Monday, 15 July 2013

Dusty Fingers Market + SwapAholicsUK = Swishing Heaven!

On the 29th and 30th June, SwApoholics and Dusty Fingers Market hosted a super fun swapping event and vintage fair at The Pheonix Pub in Oxford Street. The Phoenix is a rustic but trendy pub in the heart of London’s West End with a massive basement in which the event was held. One side held Dusty Finger's vintage fair selling everything from quirky retro movie posters to swing dresses go go boots.

There were some really awesome pieced all of which were reasonably priced. For a vintage enthusiast on a budget Dusty Fingers is perfect. Rebecca (of Tribe Fashion) managed to pic up a  high-waist swing skirt for only £6.

I was very, very jealous. She said I could borrow it but we all know that I wanted to be the one to own that skirt outright. I cheered myself up however by snagging a pair of vintage 1920's accordian pleated shorts. See!

On the other half of the venue was the Swap. Piles upon piles of goodies. For every item you brought you could get one back. Naturally I bought bundles. I had ten items in total. The great thing about SwapAholics is their loyalty card. If you don't manage to get what you're looking for on that day, any remaining items can be carried over to your next swap. And your fourth swap is free. Now that's better than any old Cafe loyalty card. It costs less than lunch at Starbucks, that's for sure!

In the first five minutes of the swap I snapped up a pair of killer wedges. Unfortunately I mean killer in the literal sense that if I wore them I'd probably fall and sever my tendons killing an innocent bystander in the process. I made up for it however by meeting some awesome people and getting some awesome stuff. I got a Rolling Stones Crop tea, a poppy dress from Miss Selfridge, a denim pinafore and a sequin top. My stand out piece though over all came through meeting an awesome person. Sally Rohleder, a novelist extraordinaire was one of many SwapAholics baring all in the toilets, trying on more stuff. She gave me some great career advice and thanks to her I got these!

Hooray! Blue suede boots to make me feel as awesome as Elvis paying homage to Sailor Mercury.

It was more than worth the £5 participation fee. I am thoroughly converted. Prior to this event I'd shopped vintage, I'd shopped charity and I'd swapped with friends. This was the next step up and I am so glad that I made it. I am a bonified SwapAholic! It's social, sustainable and affordable. You meet great people and you great stuff, what's not to like?

I got a cheeky interview with the SwapAholic's organisor Diana Infernoo about just why she does what she does. Here she is (left) with Rebecca of Tribe (centre) with the lovely Holly Day  (right) another one of the chief organisers.


1.       Why did you start SwapAholicsUk?
I’ve always like to host community events that brings people together and love watching people have fun at new events that they normally would not come too or try. Swapping is huge in North America, back in Canada we had clothing swapping in large gyms and warehouses. It’s just a smart, simple idea – why throw something out when you can give it away! Our events turn into a little party, girls chat about what they’ve found, recommend clothing for each other, and are so happy when someone loves the item that they’ve brought. That’s why I love SwapAholicsUK, it brings smiles to people’s faces and when they say thank you I had a great time it brings a smile to mine.

2.       Do you prefer shopping in vintage and charity shops and swapping, to shopping on the high street? If so/not why?
I prefer shopping eco-friendly with charity shops and swapping because it’s so much more than shopping it’s an experience. I have so much fun doing it, the adventure finding something that you love, that you will not find everyone wearing, that has character. When you shop for pre-loved clothing there is a level of excitement because you never know what you will find! Whereas at the high street fashion, you know you are going to find in almost all the stores the latest trends in the same cookie cutter styles. You creativity and imagination expands with charity shopping and swapping with the mixing and matching for different items and brainstorming outfits from the amazing clothing finds that you come across.

3.       Do you believe that the high street will ever support sustainability the same way as swapping?
There is always hoping!

4.       Where are your favourite thrifty hotspots in London?
Honestly I love Brixton or Ilford because they are less touched then the rest of London. Also Richmond, you go to the charity shops there and you find amazing deals on designer stuff.

5.       What’s your favourite piece that you’ve swapped and/or bought second hand?

This is the hardest question ever! So many, at the swaps I always find what I am looking for. Like our last one I really needed office dresses and found two beautiful pieces. I picked up a beautiful Top Shop velvet dress that I wear all the time. These 1960s heels I picked up at a charity shop in Toronto for £3, is the item I get the most people asking about since they are really colourful but unique looking. So many treasures cant really pick a favourite, its like picking a favourite child.

6.       Some people shy away from second hand shopping, what pushes you to buy pre-worn clothing and shoes?
Realizing that we are killing the environment with our excessiveness and it needs to slow down. Also, I like to find deals. I like the feeling like I am saving money and not spending overboard thus swapping you feel like you are getting an amazing deal. You bring 37 items and can find 37 new items to bring home for only $5. It’s basically revamping your wardrobe for £5. And it’s a fun event, with live music, friendly people and fun extras like nail stalls and cupcakes.

7.       What advice would you give to someone who wanted to host their own swapping event?

Call us, we’ll help you for free!

8.       What is your favourite era fashion wise?
1920s and 1960s

9.       What inspires your own personal style?

People watching. Love watching people, must be the psychologist in me, but they give me the most inspiration on trying out different things or creative ideas in my outfits. If I see something I like, either I’ll try to find it and add my own style to it or I’ll try to make it myself. There are so many amazing fashionistas in London, my tube rides are better than opening a Vogue magazine. 

Make sure you catch the next swap! 
SwapAholicsUk Clothing Swap

@ Arbeit Gallery

Saturday 20th July

Arbeit Gallery
Unit 4 White Post Lane
E9 5EN
See that beautiful shawl Diana is wearing? Want one? Well she makes them herself and she'll make you one if you get your tail down there this Saturday! Hand stitched, you can choose your colours. She's so nice she'll even be showing you how to make your own!

If you're clever you can get in even cheaper by getting your tickets ahead of time at,

What are you waiting for?!