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Hundreds attend Women’s BiAnnual Clothing Swap at The Artery

Illustration of clothing. Photo provided by pixabay.

Shopping is better when the clothes are free.

This Saturday, women flooded into the top floor art space of the Fort Collins Downtown Artery for the third BiAnnual Women’s Clothing Swap from 2 p.m. t0 5 p.m.

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Women were encouraged to clean out their closets for the new fall season and bring all unwanted clothing and accessories to the swap in bins and bags, including jewelry, dresses, bras, maternity items, shoes, purses and more.

Once inside, participants sorted their items according to various tables throughout the space, labeled with big red signs hanging from the ceiling. From there, it was free for all. Everything was for the taking, and everything was absolutely free.

Teddi Parker, host and self-desrcibed “birthing mother” of the swap, welcome every women individually a the door. The event, which gained momentum via Facebook, was highly anticipated with over 1,200 women interested in attending. Hundreds of women showed up, and Teddi said the event keeps growing each season.

“We have been at the Artery three times now,” Parker said. “And we moved upstairs hoping we would have more space, but we are just going to have to go bigger next year. I am an artist, so I have used this space for art. Everyone here is so great and so helpful, so it has been a really great place to be. I just do not know if we can do it here again, unfortunately.” 

The idea for the clothing swap came from Parker’s passion for thrifting. Originally, she swapped clothing with ladies at her church. When she wanted to go bigger, the Artery offered the space to fulfill her dreams for free.

“I’m such a thrifter at heart, and maybe too frugal,” Parker said. “For me, double digits on clothing is intimidating. Thrift stores are great, and we are focused on the whole, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ concept. So at first, we just did it with friends, and it worked for a while, and then I just kept hearing about more and more ladies liking it and wanting to do it.”

Participant Amanda Wissland came to the clothing swap bearing her 8-month-old baby, Ryland, in a wrap around her mid-section. Women of all ages attended the event, so many moms were present with their infant children.

“This is my second time coming to one of these, and the event is pretty special because as you can see, women of all shapes, sizes and ages show up, and everyone is polite, despite how hectic it is in here,” Wissland said. “Seeing other babies makes it even more fun. I love seeing other moms in action. Every time I come, I am happy with who shows up.” 

Although attendees were diverse, all shared the common interest of finding clothing at a thrifty price. For attendee Emily Gersbeck, Saturday marked he first time attending a swap.

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“This event it awesome, I enjoy it a lot,” Gersbeck said. “All my great purchases are oftentimes second-hand stuff, so my favorite clothing is often second-hand. I love the fact that you can drop off your clothes and come away with clothes for no cost. And, the change-over rate is so quick, so there is always something fresh on the table.” 

Any unclaimed clothing remaining after the event ended was donated to ThriftRite on Horsetooth and Timberline. Remaining bras will be donated to a group in Denver that Parker has connections to, and they will be given to homeless women and girls. The next swap will occur in April to align with spring closet cleaning, and will likely not commence at the Artery again for the sake of space and growing numbers. 

Collegian Reporter Miranda Moses can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @mirandasrad.

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