Pop-up boutique for clothing exchange ‘very successful’

Monica van Leeuwen (24, master’s student Animal Sciences) wants to reduce fashion overconsumption.
Monica van Leeuwen at her pop-up boutique for clothes-swapping. Photo Florine Zegers

Positive response abounds during the pop-up Closet Swap, held for the second time in the Binnenstadswinkel in the Hoogstraat on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 February.

‘There is so much you can buy for so little money’, says Anne-Ying Telders, a student of Business and Consumer Sciences. ‘I also like the whole idea of sharing. You are awarded points for the clothing you donate. Sometimes someone has insufficient points, but others contribute. That is so sweet, seeing people think: I want you to have that blouse.’

Telders is one of the hundreds of people that visited the two-day pop-up clothing exchange boutique managed by Van Leeuwen. She aims to make the choice for pre-owned clothing items more attractive for a larger audience through this initiative. ‘At many other swaps, the piles of clothing are disorganised, and the clothing has been worn to threads’, says Van Leeuwen. ‘By choosing the boutique concept and upholding stricter standards for what clothes we accept, shoppers immediately see they can find quality items here. This way, I want to improve the image of pre-owned clothing and fight overconsumption of fashion.’

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Meeting spot

The pop-up boutique also serves as a meeting spot for students and other Wageningen inhabitants. ‘These two groups could do with some more interaction’, Van Leeuwen says. ‘Now, they are queueing together, talking, and sometimes even exchanging. That is great!’

Van Leeuwen is the initiator and organiser of The Closet Swap. ‘When the boutique opens, friends and volunteers help ensure everything goes well. In return, they get some clothes, a joint diner and an enjoyable evening.’ Visitors may bring a maximum of five items they want to exchange for points. The points depend on the quality and value of the item. A simple singlet will earn you one point; an evening dress will gain you five points.’ The credits the donors receive can be spent on clothes. In addition, they pay one euro per point they spend. ‘After all, we must cover our expenses’, Van Leeuwen says.

After two evenings of swapping, the expenses were covered on Thursday morning. The third edition of The Closet Swap is to take place in three months.

Shoppers in the picture

Belinda from Lunteren: ‘I may increase the average age, but I think it’s a great initiative. Everyone has things in their closet they no longer wear, but that someone else could enjoy.’
Anne-Ying Telders, student: ‘A friend advised me to come here. Its great, I just told my a friend of mine: there is so much for so little!’
Evelien Krijtenburg, student: ‘the threshold is very low and I found great items. Mission accomplished.’
Lucie Sovová, teacher: ‘I really liked it. It is well-organised and a great initiative.’
Roos Lenders, student: ‘It was quite busy and there is lots to choose from. That was great, I liked it!’

Photos Florentine Zegers

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