Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review: N/A Collective Co-ed Clothing Swap

Last weekend I checked out  the Co-ed Clothing Swap, organized by N/A collective and Shop My Clothes. The rules were a bit different from any other swap I’ve been to before – it was free to attend, but the clothing on offer was for sale. Swappers were asked to bring a bag of clothing, which they could exchange for 2 tickets to use towards new swap finds. Any additional items found were $5 each (or a bit less for the items in bins). I was initially a little put off by the idea of having to pay for each item of clothing donated to the swap (and the idea of the organizers profiting from the individual items of clothing I brought), but I was won over by the possibility of some cool vintage finds.

Down a little alleyway at Brock and Dundas, the studio was a bit hard to find (for less observant types such as myself, who missed the sandwich board on Dundas advertising the event - oops), but upon entering was met with a very well merchandised space, that had the feel of a tiny cute vintage boutique. There were a few tables and baskets, flanked by clothing racks on either side of the room. Men’s clothing was on one side of the narrow studio, women’s on the other. I was initially a bit disappointed by the selection, although that was mostly due to being an unlucky size at this particular event. There were some great pieces (both older vintage items and newer mall-store labels) in the 8-12 size range, and a few really great XS finds. Unfortunately the 4-6 range it was mostly H&M and Forever 21 cast-offs, none very appealing. I did manage to find a great shoulder bag, and sheer black 1980s secretary blouse with some cool asymmetrical detailing. Despite my initial curmudgeonliness about the cost, I ended up feeling guilty about leaving without spending any money, so I also picked up a cream-coloured mini with metal studs on the shoulders (which is cute, if a little too small).

In the end the concept actually did kind of grown on me. I was forced to be a bit pickier than usual, so a few items I was considering, but was a bit iffy on (and probably would have taken if it had been a straight item for item swap) ended up, thankfully, back on the racks. I’m also very excited about the two items I settled on (the third, not so much, but you can’t win ‘em all). It's also a good option for people who have nothing to swap, but are hoping to find some cheap wardrobe additions. The atmosphere was nice and relaxed; there was a makeshift changing area in the back, and some snacks for sale, as well. It was an all-day affair (11am-6pm), with people trickling in and out, so it seemed like the kind of swap that would merit a few visits throughout the day. Also worth noting was the men’s selection – it was pretty sizable, and better than what’s on offer at most swaps I’ve attended.

All-in-all, I was a pretty happy swapper. I entered with slight trepidation, but left with a smile (and an awesome new bag!). Definitely a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Check out their site (or our Events page) for info on upcoming N/A swaps.


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