Fashionistas: Swap 'til you drop at a "swishing do"

Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:00pm EST
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By Andras Gergely

DUBLIN (Reuters Life!) - Like most parties, it tends to start with drinks, nibbles and casual conversation, until the guests suddenly start swapping clothes.

Invented before the credit crunch but becoming more popular as a free substitute for shopping and entertainment, welcome to swishing.

"Swishing dos" are parties where people swap second-hand clothes, following a few commonly agreed rules along the following lines:

Pick a date and venue, invite friends, prepare some food, let people browse the clothes they have brought while enjoying a glass of wine; at a previously agreed time, count down to the "Swish," and start swapping.

The website says everyone must bring at least one item of clothing and that no-one can claim items before the "Swish" officially opens. And one final warning which also reveals the gender makeup of most swishing parties: "Remember ladies: no scratching, spitting or biting!"

"People still love to go shopping and be glamorous," said Ashley Dow of London-based communications firm Futerra which runs the website and claims to have invented the term around two years ago.

"I think a lot of people have seen that this is a nice outlet to save money and still look fabulous," Dow said.

Futerra, which advises organizations ranging from the British Council to McDonald's mostly on corporate responsibility issues, posts upcoming parties on the website but allows others organize them.   Continued...

<p> is seen in this screengrab taken February 11, 2009. REUTERS/</p>