Clothes Swapping for MDGs 7 and 8


How to make development educational events 'sexy' to Young Modern Performers




Cake base


1st step – Brainstorming

After being introduced to the project “(re)cycle fashion” organized by the student organization 'oikos Prague', we decided we could organize our opening event in cooperation with them. In the past, the project included various events on the life cycle of clothes that consisted of clothes swapping, fashion show, lectures and an exhibition. All of these were done at the University of Economics in Prague (the largest business school in the Czech Republic), where our target group is also present. We decided that if we worked together, we could attract a much bigger crowd than just the students from the particular university.


2nd step – Choosing the date

During our first meeting in October, we set the date for March.


3rd step – Choosing the venue

We agreed that our venue should be a well-known place outside the university, so that many people could relate to it. We also wanted it to be a regular venue of our target group YMPs. Finally we agreed on Rock Café Prague, which is a club in the heart of the city, where concerts and movie screenings are held. It is a well-known venue among most of the club goers.


4th step – Program

When thinking about an event for a target group like YMPs that has not joined in events of this kind before, it is important to include some elements that you know they like.

We brainstormed about the program of the evening. In order to attract YMPs to the event, we wanted to make the whole evening about sustainable fashion and wanted to have more than just a mere clothes swap. First, we agreed on a DJ and a presenter. Then we came up with the idea of a fashion show with outfits created from the pieces of clothes people would bring. We wanted to attract a bigger crowd; therefore we contacted a few poetry slam performers that would give shows on the theme of clothes. This kind of show is popular among the target group. We also decided that we would like to have a short presentation of the life cycle of clothes.


5th step – Arranging the venue

When choosing a location, it can be helpful to go with one that is already well-known among your new target group. This way the fear of going to a new place is decreased for your potential guests.

In choosing the venue for a clothes swapping event, you should also have in mind its space dispositions. Before the actual event, you need to visit the venue and check what kinds of arrangements are possible. People will want to try the clothes on, therefore it is important that you have enough mirrors. Also, you will need to arrange fitting rooms or choose a place where it’s easy to try the clothes on. Another important thing is how you will display the clothes that people have brought to the swap. If your event is very small you can just put them on tables or on one rack, but if your event is larger, it will turn into a big mess. Therefore you will probably need to put them on more racks and hangers. If you do not have racks and want to hang the hangers on a rope, check if it will work out. If you put too many hangers with clothes on the rope, they will all slide to the middle of the rope, which will make it impossible to access the clothes.

If your action is bigger, it is also advisable to have a floor plan, so that you know where you are going to put which exact piece. We hired a scenographer who helped us arrange all the elements.

We rented folding screens and used one that was already in the club. The same went for clothes racks. We managed to borrow some for free from production agencies, and some we had to rent. If you are working on a bigger action, the clothes racks definitely look more professional, and as well, they are much easier to use with ropes.

For the opening event of the action, Marks & Spencer kindly provided us with 400 hangers free of charge.

Also, think about how you will arrange the changing rooms. With divans we set up some individual and group changing rooms.


5th step – Rules

Make clear to yourself on which basis the exchange will take place.

We tried to keep it simple: for every piece you bring, you will be allowed to take one home.

In the past, the organization that we included in this swapping, oikos, experienced that some people brought clothes that were not in a very good state. Therefore we decided to put a limit of maximum five pieces people can bring, communicating that they bring 'the very best five pieces' they do not wear. Of course, there are people that can bring 10 great pieces, but we decided we needed a fixed rule for everyone.

During the next two weeks, where clothes were available for swap in the club’s café, everyone could take as many pieces as they brought.


6th  Step – Volunteers

At the opening clothes swapping event, you will definitely need the help of many hands, and if you only want to use a limited budget, that will mean finding volunteers.

We contacted our volunteers through the 'Czech Republic Against Poverty' network that our organization, Educon, is a member of. We had our meeting with the volunteers two weeks prior to the event, where we introduced them to the event. Then we stayed in contact by email and phone.


7th step – Poster/promotion

Depending on your target group, ideas, and budget, you can decide about the means of your promotion.

We have been promoting our event on Facebook in the “(re)cycle fashion…pošli to dál!” group, which oikos has been using to communicate in the past. We also had our poster and flyer stand designed and printed. With the help of volunteers, we distributed the posters at places mostly visited by members of our target group, such as cafes and clubs in the center of Prague, business schools, and various other places that are attractive to our target group. Also the design of the promotion material was chosen to be in a modern art style so that our target group YMPs will directly get the idea that this is not an ordinary clothes swap, but a glamourous event.




8th Step – Fair trade & organic food

We thought it would be nice to serve something small that people can munch on in between events. Also, to promote the MDG 8 issues, we teamed up with one Czech NGO that provided the fair trade and organic food.


The whole action started with the 'Swapping party' event on March 9th, 2011 and continued for another 14 days.


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