Fashionistas go on swapping spree in Knightsbridge

Posted by Alastair Otter on June 19, 2007
Posted in Lifestyle

London hosted a landmark fashion event this weekend. Five-hundred fashionistas, according to a Reuters report, descended on a second-hand clothes shop to feed their cravings for designer labels with a spot of “ethical swapping”.

This was no ordinary second-hand shop, though. Situated between Harvey Nichols and Harrods on the very upmarket Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, it was stocked with “designer and high-quality street clothes and accessories”, some which apparently once belonged to the likes of Kylie Minogue, Helena Bonham-Carter, Naomi Campbell, Sadie Frost, Thandie Newton, Rihanna, and Kelly Osbourne. Designer names such as Philip Treacy, the hat designer, Alice Temperley, Issa, Bella Freud, Giles Deacon and Gina shoes, were also tucked away among the fashionista must-haves.

The two-day event, called Visa Swap, was organised by Visa Europe in association with British charity TRAID (Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development).

Touted as an event that would allow you to “spring clean your wardrobe and ‘buy’ new clothes without spending a penny”, interested clothes lovers were asked to drop off their old garmets and accessories between May 31 and June 10 at the temporary “pop-up” shop in Knightsbridge. There a Visa Swap team assessed and valued the items and the value was returned to customers as redeemable points loaded on to a Visa Fashion Swap Card. The points earned could then be redeemed at the two day swapping event held this weekend.

A team of stylists was on hand at the shop this weekend to help customers with fashion advice and MAC artists gave make-up tips so shoppers could leave with a complete new look.

Once the last happy shoppers had left with their “new” clothes packaged in eco-friendly hessian bags very few items remained. “It’s totally exceeded our expectations in terms of the number of people,” Sarah Bunter, manager of the pop-up shop, told Reuters.

The unswapped items will be taken by TRAID, which operates a network of textile recycling banks across Britain. TRAID either sells clothing back to the public in one of its charity shops, or reconstructs and redesigns them into new pieces that are sold under the recycled fashion label, TRAIDremade. The money the charity raises is donated to development projects.

Visa is keen to “go global” with the initiative, according to Reuters.

I wonder how this kind of thing would go down in Sandton.


2 Responses to “Fashionistas go on swapping spree in Knightsbridge”

  1. Moira
    November 19th, 2009 @ 9:37 am

    Did you have any feedback to this article about hosting such an event in SA?

  2. Laura Grant
    November 30th, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

    No I didn’t get any feedback. But I did come across a very interesting fashion-swapping idea in Cape Town earlier this year. I’ll try and find out if it’s still operating and write a post about it soon.

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