Clothing swaps have been a mainstay in my life for as long as I have lived on my own. Whether a casual gathering on someone’s patio or a ticketed charitable event, swaps offer so many good things: cheap or free clothing, of course, but also a way to experiment with styles without committing to a purchase. (And they’re a ton of fun and a way to reduce waste.) To this day, most of my clothes come from swaps, and I love looking through my wardrobe to see my convoluted style — from prim and proper to earthy bohemian — represented in pieces that tell a story.
Which is why I was very excited to hear about the ALT Queer Art and Fashion Swap happening this month as part of Capital Pride. Indeed, when the Fashion Swap was mentioned at the Capital Pride launch the room buzzed with excitement; organizers compared the enthusiasm to Black Friday (though, given the fact that it’s Capital Pride, I’m assuming people will be nicer!).
It makes perfect sense, this event, especially because it’s a youth event. As Benten Tinkler, who went to the swap last year, said “I think clothing swaps, especially for LGBTQ+ youth are always really fun and important. As people become comfortable with their identities and explore their gender expression, it can be really hard to replace old clothes with ones that fit the look you’re hoping to achieve, especially if you have nosy parents.”
“Clothing swaps can be a good way to get clothes without spending money,” added Benten, “and it has the double bonus of helping other youth who are looking to find the type of clothes you used to wear!”
Chris McKay also attended last year’s Fashion Swap. “I thought it would be a fun event in a queer-based space, and who doesn’t love new clothes? I also thought it might be easier to find certain styles and clothes that may not also be found in the men’s section of clothing stores. I mostly came away with some cute sweaters and a pair of skinny jeans.”
The item both Benten and Chris are looking for this year? Crop tops. They’re slowly coming back in style, but for those shopping in men’s stores, they’re still tough to find.
Meanwhile, CCV is hunting for skirts. CCV attended last year’s event, noting “it was different than looking for clothes at a store because, for one, it was more social. I also really liked that it was like a little scavenger hunt, because they were all unique items! And it felt better knowing I was re-using clothes and not supporting unethical brands.”
Rumour has it that this year’s event will be bigger and better. So pull out your favourite pieces that don’t quite work for you anymore, and head to the swap!
Capital Pride ALT Queer Art and Fashion Swap
Monday, Aug. 21
8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
2 Daly Ave.