Many students will be familiar with Cinema & Co. in town – a versatile space that acts as a cafe, bar, gallery, independent film house and live venue. Now, they can add eco-conscious fashion to that list, as manager Anna Redfern organised their first ever Clothes Swap event earlier this year.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into the venue that evening, but the complimentary Buck’s Fizz, crisps and snacks offered at the door certainly helped me to relax. The atmosphere was warm and friendly, and although everyone seemed excited, there was also a sense of uncertainty: this was the company’s first attempt at an event of this kind and guests weren’t sure how the night would unfold.
It’s safe to say our expectations were exceeded. The doors opened and we walked into the larger space to find our donated clothes hung up on rails and folded on chests of drawers interspersed with fairy lights. In the promotion of the event it was stated that we should each bring at least five items of clothing, but all the guests surpassed this minimum and there was a lot to choose from.
There were no restrictions on how many items we were allowed to take home, so there was quite a rush as guests swooped in to pull clothes from the rail and try them on. My main concern was that I’d struggle to find things that fit me – at 5’1 I struggle even in normal high street stores. I actually came away with about four or five items, including a Tommy Hilfiger polo shirt and a beautiful summery Laura Ashley maxi-skirt. They’d clearly thought of this issue when organising the event, because Tasha from Sew Swansea and Nancy from Swansea Remakery were available to make small alterations or demonstrate techniques for redesigning clothes at home. It’s incredible that all this was provided for the cost of a £3 ticket.
I got a chance to talk to Anna Redfern before I left, and she explained that the idea came from an urge to encourage recycling and reducing waste in our perception of style and fashion. Certainly, I was very happy for the opportunity to get rid of some old clothes I’d been hoarding at the back of my wardrobe, and I was delighted to see other people picking up items I had brought with me. Following the success of this first attempt, Cinema & Co. are hoping to make the Clothes Swap a bi-annual event, so keep an eye out for the next one.