Saturday 23 January 2010

The Big Swish

On Thursday myself and my sister attended the London leg of The Big Swish UK Roadshow held at Tiger Tiger in Piccadilly Circus. For the organisers, securing such a central venue must have seemed like a coup - in terms of the ample space inside - but for me it just felt a bit weird having hundreds of discerning fashionistas descend on what I would describe as a venue only frequented by tourists.
So there we were in Tiger Tiger trudging through the semi-full dining area in this three story bar in our hundreds. What ensued was a lot of waiting clustered around the stairway which led down to the basement’s nightclub where the night’s festivities were scheduled to take place. Whilst the wait was pretty ridiculous I was just glad not to be a diner as if I was made to enjoy my meal with a side order of 200 people cramming around my table I would have been (more) pissed off to say the least.

When the festivities finally got underway there was an ‘underwear’ fashion show and a hideous auction that didn’t do much to help raise funds for Cancer Research UK. Luckily we avoided most of it but when the bidding began for an unsightly Lady Gaga donated Dolce and Gabbana leopard-print ‘dress’ – which looked more like something one might wear to bed for a saucy night in – the hapless compare was so clueless that he quipped ‘This is D&G, why are you bidding in £5 instalments, its Gaga!’ With the response being that he was too stupid to realise that it was his job to set the pace of the bidding – hello, has he never mistakenly caught an episode of Flog It?

Frustrated at having to wait for so long and watch the evening painfully gain momentum, the Swish was finally declared ‘open’ so down the stairs we all went with several over-eager twats creating a massive crush which saw my SLR digital camera nearly break and worse still, a lady on crutches tumble down a step or two  – not a good start I’m sure you’ll agree.

After waiting to get our stuff checked in earlier in the evening everyone was supposed to go away so the staff could do their thing, but as it turned out a select few staked out the rails and grouped together things they wanted. That meant that when the 180 strong rule-following swishers got through we found that all of the good items had been squirreled away, with the remaining items being saved – if only for an evening - from their collective destiny to live out the rest of its days at the bottom of a charity shop bargain bucket!

To make matters worse, as we were swishing in a nightclub basement it was pretty dark and what little light there was came courtesy of dance floor spotlights. I actually witnessed several swishers inspecting the interiors of handbags and shoes (and performing the obligatory once over for pit stains) with the lights of their mobile phone screens.

I lucked out on a couple of items, but neither my sister nor I left with as many items as we’d arrived with. In her desperation my sister very nearly walked away with a top that I myself had donated to the Swish – which I think says it all! As with several other clothes swaps I’ve attended in the past year, this too ended in disappointment.

So a word to the wise, if I may: For all those who want to get new clothes – without spending money on the high street – avoid all the stresses of swishing with strangers and throw your own swap, inviting only your most stylish and non-aggressive friends.

Here are the items I walked away with:

Marks & Spencer's Limited Editon dress

Vintage smock

Topshop jacket

H+M silk square scarf


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. A lady on crutches...? Shame on her for being there in the first place. I mean I love fashion, but that is insane, haha!

    Thanks for following my blog- long time dollface.
    Hope everything is great with you!


  3. I say fair play to her! When I was on crutches last year I went to lots of events and things to keep me sane!!
    I love your new blog, its really great!