Charity clothing swap uber way to refresh wardrobe

Amy Tipton walked into Queen Street East Presbyterian Church with one goal: to prepare her wardrobe for the coming warmer weather.

“I figured I should revamp for the coming season and I found some pretty great vintage dresses,” the 24-year-old said.

On Jan. 21, Uber-SWAP — a vintage and used clothing event that happens four times a year and attracts about 100 people each time — had people lining up down the east entrance stairwell even before it began.

An early bird ticket of $6, coupled with at least a bag of clothes to donate, was needed to participate. Otherwise, the only way to get in was a $10 ticket at the door and a minimum of eight to 10 castoffs.

Items brought in were neatly folded and organized into categories like shirts, pants, dresses and accessories. After donating their share, participants dove into those piles looking to fill two tote bags full of old and vintage clothing to take home.

“We have everyone from tweens to women over 60 who go crazy at Uber-SWAP,” said Nathalie-Roze Fischer, the driving force behind the event. “We have people in their 20s who like the castoffs from older people because a lot of their older pieces are from the ’70s and ’80s.

“This is a creative way of recycling,” she said. “We’re collectively helping a lot pounds of clothing to not go into the landfill.”

Tipton had participated in smaller trades with friends but said this was her first time taking part in such a large-scale swap.

“I donated a lot of shirts and dresses, just things that I’ve gotten a lot use out of last year,” she said.

A portion of the entrance fees collected is set to go toward buying underwear and socks for Red Door Family Shelter and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Fifty bags of leftover items were donated to Double Take thrift store, located in Regent Park.

Kathy Webster, 57, has been store manager of Double Take for about four years. She said both the community and the thrift store benefit greatly from Uber-SWAP.

Webster said that Double Take’s two goals are to offer inexpensive clothing for those who don’t have much money to spend, and to continue to employ and help those in the community.

The next Uber-SWAP is set for April.