Five dollars and a bag of gently used clothes. Fifteen dollars if you couldn’t bear to part with anything in your closet. That’s all it took to start building up a new wardrobe in Germantown last Sunday.
For fashionistas with a bargain hunter’s wallet, the Swap Shop, a one day almost free market at the Torchlight Collective at 42 E. Church Lane, was a dream come true.
Take Lauren Daniels, for instance. She fished into her bag and pulled out a pair of camel colored slacks; the material was suede-like. At that moment, with a pile of free clothes in front of her, the possibilities were endless.
The Mt. Airy-based graphic designer who describes her style as “laid back, but clean and modern” opted for the bag of donations and five bucks. In exchange, she left with as much clothing as she could carry, ready for alterations or inspirations.
“I also sew in my free time so I found some stuff I could chop up and use for other projects,” she said. “I think that we only wear 10 percent of our wardrobe 90 percent of the time. You know there’s stuff I haven’t worn in months.”
Fundraising in, and with, style
The Swap Shop event was the brainchild of the Torchlight Collective. It was held as a fundraiser for the community center located inside the Free To Be Dance Studio along Church Lane in East Germantown.
The economy, a desire to rejuvenate neighborhood arts and business and community building also played into the event’s impetus.
Joyce Doyman, a social worker in Germantown and one of the event’s organizers, said the event was also meant to inspire creativity and create a sense of lightness.
“To release the things that we have made use of and to create a way to build our wardrobes without spending a bunch of money,” she said, explaining that she and many friends were looking for fresh clothes without a steep price tag.
Organizers want to make the event a seasonal affair and expect to hold another day for children’s wear soon.
The left-over clothing was donated to two local homeless shelters.