A trendy trade-off

A trendy trade-off

Swap shops are places where people get rid of their old and take home second-hand new. Our junior reporters went to a swap shop last month and spoke to the organisers and some swappers ...

Co-founder Anna Beech (standing) wants to open people's minds to second-hand clothes.

Anna Beech and Sam McDaid founded Forever and Again to provide a place for people to exchange second-hand items.

When they lived in Britain, the pair ran a similar swap shop called Green Sunday, which opened monthly. After opening their Hong Kong store, they found that such shops weren't quite as popular here as they were in New York and London, so they decided to open once every two months.

Hongkongers didn't seem interested at first, but after a couple of events, word got out and the shop became more and more popular.

Beech wants to open people's minds to pre-loved clothes. Not only do you save money on buying new outfits, you also get to pick your favourite ones from a sea of second-hand, designer clothing.

There's also the feel-good factor: the HK$60 entry fee goes to local charities.

Doris Lam

Junior reporter Leanne Lam (right) talks to Esther Hau.

It was Esther Hau Wing-shan's first visit to Forever and Again at the Hive, a "creative workspace" in Wan Chai, where she wanted to take part in a swap.

She came with a friend who was an experienced "swapper".

Hau thinks the idea of exchanging things with others is very important, especially when the item is of no more use to her, yet still too good to be thrown away.

That day, she swapped some dresses for a vintage cardigan and some sport clothes.

While at the shop, Hau was anxious to know if anyone had taken home the lovely dresses she left there.

Hau said she would share this meaningful experience with others.

Leanne Lam

Alice Wong Nga-sze believes swapping helps reduce waste.

"It's very environmentally friendly for people to swap things they don't need for things that they do need."

On the tables were make-up kits, DVDs, worn-out books and some clothes.

A woman fished out a wicker basket from the pile, saying she could put Easter eggs in it for a church activity.

Then a man left a grey choker with a dove pendant, which was in a box labelled "Taiwan's National Museum of History".

Cassandra Lee

Junior reporter Sonia Tsui (right) with designer Vanessa Munt, who likes the concept of swapping.

Vanessa Munt, a Hong Kong-based designer, likes the concept of swapping.

"This is not the first time I've been here. You can always discover new things all the time," she says.

Munt has noticed that almost all the customers are women.

"I think men prefer new things, while women are touched by sentiment," she explains. "That's why women are always willing to share things with others."

Hongkongers don't like to use second-hand things, but Munt says people should pick up the habit.

"Using something that has been used isn't a bad thing ... As long as it's useful to you," she says.

Munt vows to continue sharing the spirit of swapping with her friends.

Sonia Tsui

To find out more about Forever and Again, visit their Facebook group.



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