Trendy Swap Shop goes into fashion
A new fashion swap shop has been set up in Belfast, allowing people to swap their unwanted clothes for something else.
Fitted out like a fashionable boutique with original artwork and plenty of designer clothes, all cleaned and scented, it’s the first charity shop of its kind in Northern Ireland.
Currently located at the Banana Block – a new living museum and event space at the Portview Trade Center in east Belfast – it was created by the couple behind the charity Another World Belfast.
Rebecca Bellamy and Connor Kerr originally set it up as a pop-up store during a trial run at Connswater Shopping Center in December.
However, it proved so successful that they are now looking for permanent premises in the city center.
Rebecca explains: “We designed it as a very nice shop with pretty mannequins and furniture, bright colors and beautiful artwork.
“Each item is steamed or ironed and sprayed with a pleasant fragrance.
“When you walk into the store there is a really nice smell, not like you normally associate with second-hand clothing stores.
“We want people to feel comfortable walking in, choosing clothes and trying them on, as if they were in a real store.
“We personally choose each item and we have a great mix of designer and big name brands.”
Each item in the shop costs £10, but if you bring clothes to swap, you’ll receive a card with points.
Each point allows you to choose any item in the shop for £5.
All proceeds will go to Another World Belfast, which provides ‘love packs’ of sanitary products and toiletries to the homeless and needy across the city.
As well as helping some of the most vulnerable people in society, Rebecca says the Swap Shop is also designed to help people lead more sustainable lives.
“The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world and that is quite a shocking fact,” she adds.
“Only 1% of clothes can be recycled.
“The best thing we can do, other than wearing what we already have, is to share what we don’t wear with others.
“We all have beautiful clothes that don’t fit us anymore or that we grew out of, and Swap Shop is a great way to let someone else enjoy them, while getting something beautiful for yourself. and also helping to reduce the impact on the environment.
“It’s a lovely, positive and reaffirming circle all around.”
Rebecca and Connor are looking for a permanent residence in Belfast for their Swap Shop. It will be in Portview until March 6, then will appear in Royal Avenue (former Tesco store) as part of the Urban Scale Interventions and Urban Forest Project from March 10-13.
Rebecca says: “People love coming into the shop and swapping their clothes, so we think there’s an appetite for that and hope to have permanent premises in place by summer.
“If anyone is interested in hosting our store before then, we would like them to contact us.”
To find out where Swap Shop will open next, follow Another World Belfast on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook