When I first received the invitation from Vanessa Erickson, Co-Director for the Calgary Chapter of The SWAP Team, to style outfits for the Spring 2012 Lookbook, I was very hesitant. My experience in styling is minimum and has been developed solely for my personal style. Who knows if it would translate well with other peoples’ looks, styles, or wardrobes! As a safety measure, I brought along Fela Dales of Fela Photography – I have always been a fan of Fela’s fashion style, and I was positive that Fela would come up with some fashion forward outfits.
When we arrived on set for the photo shoot on April 22nd, 2012, Fela and I were joined by Ashley of Lions, Lace & Lattes, Necole Hines of The Creative Mixx, and Glorife Simon of Fashionsign Magazine. We were given a gigantic pile of clothing and the task to dress three models - Misty, Chantell, and Natalka. Instead of competing against each other to showcase our fashion styles, we teamed up and became a Fashion Super Swap Team! Together, we styled so many trendy outfits that we ran out of time to shoot them all! We were all surprised by how many outfits we were able to style with clothing that others deemed “unwanted”.
Photography by Mark Derry
THE BIG DAY
On June 3, 2012, many anxiously lined up for The Swap Team’s Big Event: Take Off Your Clothes – Calgary’s Biggest Clothing SWAP at Hotel Arts. “It’s been amazing,” says Stacey Savage of The Swap Team. “We’ve had such a fabulous turnout. Our lineup, when we started, was out to the street. Everyone looks like they’re having a really good time.”
The advance tickets for the event were sold out. The SWAP team sold 130 tickets online, over triple of what they ever sold before. Savage continues with more amazing news: “We started out the day with just 4,300 pieces, which is probably three times more than we’ve ever had before, and stuff is coming in all day long. So, we are well over 5,000 pieces by now.” The event was not just for women. There was a healthy heaping pile of menswear, including jeans, sweaters, casual wear, dress shirts, shoes, and accessories.
One of my favorite additions this year was the cash bar on location. Everyone can have a little glass of wine, while they dig for fashion treasures. In fact, I bumped into one woman who claimed my swapped sandals as her fashion treasures – “I’ll be happy walking in these shoes!”.
The Swap Team event was also an opportunity to meet and greet the faces that made this project possible. “We invited our sponsors and partners to come and represent themselves, bring some promotional material, and at least have some visibility here. They do so much for us behind the scenes. “
“With the response we’re getting this time,” says Savage, “there’s no way we can stop now.” The next swap will take place around the beginning of June 2013. “It coordinates well with the Spring/Summer fashion season and everyone’s already cleaning out their closets.”
Elle Nguyen || Images Courtesy of The Swap Team