Two young women laughing and holding lots of hangers with clothes on

Swish and Style

Swish and Style is a giant clothes swap where you can usually also learn a variety of repair or upcycling skills to give new life to imperfect clothes.

Research shows you’re likely to have at least six items in your wardrobe that you haven’t worn for a year. So what are you waiting for? Dig them out and swap them for something you will wear!

NLWA recently worked with OLGA to deliver a series of Swish and Style events to allow people in north London to bring items they no longer wear and swap them for clothes that were new to them.

As well as being able to find new wardrobe gems, they had the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops covering upcycling and mending skills, such as boro and decorative darning.

What’s more, the events were free to attend.

By swapping clothes instead of buying new, we can avoid contributing to the negative cycle of fast fashion, have a positive impact on the environment, get a great deal, and maybe find something completely unique that you won’t see anybody else wearing.

What is swishing?

A swishing party is like shopping - for free!

You bring clean, undamaged clothes that have been lurking at the back of your wardrobe and swap them for tokens. You can use your tokens to swap for other clothes from the selection available. Lots of other people will be doing the same, so there’s plenty to choose from. You might bring a jumper and a pair of shoes and you could leave with a coat and a hat.

So what’s the ‘style’ part about?

At our Swish and Style events, you can take part in workshops centred around clothing repair and alteration. Depending on the  event, this could be upcycling, fundamental skills like hemming and buttons, Japanese approaches such as boro and sashiko (decorative darning techniques), screen printing and more.

Where and when can I find a Swish and Style event?

14 Swish and Style events took take place between December 2019 to March 2020 in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest. Unfortunately, we have not been able to run any events since then due to COVID-19.Keep an eye on our Events Page so you’re the first to know when we are able to start up again.

What can I expect on the day at future events?

  1. Exchange your clothes for tokens
  2. Browse the ‘swishing rails’ to find unique pieces
  3. Exchange your tokens to exchange for your selected pieces
  4. Take part in the workshop, if you wish to do so

Events will be open to people living, working or studying in any of the north London boroughs mentioned above.

Events will last for three hours – but you don’t need to stay for the duration. Do get there early as admission is on a first-come-first-served basis. You may be required to queue for a short time while clothing is exchanged for tokens.

Before attending an event, please refer to the Terms and Conditions of Participation, which includes what to expect on the day along with health and safety and data protection requirements.

We will accept the following items:

  • Clean and wearable women’s, men’s, children’s and baby clothes
  • Clean and undamaged shoes and accessories like hats, scarves and gloves

Please don’t bring any of the following:

  • Damaged clothes, with holes or stains
  • Jewellery
  • Underwear, bath towels, bedding (unless unworn/unused in original sealed packaging)
  • Swimwear Stockings, tights and leggings

What happens to the items left over at the end?

Leftover items from events are either taken to the next event, donated to a homeless charity, or donated to TRAID. If there are unwearable items that have been left, then these will be recycled end turned into things like car seat stuffing.

Want to take part?

Get in touch if you are interested in your venue being used for a physical swish and style event in the future, if you’d like to work at one of the events, or are interested in running a workshop. Email:




Potato and veggie frittata

Published date
7 October 2019