This is How We Swapped It

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If there’s anything I learned this weekend, it’s that people love free shit. They love it. Even if it’s dusty and dirty and covered in cat hair and makes your eyes start to itch.

If there’s a second thing I learned, it’s that the GAP, Old Navy and Target’s Mossimo line hold the distinction of being some of the most commonly purchased, yet commonly discarded brands on the market. People, if you’re just gonna chuck all your GAP stuff in a year, why buy it in the first place? Lord almighty, was there some GAP up in this place.

I moseyed down to the Swap SF event at Cellspace at around 1pm to find a line out the door at least 75 people long. Everyone had bags of clothing in tow – and, get this, there were tons of dudes there. Not that I’m in the market for one. But I think this was the first indie clothing event I’ve been to in the City where guys made up at least one third of the population. So indie girls looking for indie guys, you might want to keep that one in mind for the next Swap. You might also want to keep in mind that the guys (and girls) you’ll scope here are probably into really cheap shit.

Here’s what the place looked like by about 1:30 when I got inside:

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Kind of like an old-school rave. Only brighter. And with more clothing. And not as hot and steamy. And I wasn’t wearing glitter.

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Holy schnikes! People were going cray-balls (as my friend Dawn would say) (that’s short for crazy-balls). Clothes were being deposited on tables surrounded by fiendish swappers who tore through them in seconds, hungry for the next installment. Many swappers were digging – literally – elbows deep into clothing until the piles of fabric on top of the tables began to literally churn in constant movement.

Here is my impressionist photo of the vibe:

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It was all sort of electrifying. I mean, here we were, digging through tons of free crap. Fighting like wild creatures after the kill for any shred of semi-functional clothing we could find. Unfortunately, most of the stuff I found looked like this:

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I’m not sure if you can tell, but that’s black velour with acid-washed denim accents. OH MY GOD. I was strangely fascinated and deeply repulsed all at the same time.
Most tables looked something like this:

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People were dropping trou and trying stuff on right there on the floor. I wore a skirt so I could easily try pants on if the need arose. It didn’t. But indie guys in search of indie girls, the next Swap might be your best shot at seeing a free and wholly innocent indie peep show.

After about 20 minutes of digging and finding pretty much nothing, my eyes started to itch and I started sneezing on my fellow swappers. One woman next to me turned around and said, “and you know it’s time to go home when…”

I agreed. But not before grabbing three items with garment reconstruction promise. I’ve been doing a bit of that lately.

And then I made my way out onto to the not-so-sunny street.

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