Meet the mum-and-daughters trio behind Wakefield’s Clothes Exchange

Inspired by Leeds’ Clothing Exchange, Sarah and her mum and sister have been running the Wakefield Clothing Exchange for the past three years.

By Shawna Healey, Meta Community Reporter
Friday, 1st July 2022, 4:41 pm
Sarah with her sister, Jane, and her mum, Denise.
Sarah with her sister, Jane, and her mum, Denise.

The trio set up the Wakefield Clothes Exchange in 2019 after they volunteered at the swap shop in Leeds.

Sarah, her mum, Denise Armstrong, and her sister, Jane Wardell, have always been passionate about purchasing second hand clothes, searching for pre-loved goodies since they were young.

Having to shut down for two years due to the pandemic, the family started the Clothes Exchange backup earlier this year.

The family has organised the swap shop since 2019.

The swap shop, which is held every other month, will be held at New Brookhouse, Barnsley Road from 12.30pm to 3pm tomorrow.

Sarah said: “As a family, we’ve always loved second hand clothing. We were always rummaging around jumble sales and going through the racks at charity shops.

“We heard about Leeds’ Clothing Exchange which has been running for many years, which is driven by sustainability.

“We decided to pop along and see how they were running things, and volunteered there to pick their brains and thought we could do this in Wakefield. We set our swap shop up in 2019 and got the momentum going until Covid-19 hit.”

The swap shop works by people bringing up to twenty quality items which they can then swap for other items, with an entry fee of just £3.

For example, If you bring five items to swap, then you can take home five items that are new to you.

If you hand over more items than you select, then you will be issued with credits which means you can pick out more items at the next swap meet.

Every item goes through a thorough quality inspection, with Sarah and Denise, checking to make sure that each piece of clothes has all its buttons, no broken zips, bobbling and is of a good enough quality to swap.

Sarah added: “We make sure that each item is quality checked before we accept it. We make sure that items are not bobbling, do not have any missing buttons and there are no holes. We only accept clothes that people would purchase at a charity shop.”

The exchange is open to women of all shapes and sizes and includes children’s clothes.

Currently, the swap shop doesn’t include mens clothes because there is “less demand”.

Sarah also said that Clothes Exchange is a good way to get a new wardrobe on a budget during the cost of living crisis.

She said: “It is difficult for people at the minute with the cost of living crisis. If you haven’t got much money but you want some new clothes, you can literally pick out a new wardrobe for £3 every other month.

“The clothes exchange is also good because it means you are unique and you are not wearing what everyone else is wearing. You can get some really unique pieces.”

The next clothing exchange after tomorrow will be held at New Brookhouse on Saturday, September 3 from 12.30pm to 3pm.