Swapping at Lily Black’s

Well, the ambience was perfect and the event was a sell-out and The Clothing Exchange team waited excitedly to start their first swap back in Melbourne’s bar scene. While the clothing looked lovely (the team sure wished we were swapping not hosting that night!) and everyone cosied up at the bar, there was a sense of greater anticipation than normal. While the event was hugely successful for most, it also signaled the arrival of a new kind of swappers- the hoarder and the stalker! The hoarders (of which there were 2 or 3 from reports) collected armfuls of garments and hold them hostage until they kept or rejected them, which is directly against the rules of swapping which allows any patron to try up to 3 garments at a time. This is a sacred rule of swapping that keeps things fair to all and we make that clear in our opening address. The stalker is a competitive swapper who sees a garment and hovers close to the entry of the swap waiting to pounce on the garments they’ve spied as the event commences. We’ve been scratching our heads, taking feedback from other patrons very seriously, and as we’ve increased our quality control measures and patrons have built their trust and donate generously, we think the stakes have been raised. While our May event was hugely popular, we’ve noticed a higher level of competition between swappers. While most swappers retain there relaxed and co-operative vibe, we’ve noticed a few bad apples are sullying the swap. So given our three years of swapping joy, of course we are going to act quickly. We’d rather have a happy smaller swap than include folks that aren’t acquainted with good manners. So we’re exploring a few ideas… we may introduce the ‘red card’ approach where anyone hoarding more than 3 garments is required to leave the swap for ten minutes before returning to swap fairly. This is a harsh measure… but we know how important it is to everyone to keep things flowing and fair. We’d ask all you regulars and swap fans to speak directly to anyone who hoards- feel free to say “are you trying all of that?” with a raised brow and that should be enough to make the hoarder give up their stash. We’ll do our best for sure – you will see the TCE team weaving through the swap so we can keep more of an eye on things (we used to stay away for modesty reasons!). While we continue to ponder this issue, please feel free to email us at info@clothingexchange.com.au with any suggestions. We’re very excited to be returning to Lily Blacks for Spring Fashion Week on the 2nd September and hope you all enjoy these special events- this one is a Frock Swap, just what you ladies need to brighten the wintery evenings…

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