Back in June, I participated in a challenge where I didn't purchase any shoes or clothes for 30 days - read here. I highly encourage you to try this at least once because you will learn how to create a functional wardrobe while being a conscious shopper. One of the key takeaways from completing the challenge was re-affirming that I thoroughly enjoy assessing my space and purging it of items that no longer serve a purpose. Period. I'm committed to getting my space to a point where I'm surrounded by items that I truly love and enjoy. So, what do I do with the items that don't make the cut? Well, personally, I like to donate to various charitable organizations as opposed to selling them because it makes me feel good to give back and I know that someone else will benefit from my donation.
So, when I came across SWAPDC on Instagram and discovered their creative recycling event which was held on July 21st, I knew I had to check it out and attend. SWAPDC promotes "re-use within the community by shifting the mindset of the consumer to swap more and shop less." Now this is a mission that I support wholeheartedly! There is no reason to continue to be wasteful with your clothing when you can simply donate them to others.
Items I Swapped
I decided to swap out the following: sunglasses case, pants, jeans, shoes, books and some other accessories. Nowadays, I wear my hair in it's natural state and I don't even own a curling iron, so it was no longer necessary for me to hold onto the curling iron pouch - pointless. The sunglasses case and headband, I just didn't like anymore and the books I skimmed through but they didn't make the pass to stay within my collection so parting with these items was easy to do. Even though, I liked my black flats and they were comfortable, I realized that I had not been wearing them lately and I believe in clearing my space for items that I love. So, that's exactly what I did. After I decided on the fate of these items then I bagged them up to take them with me to the event.
How SWAPDC Works
To enter the event, you had to RSVP in advance and pay $5 but if you didn't RSVP, then you only had to pay $10 at the door which still was pretty reasonable. Upon entering the event, a representative checked me in and retrieved my donations so that they could be sorted through and then placed on the clothing rack for display. The intent is to shop through the racks and if you see something that you like then it's yours. Simple as that. But you had to move quickly before someone else swoops in for the steal. Seriously! I saw this blazer that I wanted but before I could make my way to it someone else had already claimed it. I was disappointed but as each hour passed by more and more inventory filled the racks and my loss on the blazer was a fleeting moment.
So, as, I walked into the main room, there was a DJ playing music which I feel makes the experience really fun and engaging, a woman was face painting and other attendees were browsing through the racks. There were about 4-5 clothing racks setup in the middle of the floor, already adorned with dresses, shirts, skirts and pants. In the corner there was a shoe rack that placed all donated shoes, sandals and heels on display. There was also a designated space for items such as jewelry and an area for books on display just ready to go to their next home.
In another room, there was a chef whipping up some amazing food which unfortunately, I didn't get to try but it smelled delicious. The event was held at the Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center in DC's - Ward 8, which supports local artists and creatives and it was nice to see their work on display. After touring the center and checking out the surroundings - practically just being nosy, I concentrated on sifting through the racks to see if I would find anything that caught my eye. Since completing my no shopping challenge, I knew that whatever I selected, it had to have some color because my wardrobe is filled with lots of gray and black. I made sure to keep a close eye on the room that housed all the clothes waiting to see if I saw anything. Luckily for me, my persistent eye-watching paid off because I ended up walking away with a beautiful, colorful maxi dress and a long, denim shirt for FREE! That's the great thing about this event, you end walking away with some great pieces.
"Being a conscious shopper means being intentional and buying only what you need."
I love their concept because its community based, environmentally friendly as it relates to reducing clothing waste all while giving back to others. While, up-cycling clothes is not anything new, it's great that more people are beginning to understand the importance of it and it's many benefits as opposed to trashing their clothes. So, the next time you realize you have clothing items that are too small or you just aren't feeling anymore but are in good condition consider swapping them at the next SWAPDC event if you're in the area or donating them to a local charity.
Here is how I paired my items that I grabbed from the event. The dress is colorful and bright just the way I intended and the denim shirt is long enough that I was able to tie it around my waist. I'm glad that I snatched up the denim shirt because I'm really big on being comfortable but chic and I can wear the shirt with leggings or jeans which makes it functional. That's why it's important to be a conscious shopper because your clothes are meant to be worn and not sit idle in your closet. The next time you go out shopping be sure to ask yourself if it's something you need vs. what you want.
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