Clothes Swaps are a great way to refresh your wardrobe without buying new. In our opinion, swapping beats shopping any day – and here’s why.
Cause we love ’em so much, we’ve been running Clothes Swaps regularly in Manchester since 2011!
You will currently find our swaps in Stretford about every couple of months, with occasional swaps popping up elsewhere across Manchester.
Keep an eye out for upcoming events on our website, or follow Stitched Up Swaps on Facebook.
Here’s how our swaps work;
- Buy your ticket in advance online.
- Bring along up to 10 garments.
- On entry, collect your swap card, if you don’t already have one.
- For each item of clothing you bring, you’ll get a stamp on your swap card. We grade clothes into two categories on arrival; GREAT and GOOD. You swap like for like, so a Great item gets you another Great item.
- Browse the rails and find some clothes you love – try them on if you like!
- Check out at the reception desk to get your swap card updated.
- If you have spare stamps at the end, you can bring them along to the next swap.
If you’ve never been to one of our swaps before and want to know what you’re letting yourself in for, have a peek at these Frequently Asked Questions…
Q: Can I bring more than 10 items?
A: we have a 10 item limit in order to reduce queueing time at check-in. So the maximum you can check-in is 10 items. You are welcome to bring extra clothes, but these will just be added straight to the swap, without being counted at check-in or added as stamps on your swap card.
Q: What if I bring 10 things and only find 3 that I like?
A: When you check in, you’ll be given a swap card with a stamp for each item you’ve brought. When you’ve finished swapping, go to the check-out area and we’ll tick off how many items you take home. If you have stamps left over, these carry over to the next swap.
Q: What if I have stamps left on my swap card, but don’t have any clothes to bring?
A: You’re welcome to come to the swap and exchange your stamps for clothes. However, you’ll still need to buy a ticket for the event.
Q: When do the clothes need to be handed in?
A: Clothes are checked in when you arrive – so just turn up at (or soon after) your allocated check-in time and bring your clothes. You will have your items counted and categorised while you wait, then you can head straight in and start swapping! 🙂
Q: Can you bring male, female and children’s clothing?
A: Our swaps are open to all genders. Please note that at the moment we are not swapping children’s clothes, only adults.
Q: Can you bring maternity clothes?
A: Yes you can, although we don’t currently get much in, so if you were wanting to swap maternity for maternity there might not be the biggest choice.
Q: ARE vintage clothes accepted?
A: Of course – vintage and designer clothes go into our ‘Great’ category. High street clothes and everything else goes into the ‘Good’ category. Only Great stamps can be swapped for Great clothes.
Q: Can you bring accessories?
A: Yes, accessories like bags, hats and pairs of shoes can all be brought along. A bag or a pair of shoes would count as one item. We don’t take smaller items like jewellery.
Q: IS THERE ANY GARMENT I CAN’T BRING?
A: We do not accept items that have damage, holes, stains, look worn or misshapen or have pet hair on them. All items will be inspected at check-in and only those meeting our quality standards will be accepted. We have a recycling bin for clothes that can’t be swapped but that you no longer want. We don’t accept underwear, but sportswear is welcome.
Q: What happens to all the clothes left over at the end?
A: We keep back a small selection of clothing as stock for the next event. Everything else gets sorted and donated to our partners Refugee Aid Chorlton. Anything unsuitable for them goes to our local charity shops. Some items that are past wearing get upcycled in our workshops.
Q: Do you have details of what’s considered Good and Great?
A: Our Great category is for designer, vintage and high-end high street brands. Good is for your more bog-standard high street brands. You can see our current list here. If you see a brand missing from the list, let us know – we update the list regularly.
Q: Can I trade ‘Good’ stamps for ‘Great’ items?
A: The idea behind our grading system is that you trade like for like – so if you bring a high end item, you can trade it for another of similar value. We do allow you to ‘swap up’ by trading two Good tokens for one Great item, but you can only do this once per swap.
Q: Do you have many plus sized clothes? I am size 16 to 18 but I’ve been to clothes swaps before and found mostly size 8 and 10.
A: We agree that this is an issue. We are working on increasing our range of clothing from size 16-24 – we currently buy in extra stock in these sizes from Refugee Aid Chorlton. As well as making our swaps better, this generates funds for a great cause.
Q: Do you have wheelchair access?
A: Yes! We make every effort to ensure that all our venues are fully wheelchair accessible with an accessible toilet. If this is ever not the case, it will be clearly stated in the event information on our website.
Q: Do you sell refreshments?
A: Previously, we have sold tea, coffe and cake with all proceeds donated to Labour Behind the Label. However, we have not yet reintroduced this since Covid-19. Please do let us know if you’d like to see Digni-tea and Cake return!
Q: Is there somewhere to try clothes on?
A: Yes, changing facilities vary from venue to venue, but we usually we have a small room or a screen with mirrors where you can try things on. If you’d prefer more privacy, you are welcome to try clothes on in the bathroom.
Q: If I don’t find any clothes that I like, can I take my own clothes back again?
A: When you check in, we’ll take the clothes you’ve brought and add them to the rails. If you want to take back something that you’ve brought with you, you are welcome to do that – if you can find it!
Q: Do I have to buy a ticket in advance?
A: Yes – all our swaps are currently advance tickets only. Please make sure to arrive at your designated check-in time, which you choose at the time of booking.
Q: MY FRIEND WANTS TO COME WITH ME TO SEE HOW IT WORKS, BUT NOT SWAP. DO THEY need to pay for a ticket?
A: Yes, they do – entry to the swap is by paid advance ticket only.
Q: What is the latest I can arrive?
A: Each swap runs for 90 minutes. You can arrive later than your designated check-in time, but the later you arrive, the less swap time you get. We’d suggest arriving right on time!
Q: Do you offer any discounted tickets?
A: We offer discounted early bird tickets for every event, which are available on a first-come-first-served basis. Volunteers can swap clothes in exchange for around four hours helping out at the event. If you’re interested in joining our volunteer team, get in touch!
Do you have anther question that hasn’t been answered above? Great, we’re collecting them! Pop us an email and we’ll add it in.
We look forward to seeing you amongst the swap rails soon!
Stitched Up x