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Find unlikely wardrobe treasures at Ipswich’s Clothing Swap

Empowerment queen Emma Willmann has shared her top tips for clothing swap first-timers.

If you are looking to revive and refresh your wardrobe and make some new friends in the process, there is no better place than at the Sustainable Ipswich Month’s Clothing Swap on 11 November.

A clothing swap is where garments are traded and exchanged instead of purchased, making for a fun and relaxing shopping experience that keeps clothes ‘in the loop’ as opposed to op-shops or ultimately landfill.

Personal styling and empowerment queen Emma Willmann from Statement Styling has shared her insights and top tips for those excited to attend their first clothing swap.

What is an everyday clothing item that is popular at clothing swaps?

Surprisingly jeans! I think it is because they need to be exactly right, and if you lose or gain weight they no longer fit your body. I have seen some really nice jeans on offer at swap events, from the perfectly distressed jeans to designer brands brought back from a European holiday.

What are the most sought over items?

Name-brand dresses. People see them as instant outfits and love the fact that they are going home with something worth a lot of money, for free.

How much of a ‘used’ condition can clothes be in but still suitable for a Swap?

The clothing you bring as a donation to swap should all be in really good condition. Ensure that your clothes are clean and not ripped or damaged, as we are looking for items that you no longer wear, but still have a good life ahead of them.

However, if you are looking to swap some vintage pieces then still bring them in even if they have seen better days as that stuff is irreplaceable.

How do you define a ‘statement piece’ of clothing?

A ‘statement piece’ is either a piece of clothing or an accessory that takes centre stage and dominates over the other pieces of your outfit. Think of it as the leading actor in a movie.

The other characters in the story are going to be there for support (and maybe there will be a brief guest star), but you don’t want them competing or confusing the storyline of the beloved hero.

“Sustainable Ipswich Month is a way for our community to learn from each other as we progress towards a greener future.

The variety of activities give residents many ways to kick-start their journey or be inspired by new and innovative ideas to reduce waste, reuse materials and help the environment.

This month of sustainable events and workshops is one of the ways we can learn simple and easy ways to make change and promote sustainable living in everyday life, all year round.”

– Environment and Sustainability Chair Councillor Russell Milligan

What’s more important when considering a style – colour, patterns, fit or mindset?

Mindset, for sure. Having self-awareness, knowing who you are and that clothing is meant to support you, your lifestyle and needs will instantly improve your wellbeing and help you reduce your consumption at the same time.

The second factor would be colour, because you can discount about 90 per cent of what’s on the market purely based on that. The best colours are those that suit your hair, skin and eye colour. If you are unsure, I will be available to help you find your best colours at the Clothing Swap.

Next would be the fit of your clothes, something that is vital but can be changed with some seamstress skills or a good tailor.

Last but not least, patterns have the most to say about your personality. So, they are all important factors that help you feel confident and empowered to be the best you.

Why are clothing swaps so great for the environment?

Swaps are great because they reduce clothing sent to landfill, give you access to clothing from all different places and eras of fashion (which adds depth and variety to your style) and they allow you to connect with other like-minded people.

The social nature of these events also naturally reduces consumption because shopping is often a masked attempt to fill an emotional need. In fact, I once made friends with a stranger at a swap when I came out of a change room in what was her dress. I got to hear the story of how she got it from an ex-boyfriend and had worn it to a friend’s wedding!

Lastly, what’s one piece of advice first timers should know about a clothing swap?

My best hack for enjoying a clothing swap event is to go with an open mind. The people who come home with the best haul are the ones who went for the experience and were willing to experiment and try things on. This is a chance to play dress-ups and try something new without all the pressure of shopping centres.

Clothing Swap – Event Space #3, 1 Nicholas Street, Ipswich City Council Building
6pm, Thursday 11 November

Be part of Ipswich’s growing circular economy at the Sustainable Ipswich Month Clothing Swap. As you shop and swap, presenter and internationally certified image consultant and President of the AICI Australia Emma Willmann will share her tips on saving the environment through fashion and offer styling advice on looking great for less.

Participation is limited to ages 16 and over to ensure the clothing range meets the needs of the group.

Registration is essential. Admission is $10 – follow this link to book your place, and don’t forget to bring at least five items of clothing to swap!

For more information and to register for Sustainable Ipswich Month events, visit

Sustainable Ipswich Month is delivered through the support of the following partners:
Ipswich Libraries, Council’s Habitat Gardens Program, Ipswich Waste Services, Ipswich Nurseries, Council’s Active Kids Program, and Garage Sale Trail.

Read more

>>> Council-first interactive program revealed for Sustainable Ipswich Month

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