Birmingham, UK


In case you missed it, its Second Hand September! Which means that this month I have only bought second hand clothes to help reduce the impact of fast fashion on the environment. But I haven't restricted my shopping to charity shops and eBay, oh no, I've been looking for more innovative ways to shop second hand fashion! 

A couple of months ago I happened upon a fairly new online venture - The Big Sister Swap. According to their website "Big Sister Swap is the world's only online personalised Swapping service, letting you send in your unwanted clothes and receive handpicked preloved clothes in return." Sounds pretty good right? So I put the service to the test...

Pile of folded second hand clothes
The bundle of second hand clothes I was sent in my swap

How does Big Sister Swap work?

To swap your clothes you simply purchase a swap in their online store. You can choose between a starter swap, a 1 kg swap, a 2 kg, or a super swap. They even have a swap option for children's items, which is a great idea as kids are forever growing out of perfectly good clothes!

Once you have purchased your swap you will receive an email with the address to send your unwanted clothes and accessories to. Weigh them, wrap them up well and send them on their way to their new home. You will also be asked to complete a questionnaire about the types of goodies you want and the styles you like - this is the fun part. The questionnaire will give the Big Sister Swap team an idea of your taste but after that, it's up to them to supply the treats! After you've sent in your pre-loved items and finished the survey you just wait for your swap to arrive. This can sometimes take a while. 

a pair of black culottes and a green skirt hanging from a wardrobe door
A pair of black culottes and a leopard print skirt sent in the swap

My experience with the Big Sister Swap...

I ordered the 1kg swap, as I thought this would give me a good selection of second hand goodies. There was also an offer on this type of swap as there often is so keep a look out for deals! After purchasing my swap I completed the questionnaire which I thought was pretty thorough. I was asked questions such as my dress size, my favourite prints, and which styles I liked the best. Near the end of the questionnaire, you are also asked if there are any items you don't want to receive and your Instagram account so the team can get a really good idea of what you like to wear.

Wearing the black culottes

A couple of weeks passed before my swap arrived, they say this happens occasionally as they need to source specific items and sizes. This didn't bother me however as I'd rather they take their time putting my haul together than whacking in any old item in my size.

a black floral dress and a white jumper hanging from a wardrobe door
A black floral dress and a white jumper which were sent in the swap

On opening my Big Sister Swap package I was pleasantly surprised to see I had been sent 6 items:

- 1 vintage handmade dress

- 1 Monsoon dress

- 1 black floral dress

- 1 leopard print skirt

- 1 pair of Topshop Culottes

- 1 white jumper

A handmade dress and a Monsoon dress which were sent in the swap

Straight away I knew a few of the items weren't to my taste but that was the risk I took when I signed up for a blind swap service. I knew I had the option to return the unwanted clothes in exchange for other mystery items but in all honesty, I couldn't be bothered as it would probably be easier for me to just sell them on my own Depop. Would I have been happier exchanging them? Potentially, and if there was anything I thought was damaged or bad quality I would have, but the clothes were fine, I just didn't like all of them!

Out of the 6 second hand items I was sent by Big Sister Swap there are two that I will be keeping - the handmade dress and the culottes. Neither were items I would pick up myself but actually after I styled them up my way I quite like them. In all honesty, I thought the handmade dress was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen when it first came out of the package so I was surprised to find that I liked it once I tried it on.

Wearing the handmade dress

Would I do a second hand swapping service again?

Even though not all of the clothes were to my taste I think this is something I would do again. Fashion is all about having fun and trying new things, and actually doing a swap like this was fun! Yes its a risk as you might end up with a haul of pre-loved clothes you hate, but you always have the option to send them back for more mystery items so you can't lose really!

Would you ever try a second hand swapping service like this?

Thanks for reading!

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