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The best swap shops in London

Update your wardrobe AND keep clothes out of the landfill at these swap shops in London

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By Lucy Lovell |
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London might be the fashion capital of the world, but the way we’re buying clothes is changing. Fast fashion is starting to unravel, and conscious consumption is taking off, with more and more demand for eco-friendly options

Here in London there’s a number of ways to get new threads sustainably, from supporting ethical brands to buying from local designers. But there’s one sustainable shopping trend that promises to be better for the environment AND your bank balance: the swap shop. Pop-up events invite swappers to bring along old, unwanted clothes and swap them for someone else’s pre-loved garbs. It’s a simple, sustainable way to update your wardrobe, and keep clothes out of the landfill. So hit pause on fast fashion – here are the best swap shops in London.  

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The best swap shops in London

Vintage clothes on a rail

POPlar Clothes Swap

Head to Poplar’s community space The Cabin for this clothes swap, where entry is on a donation basis. The emphasis here is on animal-friendly clothes – if you bring along something vegan to swap, you’ll get a bumper three tokens to find your new outfit as opposed to just one. On site, you’ll also find a vegan caé and the Brownfield Social Club bar (from 8pm, cash only) to fuel your swapping. The POPlar Clothes Swap takes place every month or so - be sure to check its Eventbrite page to register. 

82 St Leonards Rd, E14 0QU. Find out more here

Betsy's Closet Swap Shop

The first rule of swap shop? Talk to everyone about swap shop. The second? Bring the quality that you expect to find. At least that’s what Betsy’s Swap Shop says, one of London’s best roving swap shops, touring the capital and beyond with busy, bustling swapping events. Bring up to five pre-loved items to be exchanged for pieces, or attend one of their disco swap events and pay just £1 for a whole new outfit. Check out Betsy’s upcoming events on its Facebook page and get swapping. 

Pop-up events across the UK. Visit the Facebook page for upcoming events. 

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Andy Parsons

Queer Clothes Swap

As well as being London’s hub for sex-positive events, The Apple Tree is a regular ol’ neighbourhood pub, which hosts inclusive meet-ups like their monthly Queer Clothes Swap. The wheelchair-accessible swapperoo invites people to bring their best clothes to exchange in an LGBTQ+ friendly, gender-neutral and judgement-free environment. It’s free to enter, but show some support by buying a drink or two. 

Once a month. 45 Mount Pleasant, WC1X 0AE. Check the Facebook page for exact times and dates.

Swishing

I swish, you swish, we swished. If you’re going to get down with swap shops you’d better get a handle on the lingo. Swishing is the name given to swap shop events by sustainable PR agency Futerra, with the aim of making them seem a bit more, well, swish. They run a listings website, and the rebrand seems to be working; you’ll often find a handful of events across London each month. 

Events across the UK. Find out more here

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SwapAholicsUK

Get your fix in central London with this monthly clothes swap, funded by the North London Waste Authority. Bring as many old clothing items as you like (as well as £5 entry fee in cash), and swap them for the same number of pre-loved clothes to take home. The event, which takes place between 3pm to 6pm, also features a mending table, where tailors will show you how to repair and alter your treasured broken garms. 

Third Saturday of the month, 3pm to 6pm. 150 Ossulston St, NW1 1EE. Find out more here

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