Love plus-size fashion? This sustainable swap shop is a must

This plus-size swap shop is a must for fuller-figured, eco-conscious shoppers

At IMAGE, we're striving to be sustainable in all aspects of our lives – and fashion is a big part of that. Where possible, we're ditching fast fashion for eco-friendly alternatives, such as charity shops and swap shops. These alternative ways of shopping give new life to old garments, breathing life into once-loved items while also reducing our carbon footprint.

But, the thing with swap shops is that it can be difficult to find the right size. For those of us with fuller figures, standard swap shops can seem uninviting – with the items we want simply being too small. That's where Sustainable Fashion Dublin comes in.

SFD, led by Geraldine Carton and Taz Kelleher, will soon host a plus-size swap shop in Dublin. Taking place on Saturday, October 19 at the Tara Building, the event will give fuller-figured women the chance to swap their clothes with like-minded (and similar-sized) fashion-lovers.



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"We are hell-bent on making sustainable fashion an appealing and accessible prospect for all, regardless of age, gender and size," said Geraldine and Taz. "However, one thing we've been hearing more and more from our community was the difficulty that people with bigger bodies can have when it comes to finding gorgeous, fashionable clothes in swap shops, charity shops and vintage shops.

"With this in mind, we've decided to organise an afternoon of clothes-swapping (and good vibes aplenty) dedicated solely to those big, beautiful bodies who might have previously felt excluded from the movement," they said.


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'Opening the conversation'


Not only are plus-sized women invited to bring their once-loved clothes to swap, but there will also be a panel discussion about maintaining a sustainable plus-size wardrobe, followed by an open chat about sustainability in general.

Panellists on the day will include journalist Sarah Magliocco, model Halle Steele and body image activist Louise O'Reilly – each of whom is making positive changes in the realm of plus-sized activism and/or sustainability.

Speaking to, Louise O'Reilly from @StyleMeCurvy said, "Sustainability is a really important topic and something which has been a difficult one to tackle for bigger sizes – which I’m hoping we can try to change.

"It’s about opening the options for curvy shoppers and revamping our wardrobes in a sustainable way."

"It’s about opening the options for curvy shoppers and revamping our wardrobes in a sustainable way. It’s been difficult as predominantly swap shops might be common among certain sizes, or charity shops and vintage stores may not always highlight the size options they hold. As a result, bigger women tend to avoid these kinds of situations to avoid disappointment.

"Opening the conversation and embracing days like this is really important and is a great step towards more conscious fashion within the curvy and plus size fashion world."

Similarly, Halle Steele said, "I think it’s really important to have a plus-size swap shop. I want to be as sustainable as possible in my clothing purchases.


"However," Halle added, "I find it difficult to find some sustainable pieces that I like in my size... So I’m really excited for the day that’s in it!"


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Tackling fast fashion and shopping addiction

What's more, Sarah Magliocco said, "The Sustainable Fashion Dublin project has brought together so many different people with the mutual goal of trying to make a difference to the environment in the place we can see it most visually – our wardrobes. A plus-size swap shop is essential to be able to galvanize the concept of sustainable shopping to people of all ages and sizes.

"I think there can be a misconception that being mindful of your eco-footprint when it comes to fashion can be costly, but events like this prove that that's not the case," she says.

"Shopping in a sustainable way is key to establishing your own personal style as you actually have to put thought and work into curating your wardrobe..."


"I'm delighted to be part of the panel discussion during the event as I think a lot of people can relate to issues I have faced in the past tackling a fast fashion and shopping addiction – I would spend hundreds of euro each month on cheap, trendy clothing items but once I had clicked 'pay now', the buzz from shopping would be gone and I would be left with piles of polyester tat and plastic packaging strewn around that never really suited my style anyway."

Sarah went on to say, "I believe shopping in a sustainable way is key to establishing your own personal style as you actually have to put thought and work into curating your wardrobe, rather than utilizing the convenience culture we have currently. "I'm excited to help more people do that through Sustainable Fashion Dublin's panel talks and workshops."


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On the day

If this is your first swap shop, prepare yourself for a seriously feel-good event.

Attendees are invited to bring up to five pieces of clothing (which must be clean, undamaged and in good-as-new condition). These items will be hung on rails, allowing you (and all the other attendees) to browse what everyone else has brought (keep an eye on where your preferred items are hanging).


Before the swapping begins, Geraldine and Taz of SFD will host the panel discussion with panellists Sarah, Halle and Louise. After some follow-up chat, the swapping begins.

At this point, attendees will line-up in front of the rails. There will be a '3-2-1' countdown, after which, each person can rush to grab one of their desired items. This will be repeated three times until everyone has selected their top three pieces. Next, there's a free-for-all, where you can select more items from whatever's left.

Any clothes left over will be brought to a local Dublin charity shop (thereby ensuring the theme of sustainability continues).

For more information on this plus-size swap shop or to register your attendance, see here.

Feature photo (left to right): Sarah Magliocco; Louise O'Reilly; Halle Steele – via Instagram

Listen: Louise O'Reilly talks wardrobe clearouts and body positivity on Smart Casual


Read more: I’m fat and pregnant, and finding maternity clothes is next to impossible

Read more: Simple ways to make your fashion choices greener

Read more: Fabrics to avoid and embrace if you want to make more sustainable fashion choices

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