Here is an easy way to borrow your best friend's blouse or that dress you have always coveted: host a fashion swap party. The brainchild of Stacey Johnson, these canned parties are an easy way to build a new wardrobe and save money. Between landing great finds while swapping, Johnson found a few minutes to talk with us about her idea.
Westword: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? Stacey Johnson: I like to call myself a Colorado girl but can't claim "native" status, as I was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and lived in the Midwest for the first quarter of my life! I have been somewhat of a serial entrepreneur for the past fourteen years. I've successfully started and sold a handful of businesses, a fact which I am very proud of. Two of my brainchild's -- Details Boutique in historic downtown Littleton and A Paris Street Market -- are still operating today under new ownership. I love visiting both of these businesses and seeing them thrive! When did you first discover your love for fashion?
My love of fashion dates back to my childhood and love of sewing. My mother taught me to sew fairly young and I eventually found myself shying away from traditional clothing patterns and creating my own. I never pursued a formal career in fashion, and only discovered a particular passion for fashion, especially vintage clothing, when running A Paris Street Market and buying and sourcing merchandise for a couple of different boutiques. This love of vintage and textiles led me to design a line of women's loungewear (PJs!) based on the beloved Nancy Drew mystery series. I was able to license the vintage book-cover artwork to design Nancy Drew fabric, and consequently Nancy Drew pajamas, which sold in boutiques around the country for several years. Now my love of fashion has been channeled into fashion swaps and promoting "It's a Fashion Swap Party."
With the consumer emphasis on shopping, why are fashion swap parties the way to go?
Certainly fashion swap parties will never replace traditional shopping when it comes to acquiring clothing, but it can certainly be seen as a fun and unique alternative. And much easier on the pocket book! Fashion swaps are intended to be a clever way to assess what is actually in your closet, clear it of what no longer works for your personal style, and insure those pieces that you once could not live without go to fellow fashionistas where they will be loved and appreciated. It is also a way to inexpensively update your wardrobe without breaking the bank.
I would be remiss without mentioning the importance of reducing one's fashion footprint. And I am not referring to squeezing into a size 8 Manolo Blahnik when really a size 9 is more suitable. I am referring to how many perfectly suitable clothing items and other textiles end up in landfills each year. Recycling is just as important when it comes to fashion as it is when we talk about bottles, plastics, paper, etc. Fashion swap parties are a savvy and sophisticated form of recycling!
How do we plan our own fashion swap party and what's the cost?
That is where "It's a Fashion Swap Party" comes in. We have basically created a party in a can. Everything one needs to host a fashion swap party is included in "It's a Fashion Swap Party" -- from the party invitations to the cocktail napkins, beverage coasters, drink swizzle sticks, colorful straws, drink and appetizer recipes, a darling T-shirt for the hostess, and most of all a detailed how-to including tips and tricks for creating a successful fashion swap. It's a Fashion Swap Party is available for $48 on line at Its a Fashion Swap Party or at Wish Boutique in Denver.
Can fashionistas and swapinistas co-exist?
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Absolutely! In fact, swapinistas are fashionistas at the very core. Swapinistas are simply expanding their repertoire of strategies for scoring the best possible styles. Who doesn't want to "shop" their best friend's closet -- especially when that best friend has amazing style and fashion sense!