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Sanjida O'Connell

Dr Sanjida O'Connell is a writer and a TV presenter. Sanjida writes about science and green issues. Her latest novel, The Naked Name of Love, was published by John Murray in March. Her latest TV series was on BBC 2: Nature's Top 40, and was a guide to our top British wildlife spectacles. Find more details about Sanjida's work at her website, sanjida.co.uk

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Eco Chic: Is swishing the new shopping?

Posted by Sanjida O'Connell
  • Monday, 14 December 2009 at 09:32 am

Readers of online green glamour magazine, Daisy Green, will already be familiar with the concept of swishing, but for the rest of us it sounds a little outré: the sartorial equivalent of chucking your keys on a party table. But swishing, apparently, is set to be the new ethical equivalent of shopping.

My next-door-neighbour (NdN) and I went to a swish in Bath organised by Posh Swaps. The idea behind swishing is to donate your clothes, update your wardrobe and have a fun night out. We were instructed to bring three items of ‘posh clothing’ and in return we could take home three items formerly belonging to someone else. When we arrived the clothes were laid out on tables, a bit like a rather random jumble sale, and we had half an hour to look at them before the ‘swap’ officially started.

About forty women crowded round the tables and NdN and I wondered whether our elbows were going to be sharp enough. I was disappointed – both with the quality and variety of clothes. When the count-down ceased NdN and I each grabbled one thing. Mine was a little black tunic dress. I also had my eye on a floral cardigan in a small size but saw it being scooped up by a lady with a large armload of clothes. “I just love the colours,” she trilled loudly, “I’ve no idea if any of them will fit!” As she was, let’s say, medium sized, I assumed she was getting the cardigan for someone else but thought I’d ask. Very politely I asked if it would be possible to try the cardigan after her if she decided she didn’t want it. She agreed and when she returned from the changing rooms, I approached her. “You’re definitely not having it,” she said, and proceeded to physically push me out of the way in her eagerness to get more clothes.

“Definitely a case of the ugly sisters,” giggled NdN, who’d been watching.

There was almost nothing left, so doing the fashion maths, I’m guessing people took more than they brought. It was all over in thirty sad minutes. I felt swizzed, not swished: I’d spent £16 on a ticket and travel, swapped a designer blouse, a linen jacket and a nice top for a handful of crisps, half a glass of OJ, a bag full of business cards and one squashed Quality Street and a Primark tunic. My suggestion would be to go to a recommended swish, such as Daisy Green’s Big Swish. But hey, apparently the latest craze is going to be vintage jumble sales held in bars with DJs - and rock, booze and frocks always was a potent fashion cocktail.


valeriecardone wrote:
Thursday, 21 January 2010 at 07:17 am (UTC)
Great, another good way to wise shopping. I'm curious about the swishing technique and maybe try it sometime. My fiance used to shop at mens clothing stores which are converted into thrift stores to support eco-fashion.