Clothing barters are not a new concept, but the idea of swapping—rather than shopping—has renewed appeal in the current economic climate. UK-based Whatsmineisyours.com, for one, has become popular among style mavens who don’t want to sleuth through the bargain racks just to save a buck.
Stylist Judy Berger launched the site in 2004 as a reaction to “throw away fashion.” As the first British swap website, Whatmineisyours has steadily increased its customer base up to the current 13,000 members. The company also introduced new services such as an online boutique option for young designers and vintage sellers. Business networking aside, Berger attributes the increased number of trades to the economic downturn.
Site users can join and swap for free by posting a description and photos of the clothes or items they no longer use, along with an explanation of what they are looking for. The more than 3,000 items seeking new homes currently include Prada sunglasses, Vivienne Westwood pumps and H&M dresses.
Similar sites are set to take off in the US, led by Clothingswap.org, which organizes real-life swap events in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Swapstyle.com, which claims to offer “guilt-free shopping.” Remember: one person’s tired old threads might be someone else’s favorite new duds.