Meet the mother-daughter trio behind Wakefield’s clothing swap

Sarah with her sister, Jane, and her mother, Denise.

The trio set up the Wakefield Clothes Exchange in 2019 after volunteering at the exchange store in Leeds.

Sarah, her mother, Denise Armstrong, and her sister, Jane Wardell, have always had a passion for second-hand clothing shopping, seeking out pre-loved goodies from a young age.

Having to close for two years due to the pandemic, the family launched the Clothes Exchange backup earlier this year.

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The family has been running the exchange shop since 2019.

The swap shop, which takes place every two months, will be held at New Brookhouse, Barnsley Road from 12.30pm to 3pm tomorrow.

Sarah said: “As a family, we’ve always loved second-hand clothes. We were always rummaging through garage sales and browsing charity shop shelves.

“We heard about Leeds’ Clothing Exchange, which has been operating for many years and is driven by sustainability.

“We decided to come and see how they run things, and we volunteered to pick their brains and thought we could do it in Wakefield. We set up our exchange store in 2019 and built momentum until Covid-19 hit.

The Swap Shop works with people bringing in up to twenty quality items which they can then swap for other items, with an entry fee of just £3.

For example, if you bring five items to trade, you can take home five items that are new to you.

If you turn in more items than you select, you will receive credits, which means you can choose more items at the next swap meeting.

Each item undergoes a thorough quality inspection, with Sarah and Denise checking that each item of clothing has all its buttons, no broken zippers, no pilling and is of sufficient quality to be exchanged.

Sarah added: “We make sure every item is quality checked before we accept it. We make sure the items don’t move, there are no missing buttons and there are no holes. We only accept clothes that people would buy from a charity shop.

The swap is open to women of all shapes and sizes and includes children’s clothing.

Currently, the exchange shop does not include men’s clothing because there is “less demand”.

Sarah also said Clothes Exchange is a good way to get a new wardrobe on a budget during the cost of living crisis.

She said: “It’s difficult for people at the moment with the cost of living crisis. If you don’t have much money but want new clothes, you can literally pick up a new wardrobe for £3 every two months.

“Clothing swapping is also good because it means you’re unique and you’re not wearing what everyone else is wearing. You can get some really unique pieces.

The next clothing swap after tomorrow will be at New Brookhouse on Saturday, September 3 from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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