Michelle Williams

Gloom is looming, credit is crunching, and it’s still too expensive to turn the heating on. Given the ever more realistic prospect that none of us may ever find the proper job we need to fend off the dreaded Student Loans repayment man, it’s time to be realistic about our spending habits. As term wears on and the overdraft inches out a spot further, it can be difficult to justify food purchases to yourself, never mind the whimsical wardrobe additions we all indulge in from time to time. Welcome to the world of clothes swapping.

With each successive financial low in the economy at large, the clothes swapping movement gathers pace as people latch on to the concept of satisfying the thrill of the new without the accompanying emptying of the purse. Clothes swapping is cropping up in various forms nationwide, with events held at a range of locations around Glasgow.

So called ‘Swishing’ events are permeating bar and restaurant venues throughout the city, and offer an evening of fashion based, ethical recycling. Each participant must bring along at least one item of quality clothing that they’re willing to part with, and may leave with as many as they wish after a presumably fraught countdown to commence the Swish.

If all this sounds a little too similar to an Ann Summers party for comfort, (Swishing rules conclude with “Remember ladies: no scratching, spitting or biting!”) then CovertCandy might be the place for you. This new website, created by Glasgow graduates and financed by their student loans, offers an efficient and convenient forum for clothes swapping.

Having shied away from the prospect of sacrificing my own, fussily maintained clothes under the pressure of trying to locate an elusive double coincidence of wants with a stranger at a swap event, CovertCandy solves the problem that blights barter economies by introducing an all important non-monetary medium of exchange. The user friendly site allows you to list items with photos, and other users request them for a credit price of your choosing. You are then free to build up your earned credits in order to swap them for anything that takes your fancy — all the attraction of eBay, but without the financial outlay. Still in its early stages, the site shows enormous potential, and is sure to improve as membership numbers swell. Already, my flatmate has transferred her crippling eBay addiction to the site, using it as an online shopping nicotine patch in an effort to give her bank account a break.

Whether you’re attracted by the sociable, frantic aspects of a swap event, the guilt-free shopping experience of a website, or simply the idea of clothes recycling as a way to fuel ethical fashion, CovertCandy could be right when they predict the movement as heralding a clothing revolution.



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