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Swishing - the fun free fashion fix for friends

Oct 23, 2012
The average north London household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes – but around a third of clothing in the average wardrobe has not been worn for at least a year. So why not "swish" them?

The budget-conscious fashionistas of Hackney, with the help of North London Waste Authority (NLWA), are starting a new trend this winter season by organising swishing parties, a fun, free way to refresh your wardrobe and make some new friends.

The first at-home swishing party, organised using NLWA’s new swishing party guide, was held recently. The event, organised by Hackney resident Ellie Rowles, was a great opportunity for her to get friends and colleagues together and swap their unwanted clothes, shoes and accessories – getting them a whole new wardrobe without spending any money.

Swishing is a fun concept in ‘social fashion’. You can pick up some fantastic new clothes without having to spend any money. It’s also a great way to have a little party, meet people, have a catch up and help save the environment at the same time. You can also save money by holding the party at home rather than hiring a venue or paying to go to an event.

Ellie commented: “The swishing guide helped us through all the steps of organising the party. Most of us picked up some ‘new’ clothes and we all had a lot of fun. It gave us the perfect opportunity to invite our new neighbours over, and get some of our friends and colleagues together. I can imagine it working really well when you first move into a new neighbourhood or if you’ve just started a new job, college or university.”

The free guide from NLWA encourages north Londoners to reuse their pre-loved clothes within their own community, and contains lots of ideas about how to organise a swishing party, how to make it fun, and what to do with any leftover items.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Chair of NLWA, believes that swishing could be the next big trend that takes the country’s wardrobes by storm: “With a trend for vintage clothing having made a comeback in a big way in recent years, swishing seems like only the natural extension of that trend. It’s fun, it’s free, which I’m sure we can agree is the best price of all, and it’s good for the environment.

“In the UK, we spend about £23 billion on clothing every year, and an estimated £140 million worth (350,000 tonnes) of used clothing goes to landfill every year. This is really bad for the environment as waste clothing rotting down with the rest of the rubbish produces harmful greenhouse gases. But most of all, it’s just such a waste, when most pre-loved clothes could probably either go to a caring new home or be recycled.”

NLWA’s swishing party pack is available online. You can download your copy online now at

If you organise a swishing party of your own, we’d also love to hear how it went, so send us your comments with your photos to and put ‘swishing’ in the subject line.