After the last lovely lady wandered out of Mode Marteau‘s studio on Saturday, laden down with a bag full of fresh fashion, I looked around at the other members of the Ethical Writer’s Co. and said, “That really could not have gone any better.”
I mean, really, it was perfection. The stylish Ariana of the online vintage store Mode Marteau (it’s where I scored this red dress) generously hosted the swap in her DUMBO studio. While it was pouring in the morning, by the time the first women arrived, soft sunlight was pouring inside the windows, yielding a flattering light for all the clothing.
A little before 3 pm (we had some eager swappers!) we let the first ladies in. They came with bags stuffed with gently worn items they no longer wanted, and hung them up around the studio, while trying to scope out what other finds were already there. We had to shoo them out and downstairs to the bar, which was running happy hour specials on drinks, so we could prevent swap-cheating and keep the studio clear and free! By 4 pm, we had run out of hangers we had so many wonderful things, the display table was crowded with jewelry, a line of shoes three deep flanked the wall, and the bins were full of accessories and basics.
Everyone gathered outside the door of the studio, about 36 ladies in all. (Which was enough.) The air was electric with excitement. We told the attendees about our amazing swag bags, and how we had handpicked every single brand to be sustainable, ethical, and I’m pretty sure in most cases vegan, too. All of our favorites were in there, including Weleda, Dr. Hauschka, Kahina Giving Beauty, Meow Meow Tweet, Juice Beauty, Osmia Organics, LURK perfume, John Masters Organics, Forager Botanicals, a free week at the Impact Hub coworking space in TriBeCa, a discount to Mode Marteau, and a little sticker to show off your love of the sharing economy, all inside an ABC Carpet & Home reusable bag. (Yes, we even chose the bag carefully, because we Love ABC Home!) We also announced that there would be two giveaways: one Instagram contest for a pair of recycled silver earrings molded from Central Park twigs by Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry, and a gift basket from the sustainable UWS store Magpie.
Then, we let them in. There was definitely some rushing, and it got a little hot in there. But everyone was really nice to each other! As ladies finished picking out their free fashion (well, except for a $5 donation at the door, which will go to the Clean Clothes Campaign), they came over to grab a glass of organic wine from Stellar Organics or water in a cute Susty Party cup and straw. It was a diverse crowd: every color, young and old, with professions including fashion bloggers, stylists, PR professionals, editors and entrepreneurs. But every single lady had a smile on their face and a full bag.
Some were concerned about what would happen to the clothes that weren’t claimed, but we had a plan. The sustainable online retailer Modavanti took the clothes for their Modacycle program, while Housing Works picked up the accessories and shoes.
It was an incredibly fun event. We made a ton of new friends, chatted with old friends, and supported the cause of sustainable and ethical fashion.
We’re going to have to do it again in the spring!
Photos by me (Alden) and Elizabeth Stillwell.