the value of your item back, whereas if you sell you lose more than 50 percent of the initial retail value. Therefore there is an element of pride in knowing your treasured designer handbag has gone to one very careful owner who has sent you in return a fabulous bag of her own.

Another website that is bucking the trend is recycle.co.uk, which allows members to swap everything from cds to DVDs to mobile phones and art works.

A member, Daniel Hignett, said: “I swapped my i-pod for a must have i-phone for nothing.

“It is more fun swapping than shopping, you don’t waste your money.”

So why not check out in your area if there’s a swap hop, or even better start a swapping party in your own house with your friends, you could get yourself an amazing outfit or end up getting a house for de nada!