Fashion / clothes swap

Sustainable clothes swap coming to south Bristol

By emma gorton ellicott, Monday Feb 10, 2020

Formally a Thali restuarant, a new arts and community space in Totterdown is encouraging people to bring along pre-loved clothing, shoes and accessories to swap.

Inspired to make a change to the way she shopped after watching the Stacey Dooley’s documentary Fashions Dirty Secrets,  which highlighted the shocking impacts of fast fashion, Steph Todd has been on a fast fashion detox for the past year.

She is now encouraging others to do the same at a clothes swapping event at Amba House community space on Sunday, February 23.


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“I love buying clothes but I am feeling increasingly guilty about the impact of fast fashion”, says Steph, one half of the Amba House clothes swap events team and a Totterdown resident. “Clothes swaps are a great way to get that shopping fix whilst supporting slow fashion.

“I’ve been limiting myself to an item a month either from charity shops or Depop – it’s been really hard! I’m working towards creating a capsule wardrobe which includes selected essential items that are timeless and can be adapted for each season.”

Clothes swapping events are coming to Amba House arts and community space in Totterdown. Photo from Amba House

Combining her enthusiasm for sustainable fashion with her background in public engagements developed through her day job at UWE Bristol, Steph, alongside Amba House founder and artist Georgina Dawson, had the idea to co-run a clothes swapping event.

“George asked the local community to make suggestions on how the space could be used,” says Steph. “Having attended a few swap shop events, I thought I would run one locally. We wanted to provide an alternative, sustainable shopping experience which brings people together at Amba House.”

Each garment will be organised according to size and swappers can then try on pieces and exchange clothing.

Attendees are encouraged to bring along pre-loved and unworn clothing, shoes, bags, accessories and jewellery suitable for adults.

Pieces of clothing that need a little love can also be brought along if they can be upcycled and reused by other swappers. Any leftover items being donated to St Peters Hospice.

Dressing areas will be available and everyone who comes along is encouraged to take photos and share swapped pieces on Instagram and by tagging @amba_arthub – one swapper will win free entry to the next clothes swap event.

“We are so lucky to live in a great city which is leading the way with sustainability and slow fashion,” says Steph. “I hope giving visibility to these types of events will help open people’s eyes to the issues of fast fashion and provide an alternative way to refresh your wardrobe.”

Entry to the clothes swap is £5 and swappers can bring along as many items as they wish, with a one item minimum. A free glass of prosecco is included in the ticket price. The clothes swap takes place on Sunday, February 23 from 2pm-4pm at Amba House, 1 William Street, Totterdown, Bristol, BS3 4TU.

For more information visit

Main photo from Amba House.

Read our fashion editor Emma’s blog No Debutante

Read more: Clothes swap event encourages sustainability


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