First designer clothes swap store comes to New York

·2-min read
A swap shop initiative for designer clothing will be popping up in New York in April.

The green revolution is well and truly underway. Global Fashion Exchange has joined forces with Walker Hotels to open the first "swappable department store" in New York City -- an initiative destined to raise awareness about responsible and sustainable consumption.

Picture the scene. You arrive in a hotel in the heart of Manhattan only to discover rooms full of vintage clothing collections and second-hand designer items, all available without having to spend a single cent. But these items aren't being given away for nothing -- before helping yourself, you'll need to donate one or several items from your own closet, depending on the estimated value of the object of your desire.

It may sound too good to be true, but that's exactly what's being trialed April 22-30 in New York, on the initiative of Global Fashion Exchange, in collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the Brooklyn Style Foundation, the New York Fair Trade Association and Fashion Revolution, reports the specialist website, Women's Wear Daily (WWD). The project also counts Walker Hotels among its partners, whose Tribeca establishment is hosting the project -- taking over nearly 20 rooms -- offering a new kind of consumer experience.

"Our partnership with Walker Hotels is our first hotel partnership and furthers our mission to bring swapping to the masses, offering a unique opportunity to change how we engage with fashion," GTX founder Patrick Duffy told WWD.

Making fashion more sustainable, one swap at a time?

While vintage e-stores, thrift stores and second-hand stores are increasingly springing up around the world -- and have been widely tried and tested -- this will be the first "swappable department store" coming to New York City, one of the world's fashion capitals.

Anyone keen to try the experience can head to the Walker Hotel Tribeca from April 22 -- think to sign up in advance to avoid disappointment. There, swappers will discover curated collections of vintage clothes and second-hand luxury branded goods in each of the rooms taken over by the event. To keep track of swaps, a real-time tracking system called SwapChain will be used, also showing the history of each item featured in the rooms.

And the rest is child's play. For each item exchanged, participants will be given a token, taking into account the condition of the item, its retail price and the level of craftsmanship. The token(s) can then be traded in, like currency, for an item of equal value within the duration of the event, dubbed "SwapAteria."

Although the project is currently an experimental experience -- shaking up our current relationship with fashion -- it could form a point of reference for future initiatives while helping to bring swap stores into the mainstream in the future.

Christelle Pellissier