Maybe it’s the eco-fashion movement, maybe it’s the resurrection of vintage and the appreciation of thrift clothes. There’s definitely an underlying rejection of consumerism somewhere here, coupled by socially-conscious motives. In any case, we are all witnessing a surge of the greatest clothing-related event: clothing swaps. Toronto has its own enthusiastically-titled OMG SWAP, to which over 500 people participated in during their last swap.
The next OMG SWAP is coming up this Sunday, October 10th at noon till 6 p.m. at Mercer Union.
Organizer Xenia Benivolski is an artist who cares about old clothes in a nostalgic sense, but right now she’s doing this for Sistering, a resource supporting homeless, marginalized, and low income women in Toronto. The leftover clothes will be donated to them.
All you need to do to participate is:
- Come to Mercer Union with clothes you no longer want, but are not stained, ripped, smelly or otherwise ugly.
- Donate $5.
- Take all you can carry.
There will be snacks, drinks, mirrors and music, and – most amazingly – a seamstress to make clothes that aren’t yours fit like they are.
Grab those garbage bags and start packing up clothes that are just taking up closet space!
text by Marsya Maharani
photography by Liana Schmidt
Liana Schmidt is a photographer whose work you may recognize from WORN’s “This Shit Ain’t Free” make-up column in every issue. Liana is also one half of Arianna, an art-duo, and she published an ever-charming book called Paper Dolls in 2007. Liana is a member of Toronto’s Mercer Union, and is helping organize this year’s OMG SWAP, a clothing swap where you can pay a $5 entrance fee and walk away with all you can carry. Watch out for expert hoarders – they may be violent.
You’re a part of Mercer Union, which promotes the production of art of all kinds. How does fashion fit in?
In a sense, fashion fits into Mercer’s culture because a lot of artists in and around the gallery can get especially creative with their clothing. On a more general level, fashion and art seem to influence each other and tend to be visual references from which we can look back on to define a particular time.
Can you tell us about the OMG SWAP? Why do you think it’s important to share and recycle clothing?
The OMG SWAP, conceived by Xenia Anemia of the Mercer Union board, is a fund-raising opportunity for the gallery and a community initiative; it’s also a great opportunity to socialize, cleanse your closet and find new pieces for spring. For a $5 entrance fee you can pillage a great deal of clothing and all leftover clothing will be donated to Sistering, a woman’s agency serving homeless, marginalized and low-income women in Toronto. Recycling clothing is an obvious inclination if you have ever seen the warehouses that vintage buyers pick from. There is a lot of excess clothing kicking around out there.