The Shwap Club Montreal

The Shwap Club Montreal is making great strides to give clothing a second life and reduce the risk of clothing being thrown into landfills.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Shwap Club Montreal is making great strides to give clothing a second life and reduce the risk of clothing being thrown into landfills. Image: Jamie D’Souza

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Shwap Club Montreal

If you’ve read any of my previous articles and guest blogs, you already know that I am a huge supporter of used clothing. I’m proud to say that at least 95% of my wardrobe is secondhand. Secondhand or used clothing is not only great for your wallet ( I recently bought a brand new Coach bag, tags on it and everything, at a secondhand shop for only 10 dollars), but it is great for the environment.  

Secondhand clothing reduces carbon emissions and saves on resources, water, and energy because it is one less item that needs to be made new. Moreover, secondhand clothing prevents old clothing from ending up in the landfill. Over 92 million tons of clothing ends up in the landfill every year. Donating or swapping clothing allows your gently loved pieces an extended life.   

Depending on where you buy your secondhand clothes (some thrift stores might charge more depending on the item’s brand), you may actually be buying less and investing in high-quality pieces designed to last. This is compared to buying fast fashion clothing brands that barely make it past one season.  

There is one company in secondhand clothing company in Montreal that focuses on keeping clothing out of landfill by swapping them. The Shwap Club Montreal is the very first boutique clothing exchange club in Canada. The concept is simple: visitors must pay an entrance fee (or buy an annual membership) and bring clothing to swap.  

The team at the Shwap Club Montreal will go through the items you bring in to trade and determine what they would like to keep. Every item they accept gives the visitor one credit. One credit allows you to pick any item in their boutique.  They only accept gender-neutral or women’s items that are trendy, clean, in good condition, and relevant to their community of young professionals and young mothers ranging from 25 to 40 years old.  

As of recently, the Shwap Club has stopped accepting items that are fast fashion brands (i.e., H&M) and will only accept items where the original price is greater than $25. The reason is that the company wants quality clothing to circulate and play a part in the circular economy. Since launching in 2018, the Shwap Club Montreal has swapped close to 400,000 items of clothing, and these numbers are expected to rise.  

The Shwap Club Montreal also opened a Little Shwap Club for baby and kids’ clothes. The concept is a bit different, whereby there is no entrance fee, and visitors can purchase the items at a reduced price, which ranges from $2 to $12. But of course, all the items in the store are secondhand, and they rely on donations.  

The Shwap Club Montreal is putting a lot of effort into showing its brand and environmental efforts at pop-up events and allowing non-members to trade their clothing in for some new pieces. I recently went to one and came away with three gorgeous pieces. There was so much to choose from: different styles, sizes, and brands. I really felt like I was doing my part for our circular economy.  

Buying secondhand clothing used to be regarded as something you did if you didn’t have money. Now it’s almost cool and trendy to wear something used. My best finds are the ones you find in a secondhand store or at a clothing swap. The Shwap Club Montreal is making great strides to give clothing a second life and reduce the risk of clothing being thrown into landfills. It is programs and businesses like the Shwap Club that will bring awareness to our clothing problem and help normalize wearing secondhand clothing even further.  

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