Global Fashion Exchange To Set Up ‘Swappable Department Store’ In NY

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The Global Fashion Exchange(GFX) recently joined forces with art deco boutique chain Walker Hotels in New York City for a “SwapAteria” experience that will take place at the latter’s new TriBeCa location, in order to promote sustainable consumer behaviour.

GFX, the international organization encouraging sustainable fashion, partnered with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the Brooklyn Style Foundation, the New York Fair Trade Association and the Fashion Revolution to go live with this project on the second floor of the Walker Hotel Tribeca with 20 rooms to showcase the pieces.

After successful swaps during London Fashion Week, as well as setting up the first New York swap shop at The Canvas, GFX is all set to unveil NY’s first “redeemable department store” and “exchangeable department store”.

The experience will be open for the hotel’s guests as well as the public and they will have the opportunity to visit the rooms – exchange closets that will showcase vintage collection pieces to second-hand garments from brands including Gypsy Sport, Maison Murasaki, The Canvas, Now for Tomorrow, Carmen Gama and Carolina Bedoya: Make Aneew.

In an interview with WWD, founder of GFX, Patrick Duffy said that the partnership with Walker Hotels is the first time the organization has worked with a hotel. “This new project continues our mission of providing an exchange to the masses, providing a unique opportunity to change the way we interact with fashion.”

The project will use a real-time tracking system called SwapChain, a blockchain-enabled data source that will display the history of every item of clothing showcased in these closets.

By registering in advance, for traded items, customers will be given a token that will show the item condition, retail price, and craft and this token will at as the currency for the swap. It can also be used for another item of the same value and traded during the SwapAteria session.

This new project continues our mission of providing an exchange to the masses, providing a unique opportunity to change the way we interact with fashion

Patrick Duffy, founder of GFX

The tokens will be given according to the item value, for instance, up to US$149 earns one token, US$150- US$499 earns two tokens, while US$500- US$1000 earns three tokens.

Senior store manager for David Yurman and Gucci, Bruce Weldyn, who will be setting uo an all-black theme closet, said: “As a retailer, I strive to generate sales at full price. Margin is the priority, and to protect margin you have to present the dream and sell the dream. I would like to leave this event at Walker with a full understanding and recommendations to retailers on how to successfully combine full-price sales with the sustainability of fashion.”

CEO of Bridgeton Holdings (Walker Hotel Tribeca, Walker Hotel Greenwich Village, Marram Montauk), Atit Jariwala said that the reason that Walker Hotels got on board as the firm wants to encourage “sustainability and experiential hospitality”. “We are really, really excited about it [SwapAteria partnership] for now, and we would like to continue, maybe even changing hotels in different locations.”

I would like to leave this event at Walker with a full understanding and recommendations to retailers on how to successfully combine full-price sales with the sustainability of fashion

Bruce Weldyn, Senior store manager for David Yurman and Gucci

The project is not merely just about selling products, but it is also aligned with the U.N’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it aims to educate and raise awareness about sustainable fashion and fair trade among consumers.

“I’ve always been knocking on the door of exchange and sustainability. As soon as we added the data component, the technology – that’s where things started to take off,” Duffy added by mentioning that though SwapAteria, might be considered a novel and experimental idea, going forward, it will be a “model for retailers of the future”.

All data points to second-hand fashion being increasingly in demand with a thredUP report suggesting that this market is set to reach a massive US$64 billion within the next five years, and by 2024, will even cross figures of the conventional thrift market.

Another report by Lyst, the global fashion data search platform highlighted that consumers are increasingly looking for sustainability-related keywords, with an average of these searches rising by 75% every year. 

If you’re in India and want to check out some swapping and exchange fashion initiatives, refer this handy guide for the best in pre-loved fashion.

The “SwapAteria” experience will take place at the Walker Hotel Tribeca, from April 22 through 30, from noon to 7 p.m. daily.


Lead image courtesy of GFX.


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