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  • ARTE.M Association

"SWAP Madeira: Recolouring Fashion with Sustainable Practices and REcolourAnti-Vogue"

Updated: Apr 5

Congratulations! Our first and certainly not the last swap party on the island of Madeira has successfully concluded, leaving its numerous participants with one question... when's the next one?!

Let's start with the problem... Madeira – a paradise island, where we usually wear quite summery clothes, often not getting out of T-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops... haha - depends on work, of course...

Costumes, fancy blouses, ties, and high-heeled shoes are not unfamiliar to many, but regardless of what kind of clothing you prefer... it's not about brands, style, or color. It's about how eco-friendly you are and how often you prefer not to buy, but to combine with imagination, new and old, textures, and styles... your individuality.

Not long ago, we in our paradise island had not even heard of clothes SWAP parties... what's that? A wonderful combination of a friendly gathering and an opportunity to refresh your wardrobe for zero cost... in other words, don't buy, exchange... bring your preloved clothes, those you've worn for a few years or even just a couple of times, and exchange them for preloved clothes from friends...

We set out to find a venue... and luckily, the choice fell on the Art Food Corner Forum - specialty coffee & brunch, with a brilliant location, tantalizing specialty coffee concept, and wonderful owners.

Coffee and desserts... mmm... yes, they turned out to be the "highlight" that true gourmets seek after...

Partners... they were the key to success.

Our beloved and most loyal partners instantly responded to our call... Madeira Friends International Community Association, GreenerAct, and ARTE.M artistic association... as always, guaranteeing the most vibrant, fun, and engaged audience... as a result, all our hangers were adorned with beautiful preloved clothing for adults and... yes, do it for kids.

And within three hours, dozens of friends visited us... despite the terrible tropical downpour.... Yes!!! To true eco-enthusiasts and sustainable fashion shopaholics, wind and rain are no problem.

We asked everyone to bring a few favorite items and set some simple rules... take one, leave one in exchange...

The main condition was that the items should be clean and well-maintained, and our portable steam iron and hangers came in handy just right...

Oh... how many participants were inspired by their new wardrobe... we even heard "I'll tango in this".... the only difficulty arose with choosing Snow White's costume.... the dress was too big for the princesses and too royal for their moms.... haha

The remaining items... we decided to use for our upcoming upcycling masterclasses... let me share a secret, soon we will hold the first-ever upcycling fashion show in Madeira's history....

But for now, some rules for those who want to host similar swap parties:

  1. Venue... whether it's someone's home, a restaurant, a gallery, or a school... it should be creative, comfortable, and fun... make sure to have convenient hangers, an iron, a mirror, and a place for trying on clothes... Music... yes, yes, yes.... all the best that fits the vintage theme... ABBA hits, Sex and the City? Or whatever is most suitable for your audience... you won't believe how the mood of party participants changes when they listen to their favorite hits...

  2. Establish rules - clean clothes, minimum and maximum number of items, party time... you could even set a small donation of a couple of euros, which can be used for complimentary treats and drinks...

  3. Prepare drinks and snacks... of course, considering that... spilled red wine can leave a mark on clothes if the owner is not careful, and oily cookies can instantly dirty hands...

  4. There's another question, what to do with the remaining items... there are options, we chose a simple one for our party - all the remaining items will go towards creating a collection of upcycled clothing, for a show we're preparing for in October 2024. Yes, yes, yes... our big secret, the crown jewel of our project will be a sustainable fashion show, the first of its kind on the island of Madeira.

Want to know more? Follow us on Instagram and stay tuned for updates.



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