This week I was lucky enough to meet Brigid and Bethany from SWOP West End, an initiative supporting and encouraging sustainable, original and affordable fashion.
The concept is as follows: SWOP is a clothing and accessories store that buys and resells to the public.
And you have a choice in how you SWOP; either you take the cash for your item and run or you can choose to swap that money with something in store.
Just between you and me there is gorgeous black crochet top and a patent leather bracelet that took every ounce of my ‘sensible-side’ of being to pull myself away from… this is what has to happen when you have newly purchased a riverside apartment in the glorious suburb of West End….
Allie: Brigid, can you tell me where the event originated from and why?
Brigid: In North America there’s retail exchanges everywhere so we just basically introduced that idea here. So the concept is instead of using a wholesaler you use the community to restock so on Fridays we have our buying days and people come in and they give us what they have to SWOP.
Allie: What will you take and what won’t you take?
Brigid: We take anything that’s in good condition, vintage, wearable, modern within the last two years, clean and things that are of quality; we don’t take any fast fashion. It’s a platform that’s maybe easier than Ebay or Etsy. And the percentage is that you get 25% of the item back if you take the cash and 50% value if you SWOP.
Allie: How has the initiative been received?
Brigid: So, so well. We originally started selling in a smaller space and within two months, we had to knock down a wall here and expand. We’ve just got so many clothes and it’s good because people are buying just as much as they’ve been selling so it’s just growing. So hopefully soon we’ll extend even more and it can be more of a warehouse style. And then it gets even more exciting because there’s something for everyone.
And I guess the markets are slowly growing as well – they were just Saturday and Sunday and now they’re Wed-Sun. It’s really cool to have a little retail hub in West End.
Allie: Have there been some interesting items brought into SWOP that you can tell me about?
Brigid: There was a really crazy matching outfit to a gold and silver sequinned jumpsuit – it was high shoulder pads and this crazy hip on it. Some people bring in some great costumes, there’s been some beautiful 60s style psychedelic pieces. But then we also get items from places like Tree of Life and resell it for a great discount. We’ve found we have a really great mix of everything and we do try and find things that are kind of on trend. It’s like a students’ haven because everything can be affordable.
Thanks to B&B for having me in-store.
Join me next week for some more fun around 4101
SWOP is located at the Boundary Street Markets and is open Wednesday to Sunday.