On September 18, over 20 yoginis gathered and unfolded some once-loved items from their wardrobes onto the Earth studio floor. As each yogini arrived, the ground sank deeper beneath layers of merino, cotton blends, silks and gabardines. As with layers of fossils, these stratified cloth mounds contained eons of personal history; the memories worn into each cardigan, skirt, or shirt sat lay waiting to be passed on. There was scarcely space to plant two feet or sit indian style, but we cozied up on this couture carpet supplied by our community and began to ‘swap’.
So how does a room full of females and stylish clothes attempt to sort out who goes home with a coveted knit sweater or khaki dress? Quite tranquilly, actually! Perhaps in the retail wilderness you’ve seen teeth gnashed or hair torn, but at Tranquil Space’s ChariTea Swap Shop, there were only sisterly smiles and encouraging bits of fashion advice as we spent the afternoon playing dress up together. We took turns auctioning the items and letting the most giddy or most harmonious fit strut it out. No walk offs were necessary, although next time perhaps we will encourage them. Each of us walked home with some new-to-us items and the memories and experiences woven into them, turning a fall wardrobe cleanse into a fun and purposeful event.
As I’ve been doing swaps with friends for several years, I’ve come to enjoy the gatherings and the lingering reminder of the donor as much as the articles of clothing I’ve received. Each time I wear something from a swap, I enjoy sharing my secondhand savvy with others and proudly remark on how – and who – I got this new fashion from.
Our ChariTea Swap raised money for My Sister’s Place and the remaining clothes were donated to the ladies of N Street Village. If you missed this event but wanted to come, let us know by commenting so we can try to place a spring swap on the Tranquil Space calendar!