Clothing swaps online were popular during the last recession — but many of those online trading venues have gone by the wayside. Apparently the business value of clothing swaps is tenuous.
Still, all is not lost for budget shoppers who’d rather trade than buy. Read on for ways to swap your clothes, plus more details on those online swaps that have quietly disappeared.
How to swap your clothes
As of 2022, your choices for clothing swaps online are nonexistent. You have to think outside the box — by selling and then buying — or show up face-to-face.
Swap doesn’t offer a straight swap exactly. You send in your old stuff and, if accepted, you get cash or store credit when it sells.
Swap pays the shipping but doesn’t accept every item. If your pieces are rejected, you can ask Swap to recycle them for you. Or, you can pay a fee to get them back.
The prices are fabulous — you can take your pick of cute summer rompers for under $15 for example.
Like Swap, Thredup is basically an online consignment store. You send in your clothes and Thredup keeps the marketable pieces. The rest are donated or you can pay to get them back. Once your old stuff sells, you earn credits. You can cash out the credits or use them to buy other clothes listed on the site.
3. Meetup groups
If you’re willing to meet face-to-face with strangers, you can join a local Meetup group for swapping. Meetup has 27 clothes-swapping groups, with a cumulative 27,000 members.
The drawback is that the groups are geographically organized. Depending on where you live, you may have no group options. There’s also the chance you have a local group, but the members are predominantly different aged or different sized from you. In that case, you may not like the pieces your fellow group members offer up.
4. DIY swapping
If there’s no acceptable Meetup group, why not try starting your own? Use social media to round up friends who are as dedicated to style and good money management as you are. You could then promote your group on Meetup to gain more members.
4 clothing swaps online that didn’t make it
Maybe you’re the entrepreneur type who wants to revive the online clothing swap. In that case, you’ll want to know what happened to the swap sites that didn’t make it.
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Swapstyle was (I think) the first swapping website. Initially Swapstyle charged a membership fee of $10. Later, the site dumped the membership fee and replaced it with an optional $10 service fee to become address-verified. That verification was a trust measure. The point was to give other users some confidence that you weren’t a scammer.
The site also had a ratings system among users. If people had good experiences with you as a swapper, you earned points which were visible on your profile. (People who ripped off others were removed from the site and victims were compensated.)
Swapstyle was known for having higher end brands and a relatively large selection. The other interesting thing about the site was that it supported swapping and selling. If you wanted a used Kate Spade bag but didn’t have anything similar to swap, you could buy the bag for cash.
Sadly, Swapstyle has faded away. The Facebook page has no activity and, as of January, 2019, the website is inaccessible.
2. Dig N Swap
All swap, no sell, Dignswap.com had an easy, prominent search on the front page, allowing for a quick looksee. Scroll down from there and you could search by type of clothing/accessory, brand, or size.
The quantity and quality of clothes were reasonable, though the presence of higher-end fashion brands was more limited relative to Swapstyle.
In its beta phase, Dignswap charged a $0.99 fee per swap. Users managed their own shipping and made those arrangements directly with fellow swappers.
Based on WayBackTime Machine, it looks like Dignswap never made it out of beta. The site is now gone.
3. Rehash Clothes
Rehash was a true swap site. You’d upload photos of your old stuff and then look for pieces you’d want. When you find something, you can make an offer to the person who listed that coveted piece — which can be accepted, rejected, or negotiated.
One of the great features of Rehash Clothes was the ability to join groups. You could form communities of like-minded individuals with similar styles and interests. You might have built a group in your area or gather people who wore the same size as you.
There were no fees to use Rehash. You do pay for your own shipping when you finalize a deal.
In 2022, the website is still live — but you cannot login. The Facebook page hasn’t been updated since 2016.
This is an interesting one. ClothingSwap.com has a modern website and activity on the Facebook page. But it’s still not clear to me that the organization is still in business. The website describes the business model but provides no way to sign up.
So here’s a call out to the interwebs. If you know ClothingSwap.com is still in business, let me know!
What I do know is that ClothingSwap.com organized high-end, in-person swap events in higher-profile cities like San Francisco. Women would gather with their unwanted clothes, drink, and swap. Any unclaimed items at the end were donated to local non-profit shelters and charities to help those in need.