The SWAP Team Sharing is Good Sat, 19 Apr 2014 04:21:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Diary of a Frugalista: DIY Princess Crown Wed, 19 Dec 2012 04:00:50 +0000 Want to look special this Christmas and stay on budget? Then this DIY tutorial is for you!

I will show you how to make a fun and sassy accessory: a wire crown. It will bring out your inner princess and will have all eyes on you at any party!

Originally I spotted this lovely DIY project in the Free People blog. I fell in love with the idea and decided to make a similar project with a few modifications.

What you will need for this project: wire, wire cutters, pliers,  and an old necklace.

I used Artistic Wire 18 Ga that I bought at an art supply store. To decorate the points of the crown, I used an old necklace which I found at a recent clothing swap.


1. First, make a wire circle that will become the base of your crown. It should be a little bit bigger than your head. Before cutting the wire, try the circle on your head to make sure it fits properly on top of your head.

2. After cutting the wire, wrap the ends tightly around the base using the pliers. Make sure the ends point away from your head: It will prevent them from scratching your skin.

3. Then, cut eight pieces of wire of about 21cm in length. These will become the crown points.

4. Bend the wire pieces in the middle.

5. Decorate the points with some beads. Use the pliers to twist the tips of the points to fix the beads.

I wanted to use the big gray plastic “pearl” beads, but their holes were too small. The necklace had also smaller metal ones with bigger holes;  there were precisely eight of them!

6. Bend the ends of the points to prepare them for attaching to the crown base. Try to not make the bent ends too small; otherwise, it will be difficult to do the next step.

7. Arrange the points symmetrically along the base. Begin with two in 180 degrees from each other.
Hook the ends under the base wire. Using the pliers, wrap the ends around the base wire as tight as you can.
Then, place two other points  in 90 degrees from the attached ones and repeat the steps.
After completing you should have four points evenly attached as show on the picture. Attach the other four in between.

Again, try to point the ends of the wire towards the outside; it will prevent your head from getting scratched.

And here comes the crown!

Happy DIY-ing! Make this Christmas special!

My blog:

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Diary of a Frugalista: Stamped Denim #comments Tue, 02 Oct 2012 01:17:15 +0000 When it is gloomy and rainy outside, it is the perfect time to stay at home and start some DIY projects!

Today I will show a sequel of my  Bleached Denim post. Let’s stamp!

My inspiration was these bleached-n-painted jeans shorts. I loved the idea of combining a bold black and white design with the subtle denim texture. The problem was… I could not do it by hand because I am so bad at drawing! What could be the solution? Stamping! Stamping is perfect for me. It is very easy to do, and gives a greater uniqueness and personal touch than what you can find in stores.

To my surprise, it was not easy to find good stamping accessories in Montreal. Some stampers were available at the art store DeSerres. Stamping kits were there too, but they were paired with a regular paint that is not suitable for fabric. Even Dollarama failed to help: I was only able to find toy stampers for kids there.

Of course, I could have bought the accessories on the Internet. But I did not want to wait – it was time to get creative!

I made a stamping inkpad out of a dish sponge that I cut through the middle. Small air-tight plastic containers from Dollarama became inkpad cases. The fabric paint was bought at DeSerres. Also, I bought a few floral and heart-shaped stampers there and got a bag of toy finger stampers at Dollarama.


At first, I did some sample tests. I diluted the pink paint with a bit of water and poured it on the sponge.  Then, I stamped the fabric and realized that- surprise, surprise! - results are better when stamping is done on a flat surface.

After stamping is done, the design needs to become permanent! The paint gets fixed by ironing for 5 minutes in cotton selection. Once fixed, the design resists machine washing and dry cleaning.

After waiting for the paint to dry, I washed the samples. Woo-hoo, it looks so cool!

Floral stamps looked pretty too.

Although I liked the resulting floral pattern, I wanted to make a geometric ornament with circles and rectangles. To do that, I bought an eraser and used its wide side as a stamper. The circle was made out of a finger stamper with the shape part removed.

The result was not perfect enough for me. The surface of the eraser side was too large, and the paint got unevenly distributed across the surface. The same happened with the circles.

After experimenting more, I decided to use the most narrow side of the eraser. It greatly improved the quality of the prints. Hurray!

I liked the brick pattern the best. Instead of the circles, I decided to use the star finger stamper.

Ok! So the pattern and the technique was all set! It was the time to prepare the shorts.

I bought a pair of jeans at a thrift store.

Then I cut and bleached them using the instructions I have recently published.

Stamping time! Making the very first prints was so exciting!

The left part was stamped with stars. Some stamps turned out to be untidy, because the circular edge of the stamper left marks. Another hint: to get a good quality print, use good tools!

On the back, I only stamped the pockets.

Before fixing the design, I waited one hour to let the paint dry.

Fixing by ironing was long and inconvenient, so I decided to use a different method! I baked the shorts in the oven for 5 minutes with the temperature at 300F.

(OMG, my oven is so dirty! Have not noticed before!)

Here comes the result! I rolled up the trouser legs and sewed them underneath in a few places. After baking, the fabric got some yellowish tint. The tint was resistant and survived washing, so I decided to pretend it was by design!

The view from the back. The flaps need to be ironed after every washing.

Stamping is cool!

A few practical tips from my experience:

  • Quality of the print depends on the quality of the stamper, so it is worth to spend money on accessories.
  • Do stamping carefully on a flat surface; to make sure the fabric was  flat, I put a magazine inside the shorts.
  • The fabric should be stretched and secured with pins.
  • Whitebright paint will probably not be visible on a light cloth; while choosing the paint, pay attention to what fabric it is designed for (darklight).
  • It is much easier to dry the paint in the oven than doing so by ironing; of course, it will work only if the garment has no plastic details or buttons.

This is it! Happy stamping!

My blog:

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Izu Matcha, our favourite shade of green Tue, 18 Sep 2012 21:27:11 +0000

Look for this sign when walking down Mackay street from the library!

Hello fellow Swappers,

Our exciting Take of Your Clothes – Concordia Edition event is drawing very near and we wanted to talk about a very special partner that will be present at the swap and ensuring that we are well refreshed
while we swap to our heart’s content – Thé Kiosque.

Located at the heart of Concordia’s downtown Sir George Williams campus, in the corner of Mackay and Saint-Catherine, Thé Kiosque is a trendy tea house that serves over 200 different types of brews from all corners of the globe, from premium toasty Genmaicha to the soothingly mellow blueberry white tea. It is indeed a refreshing change from the cluster of coffee chains on campus!

As a matter of fact, the founders of Thé Kiosque originally had the idea back when they were still studying in Concordia and couldn’t find a nice place to hang out and kick-back with a healthy beverage. “A good amount of people still prefer coffee in the morning, but we have this mocha nuts mate – a tea from Argentina with as much caffeine as coffee, yet the best part is that the mocha nuts have a rich and smooth flavour, along with the antioxidants of tea, which is extremely beneficial for your health” explains owner David, who solemnly swears he is not related to David’s Tea – a wide-spread franchise that vastly expanded into 50 stores between 2009 and 20011.

Thé Kiosque invokes the mom n’ pop shop nostalgia, yet successfully blends the traditional ancient art of tea-making with the modern high-paced lifestyle of today’s workers and university students. Many students have found that relaxing in front of a book with a hot cup of tea is an excellent way to savour the breaks between classes. However, speaking of savouring, did we mention that they also had a wide- range of mouth watering tea-infused pastries, iced teas and lattes? As their popularity expanded, so did the shop’s space when they opened up a terrace to hang out and announced plans to expand into more locations in the coming years in order to spread the experience and culture of tea.

At the Swap Team, we’re excited to say that our swappers will have that experience come to them while they swap! With sustainability being the forefront of our mission, we are happy to have Thé Kiosque
amongst us this year and sip on organic and fair-trade tea brews!

Check out their online store here

Follow them on facebook

Let them show you the intrinsic art of tea-making!

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Antonia seamstress extraordinaire at Take Off Your Clothes – Concordia Edition Tue, 18 Sep 2012 04:35:03 +0000 At Take Off Your Clothes – Concordia Edition, we want to give you the best swapping experience!

This time, we have a special appearance from Antonia. She will be there at the swap to do your on-the-spot alterations for your newly swapped clothes.

Antonia seamstress extraordinaire and bookkeeper by trade who always found time to nurture her passion for clothes.  It all started while watching her mother, a professional seamstress sewing yards of fabric on their kitchen table.  She picked up sewing techniques that would allow her to make some extra money for her family.  At the ripe age of 12 she took on her first clients, making alterations for her friends’ mothers clothes!  After nearly 50 years of experience lovingly repairing clothes that needed TLC for her community, she will be offering her skills & passion for this Wednesday’s swappers. If you need a little repair or hem done she can do it on the spot, so you can bring home your newly acquired outfits to measure.

Simple alterations would be FREE and complex ones are offered at a very low student price!

Don’t miss out!

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Diary of a Frugalista: Confession Of a Swapaholic Mon, 17 Sep 2012 22:51:40 +0000 Hi, my name is Nadya, and I’m a swapaholic.

Unnamed cotton dress found at the first Mega Swap event. It always gets tons of compliments

Just about three years ago I was a regular girl who was spending up to half of her salary on clothes. My wardrobe had trouble swallowing up all the stuff I crammed into it. My storage room contained two big suitcases almost bursting open because of the stuff inside.

My then husband hated Thursdays and Fridays. On these days, the balance on our credit card suffered severe losses.

But I could not help it. My girlish nature demanded new clothes on a regular basis, period!

Vintage jeans dress from 80s found at the YMCA swap event last year

Then everything suddenly changed.
One day I met Aleece (the founder of The SWAP Team) who came to visit a friend working in my office. Aleece told me about The SWAP Team and their clothing swap events. Shortly after, I participated in my very first swap.

A whole new world opened up right in front of me!

I got to exchange the clothes I was bored of for new-to-me, cool ones. I even managed to find some pieces that would be impossible to buy in a regular store.

That fascinated me.

Vintage dress found at the last Mega Swap event

I loved the feeling that I had while going through the racks and looking for interesting pieces. It was the thrill of the hunt and the anticipation of surprise. I felt like a kid in front of a box full of chocolate eggs with toys inside!

Then I began to meet people who found the items I brought to the swaps. I was looking at the things that used to belong to me … and I felt kind of proud of myself! The choice I made the other day when decided to buy them was greatly appreciated by somebody else. In addition, it was interesting to see how the others blended my former belongings into their style.

Divided dress found at the last Mega Swap event

I realized that I had started helping to save the environment much more than before. Instead of participating in blind consumption, I took part in a nature-friendly exchange that produces no greenhouse gasses — only a lot of fun!

Vintage dress from 80s found at the last Mega Swap event

My suitcases became empty, so my husband was happy. I got a great new wardrobe and saved tons of money!

This all made me very much addicted to clothing swaps. I recognize my condition, and I am very happy about it!

Suede shorts found at the last Mega Swap event

Vintage dress from 80s brought by Aleece at the YMCA swap event last year and found by me

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Diary of a Frugalista: DIY Bleached Denim Wed, 29 Aug 2012 15:13:12 +0000 This summer bleached denim is one of the hottest trends. Partial bleached and “acid wash” items give a wardrobe an unusual trendy twist, and there is no wonder why it is so popular. It looks very attractive!

But do you need to buy a pair of bleached jeans at the store? Of course not! It is a great DIY project which is fairly simple to do.

I fell in love with it as much as everybody else and decided to give it a try.

I bought jeans pants and a jeans shirt at Renaissance and got three bottles of Clorox bleach from Canadian Tire.

There are many instructions about the bleaching process on the Internet. However, it turned out that almost none of them reveal all the tricks and secrets. Still, I accomplished this project by trying, failing, and finally succeeding. Let me tell you my story of bleaching.

The original items: The jeans and the shirt.

I wanted to make bleached shorts.
At first, I put on the jeans and marked the new length in front of the mirror. Then I cut the legs a couple of inches below the marked line.

I folded the shorts in two and attached them to a hanger with clips.

Then I put them into a bucket with the bleach and kept there for about 3 minutes.

After taking the shorts out, I left them hanging for half an hour. Then I rinsed them in clean water and left them hanging for a night.

In the morning the bleaching became more visible (the picture on the right).

After unfolding the shorts I got an unpleasant surprise. I saw ugly looking yellow stains everywhere on the fabric!

It turned out that some cloths are not suitable for bleaching.

The stains can show up for two reasons. Some indigo dyes may give this unpleasant result. Also, the fabrics with spandex may turn yellow while being bleached. The threads of spandex cannot be bleached, and they produce this yellow tint while the main fabric threads are becoming white.

I tried to wash the shorts, but the stains did not get off.

Well, I had nothing to lose! I put the shorts back to the bleach.

I decided to bleach the shirt along with the shorts. The preparations for bleaching take some time, and it is more convenient to bleach more items at once.

This time I brought the bleach and the bucket to the balcony. The bleach produces hazardous vapors, and it is better to handle it outside.

I bleached the shorts for half an hour and did not rinse after. Then, I hung them outside.

Now it was time to take care of the shirt.

At the first I put the sleeves in the bleach. Then, I carefully bleached the body part while making sure that the bleach drops would not stain the rest.

Both items spent a night on the balcony.

In the morning of the next day the results looked quite good. The shorts got bleached very well, and all the stains had vanished. The shirt got a yellow stripe along the white part. It did not be wash out, and I put the shirt back into the bleach.

Meanwhile, I took care of the shorts. Plain white shorts looked a bit boring, and I decided to rip them off and to make a fringed edge.

While making the shorts even shorter, I left some allowance for the fringe.

To make a fringe, I used scissors with the sharp ends. I loosened the threads from the other side of the cloth where the weaving pattern was simpler. Loosening was boring, and I made the fringe only on the front part.

The holes were made using the same scissors. To make the edges look more “used” and ripped I used a sand paper.

I also made some holes on the back pockets.

After finishing the adjustments, I washed the shorts, so the sanded spots and the threads felted and looked more used and torn.

Here is the result!

As you can see, the shirt got a blue border. It appeared during the second bleaching, because the level of the liquid was higher. The border ate up the yellow stripe which showed up after the first try.

Here is an outfit with the bleached jeans shorts. They look great with a front knot shirt that allows to show off the non-bleached top part of the shorts.

Here I combined the bleached shirt with my DIY collar which I made this spring.

Bleaching was a fun project. I enjoyed experimenting and have collected all the information I needed. Now I want to share it with you!

Here are my tips for the denim bleaching:

- while working with bleach, use gloves to protect the skin on the hands;

- do bleaching outside, for example on the balcony, because it is hazardous to inhale the bleach vapors;

- use green bleach which breaks down to salt and water; read the label before buying;

- always dispose the bleach and water with bleach to the sewing system; it will neutralize of the any leftovers of bleach;

During the bleaching, the fabric can get a yellowish or brownish tint. To avoid this, follow these guidelines:

- bleach turns spandex yellow, so avoid bleaching elastic denim;

- while looking for a jeans item to bleach, take a close look at the fabric; if it is yellowish on the light spots, it will probably turn yellow after bleaching, too;

- sometimes some particular indigo dye reacts to bleach by turning yellow;

- thus, try first to bleach an example of the cloth; in my case I could have done it with a piece from one of the cut-off jeans legs;

- do not expect to get a pure clean white color after bleaching; if it is your goal, you should use a white fabric dye;

- the threads that stitch the item would probably keep their original color and would not get bleached.

This is it!

Happy bleaching!

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Take Off Your Clothes — Concordia University Edition Wed, 15 Aug 2012 04:29:31 +0000

Hey guys!

The new semester is here! Why not celebrate back-to-school with new outfits? This time, instead of shopping, consider….SWAPPING!

Who says that you have to dig deep into your pocket for a new wardrobe? You just need to dig in deep into your closet! The SWAP Team, North America’s biggest swapping clothing swap is coming to Concordia, and this time, the entire event would be run by none other than Concordia students themselves. With our partners, David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise (DOCSE) and Career Management Services (CMS) in Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business, we aim to create more awareness in sustainable clothing consumption among university students.

How the event works:

  • Clean out your closet, and set aside the nicest things that you aren’t wearing anymore and get them cleaned.
  • If you have more than 10 items to swap, then you’ll need to drop it off in advance before the swap starts. Otherwise, please bring no more than 10 items with you on the day of the swap.
  • Please download and print this label and place one on each bag of clothing you bring with you to the swap.
  • We will look over everything and decide what to accept — if it’s clean and, undamaged then chances are we’ll take it.
  • Every item we accept earns you 1 exchange coupon, valid for any other item at the swap.
  • Sorry, we do not sell clothing or exchange coupons. You MUST bring acceptable clothing to swap in order to participate.
  • All Clothing remaining after the event will be donated to Renaissance, a Montreal-based charity.

For student body from any university or college (please have your ID ready at the entrance): advance $5, regular $8

For non-student: advance $7, regular $10



Any day before September 19:
When: During regular business hours

Where: The David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise offices: 1450 Guy, office 6.325 or 6.323

What to do: Bring your clothes in a sealed bag and make sure to have label inside with your name and student ID (if applicable), and the total number of items in that bag. This is very important, because if we don’t have the label, we can’t know these clothes came from you!

Wednesday, September 19
When: 1PM – 5PM
Where: Molson Building Atrium (1450 Guy)


We also have special appearances from:

  • Snob Affair - a Montreal-based blog that doesn’t settle when it comes to fashion!
    Whether to put together a business attire, or to match up casual outwear, they will be there as your fashion consultant!
  • Thé Kiosque
    Aside from being a cozy hang-out place to study or chitchat near Concordia, Thé Kiosque will generously provide us with hot tea to refresh your energy. When you need a break from swapping, come try out the different flavours Thé Kiosque has to offer!
  • A special guest seamstress who will be doing alterations and fittings to the clothes you have swapped – on the spot! While the simple work will be free of charge, she will be also offering more complex alteration at a special student discount.

So what are you waiting for? Join us, have fun, and swap it up!

Lovin’ the SWAP idea and want to get involved in the process? Become a volunteer and experience it with us! Contact or for further information.


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Interview with Ethik BGC Fri, 20 Jul 2012 13:11:01 +0000 Dear Swappers,


We’d like to present Sonia, of Ethik BGC, a big fan and supporter of the The SWAP Team.

“My ideal customer is interested in the story behind the fashion pieces she purchases” – Sonia from Ethik BGC

Ethik BGC  is located at 6050 St-Hubert (map) and clothing donations can be made during hours the store is open, until July 22nd.

Location: 6050 St-Hubert


Tues: 11am – 5pm

Wed: 11am – 5:30pm

Thurs: 11am – 8:30pm

Fri: 11am – 8:30pm

Sat: 11am – 5:30pm

Sun: 12pm – 5pm

When would you say are the fashion world’s peak moments during the year?
The events we find most interesting are Eco Fashion Week (Vancouver), Nolcha (New York), The Ethical Fashion Show (Paris), the Source Expo (London)… and of course Montreal’s ModEthik, held during Montreal Fashion Week!

What’s your definition of sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion is a discipline that addresses the challenges of a planet with finite resources, and considers apparel and accessories as tools that make the world a better place.

Do you consider Ethik-BGC to be an Eco-friendly boutique? If so, how?
Ethik-BGC is more than an eco-friendly boutique: it is an incubator for ethical fashion projects! As such, we provide training, organize events to raise awareness about the importance of ethical fashion, and sell the works of more than 40 designers that are committed toward the protection of the environment and/or who support social justice.

How would you like to see the fashion industry change over the next ten years?
The industry needs to increase the value given to a garment. It needs to create garments that will last longer, and value good craftsmanship and culture over fast-changing trends. It needs to respect all of its workers, from the cotton-pickers out in the field to the shipping crews who work at the docks, basically everyone involved in the production of a garment. It needs to develop eco-friendly alternatives that will make fashion production less devastating for the environment.

How do you think they should do it?
A lot of what they should do has to do with what consumers are already asking for:

-Fair Trade Fashion

-Fashion that supports communities and empowers women

-Fashion that preserves local knowledge, here and abroad

-Well-made garments made from eco-friendly fabrics (recycled or organic)

-Transparency of the production process and traceability of the suppliers

What’s a day In Ethik-BGC like?
Busy! While we’re having classes in the conference room in the morning, we’re receiving new merchandise for the store. A few designers will stop by to drop off their merchandise for our next collective fashion show, all while I’m helping customers find the perfect gift. Once we’ve ended our sales for the day, the contact we had with our customers, designers, members and partner organizations leaves us satisfied with  the knowledge that we’ve done something good.

What designers do you sell in your boutique?
We have many international projects such as Bendita Seas from Colombia, products from Mali that originate from an international cooperation project, beautiful alpaca knits from Bolivia and so much more. We also have many local designers like Elladora, Sugaristik, Noir Bonbon and rien ne se perd tout se crée that use eco friendly fabrics. We have a wide range of local designers that use recycled materials as well: Trézor Éco, Ressac and Natalubies are great examples…With more than 40 projects, we have something for everyone!

What sales or deals do you have now?
30% off the original price of many summer items and we have a little surprise if you like us on Facebook!

Tell us about the history of your boutique. How was it founded? What was the idea behind it? How did u start working here?
Ethik was founded in 2009 by Lis Suarez. The idea was to maximize the potential and efforts of all the participation designers by working collectively.

What plans do you have for the future?
We plan to create pop-up boutiques all over Canada and create more and more collective fashion shows in different countries to allow our eco designers to get more visibility for their great work. We plan to make a difference.

If you had all the power of the world, how would you change the fashion world?
I would make all the harmful chemicals involved in the production of fabric disappear and then make sure that all the workers receive enough money to ensure a great life for their family. I would only allow the production of fashion that gives back to the community.

What is your favorite fashion star? Who inspires you?
I adore the work of Alabama Chanin for all the details and quality of their craftsmanship. On a more theoretical note ,Hussein Chalayan and Issey Miyake have addressed interesting questions with their collections but overall, it is Fashion questioning culture that inspires me)

Describe your ideal customer. Who is your boutique for?
My ideal customer is interested in the story behind the fashion pieces she purchases. She seeks meaning and quality rather than trends. She likes to wear colours and brags about her last purchase because it is not only a pretty one-of-a-kind piece, it also has a positive impact on the world.

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Interview with 4 elements Wed, 18 Jul 2012 17:46:40 +0000 Dear Swappers,

Please give a warm welcome to Marie from 4 elements, who has kindly offered us her store as a drop-off point for clothing donations.

Boutique 4 Elements  is located on 4326 St-Denis (map) and clothing donations can be made during the following times up until July 22nd:

Mon – Wed: 11am – 6pm

Thurs – Friday: 11am – 8pm

Sat: 10am – 5pm Sun: 11am – 5pm

When would you say are the fashion world’s peak moments during the year?
The fashion world usually has 2 seasons, which in “fast fashion”, is then divided in two. But at 4 elements, the switch-overs are fall-winter into spring-summer, as we are based in a country where each season requires quite a different relationship to clothing in order to accommodate completely different climates.

What’s your definition of sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion starts with two ingredients: quality and style. We carefully select fashions according to their materials (certified organic cottons and low impact fabrics such as hemp, tencel, linen, wool, etc.) and review the story behind the clothing, where it is made and how. Styling also plays into our definition of sustainability, as we believe we should be able to wear garments over and over, season after season, not so much according to trends but according to fit. This changes our relationship to clothing in general: buying a piece of clothing that makes us feel great has more impact on people than buying a piece to follow a trend. It also changes our relationship to the products we choose to consume. We relate to each product, artist, and designer we represent, or as we put it: It’s conscious culture and fashion as storytelling.

Do you consider 4 Elements to be an Eco-friendly boutique? If so, how?
Ecological materials, brand stories, social involvement are highly sought traits by our buying team at 4 elements. Our mission is to offer only ecological quality products in order to create a healthier life and a more accountable one,  all while experiencing more enjoyment. Being smart and beautiful according to the ecologicalconcept is possible. We will attempt to convince everyone  of this, through our modern and unique selection, always according to our sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly guidelines. From organic cotton to hemp, recycled bike tubes or recycled pop bottle fabrics, there’s so much to discover. It is conscious culture and fashion as storytelling that makes being “green” feel great!

How would you like to see the fashion industry change over the next ten years? How do you think they should do it?
With stronger awareness about the environment, better education on the benefits of the global organic movement for both the earth and mankind, sustainability is starting to gain momentum with consumers. As Laure Waridel puts it, “Acheter, c’est voter”. Consumers have a voice and we want to support them in using it wisely.

We need to relate once again to what we wear and buy, we need to value the materials we take from our lands and the human resources used to transform them. This is not an overnight shift: our relationship to the goods we consume is key.

What’s a day In 4 Elements like?
At 4 elements, we not only strive to change the relationship to goods, but we have also created an environment where we encourage human connection. On a daily basis, we have sustainability conversations with our customers. Sometimes they are already aware; sometimes this information is completely new to them. Our one-of-a-kind boutique is an integral part of our distinctive character as we provide a shopping experience that is on a human level.

What designers do you sell in your boutique?
From Montreal, we carry clothing lines from Jennifer Glasgow, Pascale Viau, Advika, Musky, Kiitsch, Mademoiselle Valérie, Pas de ChiChi, Sugaristik, handbags we have Ressac, Deborah Adams, Sens Inverse, Lucie Bélanger and jewellery we do Otra, Arterre, Chikiboom, Z Créations, Estrella, Rose Pedals, Elk, Ada Jito, Vuela Vuela and much more to discover!

We do also carry other  Canadian designers  such as We3, Elroy, Lindsey M, Echo Verde, just to name a few!

What sales or deals do you have now?
We always have a great sale selection from 20% to 70% off but we are also helping locally made Soap to clear out their remaining line.

Tell us about the history of your boutique. How was it founded? What was the idea behind it? How did you start working here?
4 elements was founded in 2010 to follow the founder’s dream of an eco-friendly lifestyle boutique. Supporting sustainability and local flavours is first and foremost, but  we also offer different price points to reach to a wider audience. We provide basics that everyone can jazz up with style and unique accessories!

What plans do you have for the future?
We launched our online boutique on June 1st, as we want to showcase our local flavours and eco-fashion outside of our physical location. We continue to spread the eco conscious word and want to take part in this major shift towards sustainability. In the future, we would like to spread our wings and carry more goods, always keeping within our sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly guidelines.

If you had all the power of the world, how would you change the fashion world?
I would slow down the pace of fashion, design and production. “Fast fashion” terribly affects quality, durability and humanity. “Slow fashion” allows us to bring back more grounded values, such as the well-fitting piece in our boutique. We have a great selection of yoga clothes, mats and accessories because we are yogis. We’ve selected organic beauty and hair products that will amaze with their quality, their natural scents and other special properties. Last but not least, we carry home products for everyday use, from well designed mugs to reusable lunch packing solutions.

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Diary of Frugalista: Items for the Mega Swap Tue, 17 Jul 2012 05:04:42 +0000 By Nadya Ershova

The Montreal Mega Swap is coming soon!
This time, I have prepared a big pile of clothes to swap!

I will show you some of my favorites. I like these items very much, but I have stopped wearing them for various reasons. The items have been hanging idle in my closet for a couple of years already, and now they are looking for new, appreciative owners!

As you may have noticed from my previous posts, I usually take a lot of pictures of my outfits, a habit that developed a while ago. As a result, I already have plenty of pictures of the items I am swapping. I will show you some photos to give an idea of how you can wear these pieces.

I’m giving away two items from this outfit.
Can you guess which ones?

The first one is the yellow BEDO sweater, medium size. The fact that it’s 30% alpaca makes it very warm and cozy. It is a great piece; unfortunately, yellow does not flatter my skin tone, so I am giving it away.

The second one is the blue Ben Sherman shirt, medium size. It was bought in England almost 10 years ago and since then, I’ve worn it only occasionally. The shirt has spent the last two years in the closet. Now it is surely time to find it a new owner who would appreciate it more than I!

One item from this outfit goes to the Mega Swap!
What do you think it is?

It’s the Nine West shoes, size 7.5. They are made of genuine leather, both inside and outside.
As you can see above, they make a perfect companion to a black-n-white look. Since I do not wear b-n-w outfits anymore, the shoes need to go to make some room in my tightly-packed closet.

Again one item of this outfit goes to the Mega Swap!
Can you guess which one it is?

It’s the Zara shoes, size 7. Since my wardrobe has lost most of its brown items, these shoes do not match anything anymore. A new owner is wanted!

I’m giving away two items from this look!
Try to guess which ones!

One is this great Trf Denim jacket, size Large. After I lost some weight, it became too big for me. It has spent two years hanging in my closet and now it is looking for a new loving owner! It simply deserves to be worn often.

The second is this stylish belt from L’Officiel, size Small. It will make a girl with a thin waist very happy. My waist is not thin enough, hehe.

Seen on a beach in San-Francisco…
One item from the beach outfit goes to the Mega Swap!

This time, it’s the Rocket Dog Converse sneakers, size 7.
The shoes are looking for a sporty yet stylish girl who is not afraid to look bold!

Come to our Mega Swap, and you will find these great items and many more!

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Behind the scenes of The SWAP Team’s Spring/Summer 2012Look Book Photoshoot Mon, 16 Jul 2012 12:00:44 +0000 By Flora Law

At The SWAP Team we have been super super busy making preparations to bring you the most fashion-tastic swap event on July 28th and 29th at the Place des Arts Montreal! We have been cooking up some pretty amazing stuff and pulled off quite a few great looks from the various swapped items from several donors and our awesome local and eco-friendly sponsors to put together a look book for spring & summer 2012!

We’ve even come across some rare gems, like a Christian Dior blouse, Gucci sweater and other unique pieces donated by our amazing local designers. We are not pulling your designer boot leg here. See for yourself:

Dress – Quartier Mode

Jean-François Brière, our very own talented photographer has managed to capture some really glamorously gorgeous shots! We went all out and gave our bloggers the fully-packaged star treatment, including hair styling and make-up by Martine Fillion (514-889-0001) and Susannah Rupnik (514-586-2656) and wardrobe styling by Caroline Alexander from Ludique with some help from Kimberly Maturo.

Oh, what fun the fashion bloggers had going through the various assortment of outfits and trying them on! Look at these hot poses below — it’s like they were born to be standing in front of a camera lens!

We couldn’t contain ourselves, so we decided to share with you some of the amazing behind-the-scenes shots we took:

Blazer – Cokluch
Pants – Ludique (Christian Chenail)

Kim Ninkuru, @FakionIshon of

Blazer – La Gaillarde (Jones New York)
Skirt – The SWAP Team
Bracelet – Cat, The SWAP Team
Necklace – Cat, The SWAP Team
Top – Annex Vintage

Lisa Kisber, @LKiSStyle of

We hope this inspires you to clean out your closets and get excited about the things you might find at the swap! You never know what treasures you will discover while updating your wardrobe in an environmentally and fiscally responsible way!

Special thanks to our sponsors BijoutiaQuartier ModeLudiqueCréations Encore, PwarkCokluch, ChikiboomAnnex Vintage, La Gaillarde, Tomate D’Épingles, Meemoza, Jennifer Glasgow Design, 4 Elements, Éthik BGC, Atelier Tri Cycle and Créations Compulsives.

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the look book delivered to your inbox!


Look forward to your likes, shares and comments! Sharing is GOOD :-)

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Meet Your New DIY Couture Coach! Sat, 14 Jul 2012 15:29:28 +0000 Have you been reading our blog and marvelling at the do-it-yourself (DIY) projects we’ve shared, but don’t know where to start?

Or maybe you want to learn how to sew that dress you’ve been dreaming of?

Today, we have some great news for you: we’ve got a DIY Couture Coach ready to assist you with your handmade fashion projects!

Introducing Nicole Picard, official Couture Coach for The SWAP Team! An accomplished independent fashion designer with over 20 years of experience in stitching and sewing, Nicole can help you to realize your creative dreams. She is an excellent teacher, so don’t be shy if you’ve never stitched before — you’ll be surprised how easy sewing can be!

If you live in Montreal, you’re in for a treat at Take Off Your Clothes on July 28th. Nicole will be at the swap from 12PM – 5:30PM and her Tailor Made Studio will be armed and ready with measuring tapes and sewing machines to alter YOUR newly swapped clothes to perfection!

If you don’t live in Montreal, don’t despair! You can email Nicole for advice and tips at:
Don’t forget to check out her website and facebook page for more info!

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Fashion Capitals Swap Style Thu, 12 Jul 2012 00:05:45 +0000 By Malorie Bertrand

To help you prepare for The Swap Team’s upcoming swap in Montreal on July 28 and 29, we at Ef thought it would be best to take a cue from the fashion capitals of the world. Summer is here, fall is on its way (we apologize for reminding you) and in the following images from NYC to Berlin, we hope you’ll find some inspiration to help you clear out your closet and replace old items with new ones that’ll compliment your style, wherever you are.

Photos courtesy of Phil Oh of Street Peeper and The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman.

NYC – No matter how much European influence trickles into the Yankee fashion bloodstream, our brothers and sisters down south still pull off their effortless preppy chic. NYC residents show us how to mix multicultural flair with good ‘ole Americana, taking the original t-shirt, converse shoe or turtleneck sweater and adding a modern twist.

London – In comparison to Paris and Berlin, London’s fashion is the perfect blend of high-end and sloppy. Londoners are the sultans of chaotic chic, pairing torn Hermes sweaters with High Street accessories. We can always pick out a Londoner by his or her dishevelled yet somehow oh so stylish ensemble. But just as we say this, we’re surprised by pops of bold colour and slimmer silhouettes once in a while.

Paris – Regardless of the season, Parisians love their black. From their impeccable bone structure to their perfected layering, Parisians rule when it comes to understated beauty and muted colours. But don’t be fooled, they’ll throw in a splash of colour, just to keep you guessing.

Berlin – We recently met three young German gentlemen who inspired us with their effortless preppy Euro look. Slim-fitted pants, rolled hems, loafers and funky t-shirts remind us of our Deutschland lads. Note the ladies’ ability to be playful and dark with black tights and bright dresses blended together. When we think of Germany we think of structured and coy, dark and sparkly, conservative and playful. Which are you?

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The SWAP Team Partners with Communauto Wed, 11 Jul 2012 02:17:09 +0000 Collaboration promotes sharing, community and sustainable living

We are thrilled to announce an exciting partnership with  Montreal car-sharing service Communauto!

Throughout the month of July, we’ll be driving around the city in sponsored Communauto vehicles to pick-up clothing from participants attending our July 28-29 event in the Place des Arts.

Thanks to Communauto, we’ll be able to provide more Montrealers with our home pick-up service, encouraging them to clean out their closets and make sustainable choices for our community and the environment. As Marco Viviani at Communauto says,  “Communauto and The SWAP Team are terrific examples of the sharing lifestyle – one that values access, unique experiences and simplicity over ownership.” We couldn’t agree more!

The SWAP Team and Communauto are Montreal-based businesses that are part of the worldwide Collaborative Consumption movement. Acclaimed in 2010 by Time Magazine as “One of the 10 ideas that will change the world,” Collaborative Consumption – or the “Sharing Revolution”–has exploded in popularity with its practical, network-enabled and earth-friendly approach to ownership.

The SWAP Team’s clothing pick-up service is available in select Montreal boroughs through July 22. The service is free with paid admission to Take Off Your Clothes. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door on the days of the event. To purchase tickets and request a clothing pick-up, click here.

Here goes our volunteer Clint in a Communauto car! Who’s the next person getting a Communauto clothing pick-up?

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VIDEO: Behind the scenes at our Montreal look book shoot! Wed, 04 Jul 2012 14:44:05 +0000

We’re so excited to have our very first Montreal event look book underway! Come hang behind the scenes with us and check out some of the best looks up for grabs at our upcoming swap, modeled by some of Montreal’s most stylish bloggers (of course)!

Our look book is for our email subscribers only and will be ready next week — so make sure you sign up now to get it delivered to your inbox:

Look forward to your likes, shares and comments! Sharing is GOOD :-)

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Calgary Swapped 4,000 Garments at the Hotel Arts! Fri, 29 Jun 2012 23:43:28 +0000 Our spring event in Calgary was a huge success — looks like Calgarians can’t get enough of clothes swapping!

Maybe it was our amazing venue this year at the Hotel Arts? Or the wide variety of clothes? Whatever it was, Calgary hit a new record, swapping 3,990 items!

Local boutiques A Vintage AffairEleven:ElevenDiva Direct and Rewind Consigment donated items to the swap, some of which were featured as well in Calgary’s ultimate Spring 2012 Look Book.

Here’s a breakdown of the overall impact of the event:
3,990 garments swapped
1,172 garments given to charities
5,162 garments diverted from landfills
$79,800 saved by swapping!

A HUGE thanks to all of our partners, sponsors, volunteers and swappers who made this happen.

Let’s make it rain clothes again at the next swap!

The SWAP Team

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30 Swaps in 30 Days Thu, 28 Jun 2012 13:50:31 +0000 By Caroline Alexander

30 swaps in 30 days - For the next 30 days, leading up to the SWAP Team’s 2012 Take Off Your Clothes event July 28 &29 2012, I will swap one piece of clothing a day with you! Become part of a swap chain and refresh your wardrobe. Would you like to be the new proud owner of my Max Studio skirt/dress (see below)? Then show me what you would like to swap for it! Post the picture of what you want to swap on The SWAP Team Facebook wall to see if at the end of the day you are the lucky one. Keep the swap chain going! Tomorrow your piece of clothing could be the next item to be exchanged in the swap chain, so choose something cool and funky without stains or holes. Let’s get the swap on together.

For those of you who do not know me, I am a Montreal based fashion stylist, co-owner of Ludique Personal Stylist and SWAP Team volunteer since 2010.  All of this to say I LOVE clothes.  I love dressing up, and dressing other people up.  I feel that clothing gives everyone the opportunity to delve in to the realm of the creative on a daily basis. Such clothing play does not mean endless shopping, but rather experimenting with what you already have, trying new combinations, and improvising. Swapping is a great way to extend the possibilities of one’s wardrobe, and change it up a little.

Swap Number 1: Black and white Max Studio maxi-skirt/dress.  Have I mentioned I love clothes? What I love even more than clothes are clothes that are multi-purposed – “wear me as a dress, wear me as a skirt, heck throw me over your bathing suit and look fabulous.” This particular item has a black bandeau waistband that can also be worn as a top.  It is a size small, but as it is made of a rayon jersey with 5% spandex, it stretches to fit anyone from size 2 to 8.  It measures: 28 inches at the bust or waist, but can stretch up to 38 inches, the hip is flat 44 inches, but can stretch to 52 inches.

Please note, on offer for Swapping is the Max Studio skirt/dress.  The white tank top and accessories are just styling suggestions.

Swap ’til you drop for 30 days! Join me for this great challenge! 

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Interview with La Gaillarde Sat, 23 Jun 2012 20:01:15 +0000 Our heartfelt thanks go out to La Gaillarde for opening their doors for our swappers to drop off their donations.

La Gaillarde is located at 4019 Notre-Dame West , and their opening hours are:

Mon – Fri 11am – 7pm
Sat-Sun 11am – 5pm

Thanks to David-Alexandre for taking the time to answer our questions, and to Luc Bourgeois who provided us with a peak into La Gaillarde through pictures.

Photo ©

When would you say are the fashion world’s peak moments during the year?
Like most stores, our peak is around Christmas time. We also have an interesting dynamic since we sell local designs (which come out twice a year) and vintage, with new pieces coming in daily.

What’s your definition of sustainable fashion?
For La Gaillarde, sustainable fashion is a value chain (design, production, distribution and marketing) that minimizes our footprint on the earth and populations.

Do you consider La Gaillarde to be an Eco-friendly boutique? If so, how?
Yes, La Gaillarde is a non-profit organization whose mission is to offer eco-friendly clothing. We do so by offering vintage pieces, organic and recycled local designs to our clientele.

Photo ©

How would you like to see the fashion industry change over the next ten years? How do you think they should do it?
Companies should make a commitment to using at least a certain percentage of sustainable fabrics in their production and take steps for that percentage to grow.

What’s a day In La Gaillarde like?
A day at La Gaillarde can be pretty hectic but always fun, we start off by putting some great music and have clients that come in the store to shop or drop off donations. Then we have volunteers that come in to sort those donations, as well as designers that come in and drop off some new items! You should check out Luc Bourgeois’ photos on our website for an idea of what a day in store looks like.

What designers do you sell in your boutique?
We sell over 40 local designers (OOM, Encore, Ada-Jito, Tomate d’épingles, Musky, Meemoza, and many more) all of which can be found here:

Photo ©

What sales or deals do you have now?
Well, There are always good deals at La Gaillarde. We have a basement filled with vintage liquidation pieces and a designer liquidation section from previous collections upstairs.

Tell us about the history of your boutique. How was it founded? What was the idea behind it?
La Gaillarde officially started 12 years ago in St-Henri. It was a bazaar before that and it has been offering a great selection of clothes to the population of St-Henri, while offering a place for emerging talents to sell their designs.

What plans do you have for the future?
We just opened a new section in the store and we are planning on having a lot of fun with it! It allows us to double our amount of vintage in store! We’re pretty excited about this!

Photo ©

If you had all the power of the world how would you change the fashion world?
By spreading the Gaillarde eco spirit all over the world!

What is your favorite fashion star? Who inspires you?
There is so much local talent it’s hard to choose! I would say emerging designers in general, just for having the guts to launch their own business!

Describe us your ideal customer. Who is your boutique for?
Everyone! We want to spread the eco love to everyone and have pieces that fit most people :)

Photo ©

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The Astonishing Proof: Men DO Swap! Fri, 22 Jun 2012 02:58:37 +0000 We caught this rare and elusive species on tape, swapping at our Toronto event in May!

Watch these guys get their SWAP on (alongside some very stylish ladies):

BIG thanks to Andrew Brown of Digi Realm for the shooting and production of this vid!

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Outlook: New, Used and Free Thu, 21 Jun 2012 16:58:02 +0000 By Di Golding

This past Tuesday marked the end of my year-long shopping abstinence and I’ve made some definite decisions about my shopping future. I knew this year would change me but I wasn’t sure how. I wasn’t a super- compulsive shopper before I started, but I didn’t like how much importance I  put on my outward appearance or that I’d get uncomfortably covetous when I saw something cute but frivolous in a store window or magazine. I also didn’t take the time to really think about why I was buying something or who my purchases might affect. I’d just have a bad day so I’d buy a pair of shoes, or I’d have a good day and buy a dress to go with my bad-day shoes. Or I’d be bored so I’d get a new bag to complete my bad-day/good-day outfit. The combinations and personal justifications were endless.

In anticipation of my first post-challenge clothing purchase I’ve been doing some research, a process I usually reserve for major purchases like furniture or cars. Over a year ago I would have walked into a store and spent maybe less than a half hour browsing before settling on something I thought would work and then convince myself that if I bought a similar item that was on sale I could spend more on something else. What’s different now is that I’ve decided to make sure my future purchases have more meaning and add real value to my life.

What I love about second-hand, consignment and swap shopping is that the clothes have a past and a future. I know that I’ll get the majority of my ‘new’ clothes this way because it’s just smarter on so many levels. There’s something about a pair of designer jeans that someone else paid for and worked in perfectly that gives me an almost insane amount of glee. But alas, there are certain items I will have to purchase new.

In my last blog post I mentioned my desire for new hiking boots and have since been trying to find a suitable pair online( I’ve pretty much decided on Keen footwear). My criteria have evolved to caring about where and how the item is made, something that wouldn’t have been as important to me before the challenge. It’s encouraging how many companies are trying their best to reduce their carbon footprint, ensure the people making their products have a living wage and genuinely care about being responsible to their customers. It’s what all companies should aspire to and something we, the consumers, can hold them accountable for. Now, instead of spending money mindlessly  I’ll look at it as ‘rewarding’ a company for a job well done. I truly believe that each dollar I spend is a vote for how I want the world to be. Silly how it took a year of not shopping to learn how to do it right.

Hopin’ this bad boy comes home with me soon and brings his twin brother:)


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