We Swapped ‘Til We Dropped at the AGM

A post by Emily Kovacs, Marketing | Communications Volunteer

Mississauga’s lovers of fashion, art, sustainability, and clothing came out to the AGM’s Swap ‘Til You Drop event last Thursday for an evening of fresh deals, tasty refreshments, and an atmosphere that oozed inclusivity and originality.

For those unfamiliar with clothing swaps, here is an introduction. For each ready-to-wear swappable accessory or piece of clothing brought to the swap, participants receive one ticket. Tickets can be redeemed to take home any one item of choice. It’s an excellent way to reinvigorate a wardrobe without waste or cost! Sounds like a thrifty, eco-chic dream, am I right?

The AGM’s Swap ‘Til You Drop was organised and hosted by AGM volunteer and first time swap organiser, Kenny Manzano, with assistance from the AGM’s Engagement Officer, Tina Chu . Manzano is a fashion blogger and Business Administration graduate who specialises in marketing. According to him, the planning process was exhilarating and included contacting various organizations to get access to clothing racks, hangers, and quality refreshments. The bag-fulls of hundreds of quality clothing and accessory items on swap were no match for Manzano and his volunteer team’s stellar organisational skills; items were put on display as quickly as they came in.

At the end of the night, unredeemed tickets were put into a raffle draw for the chance to win one of three prizes. On the table was a gift card valued at $ 50 for Spotlite Hair Salon and two yoga passes worth $170 each to Moksha Yoga Studio. All of the raffle prizes were donated by the establishments themselves. Leftover items were donated to Goodwill.

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Originality was rampant at Swap ‘Til You Drop. A seamstress was present at the event to make custom alterations so that swappers could walk away with tailored pieces modeled after their own visions. A black puff jacket with great potential was modernised with hemmed ¾ length sleeves. Participants could take personalization even further at the DIY table where materials and creativity came together to produce one of a kind clothing. One swapper attached leather and chain link to the cuffs and neckline of a grey sweatshirt.

Swap ‘Til You Drop may not have been the AGM’s first clothing swap, but it was the first one to promote acceptance of self-expressions of gender so strongly! This inclusive event was completely gender neutral; clothing donated for the swap was organised by type (think tops, bottoms, and outerwear) rather than by gender and gender neutral change rooms were provided. Participants of the swap wore tags displaying their names and the gender pronoun they preferred to be referred to by. No one was excluded from the fun based on financial means; the free refreshments were delicious and clothing was swapped, forget about buying.

The fact that clothing serves as a tool for the projection and maintenance of a gendered identity is no secret. The “correct” wearing of clothing is heavily policed for that reason. This event removed gender from the clothing items, inviting participants to think about the category of gender and how it is enacted. If this concept interests you, check out the AGM’s current exhibition, Dhunia: Octet. The work of artist Dipna Horra questions human understanding of identity and the world. The work features sounds, stories and language as tools in humanity’s quest to identify and understand itself in a world of its own making.

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