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Get back what you put in

June 13th, 2010

Filed under: FASHION


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Ellie’s clothing swap party was a great success – the event organiser, Femke van Werde, said about 70 bags of clothes were donated and about 150 men, women and children attended the party hosted by Broet, on Strijp-S. Most importantly, there was no rain.

The principle is simple – ‘Ellie’ collects second hand clothes for charity, throws a party, makes a fashion editorial and collects the takings. Guests who donate their old duds get free entry; everyone else pays €10 to get in. And once they’re in, all the threads are up for grabs. Whatever doesn’t get taken is donated to Re-U, a charity that enables people who might normally be socially isolated to get involved in their community – they re-use the clothes to sew things like cushions, bags and even clouds (cloud-shaped cushions), which can then be sold. So everyone who comes to this event starts off feeling good and generous and ready for a fashion parade.

As for me, I saw lots of people I saw at the last clothing swap party (which had a different name Vod = Vintage). I walked out with 4 items of clothing that were trash to someone else, and even found something of my own that I’d actually had handed in last week! It had been pimped up at one of the stalls there. Now it has a cheesy but cute kitten appliqué and a few tastefully placed ruches. Ah, to breathe new life into a very old Sportsgirl ¾ length tee – who’d have thunk? The lady at the stall paused mid-beam and mid-seam: “What a coincidence! Well, at least you know it’ll fit,” and then her foot hit the floor once again as she continued to stitch some lace on someone else’s pre-loved shirt.

The fashion parades were geared towards the tall, skinnie minnies figure; thus, no luck for me being something more like a short, thicker goofy type. There were a few “festival outfits”; for example a lairy violet happy pant (with attendant 90s inspired geometric pattern) paired with puce string bikini top, purple scarf and straw trilby. Or say, the one-piece swimsuit matched with the jumper worn as trousers – very MC Hammer. A teeny weenny polka dot dress that would look like a t-shirt on me was squealed for – and won – by a 10 year old lass.  Patrons once more screamed/yelled/cheered to “ win” their favourite outfit. There was a “shop” where patrons could go in and take 2 – 3 pieces when they visited. But I’ve got contacts. I got four garments. There was no shortage of ways for Ellie to give away the gear.

The summer edition was an all day event, from 2pm until late, and not just an evening party set-up. There were many patrons there with birthdates in the 1990s and onwards (many as young as 6 years of age, in fact I think I saw a newborn there!) as well as grandmas and grandpas and everything in between, so a diverse range of people could join in the fun. It was a rare chance to see Eindhoven’s fashionistas in one location (it was so overwhelming, that the most I could do was point and gape), to hear some good old dirty blues music care of the Screaming Margaritas (with the moniker ‘Bikini Fatsos’ for the afternoon) and just to sit around and have a drink with friends, old and new.

Not a bad way to spend a spring Sunday afternoon. We’ll be interviewing ‘Ellie’ (aka Femke van Werde) about her philosophy and other creative pursuits sometime very soon. When I spoke to her briefly this afternoon she said, “I’m really happy with how the day has gone. The weather’s great, and even though the format of the day – being longer and everything – and despite that World Cup fever might have impacted on our numbers, I think we sold about 150 tickets.” (Too right – tonight it’s Australia versus Germany. Go Aussies!)

Keep going, Ellie and your wardrobe; it’s a great cause and a great event and everyone who goes there will get something good out of it. Looking forward to the next edition!

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