Volunteer Spotlight: Iren the Clothing Swap Queen

Iren, one of our amazing volunteers, has turned our coat cupboard into a beautiful clothing resource for our guests. She has also been hosting Betsy's Closet Swap Shop at Refettorio Felix, where swish swappers can trade their spare pieces for beautiful previously-loved clothing.


One of our most important services, but one that we don’t write about often enough, is our clothes resource. We have a closet of warm jackets, professional suits, shoes, and accessories available to our guests free of charge.

In the last couple of months, this resource has received a serious makeover from our ever-generous and hardworking volunteer Irene, who has sorted the clothes in such a way that our clothing cupboard looks like a proper shop.

Irene has also been hosting her swish swap parties at the Refettorio, which are open to the general public, under the name Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop. Betsy asks would-be-shoppers, to forgo the high street, and swap with a community of like-minded friends instead of shopping. Swappers arrive to the party with items of clothing that they still consider valuable, but for whatever reason no longer wear. They trade the clothing in for tokens which can be cashed in for clothing that others have loved in the past, but are ready to swap.

Betsy is the perfect fit for the Refettorio because its mission with clothes is much like ours with food. They aim to “to slow down the machine and prevent textiles from ending up in landfill.” An ecological consciousness requires that we examine all areas of our life. We’re so grateful to Iren for helping us expand beyond food into the world of sustainable fashion. As Betsy says, “Let’s consume less, let’s produce less, let’s spend more time enjoying food, music and nature instead.”

If you’re interested in attending Swish swap party, you’re in luck! Betsy is popping up at Refettorio on Sunday, April 28th. You can expect good friends, music and some simple food from the Refettorio kitchen. Bring a previously-loved item of clothing. The motto is, “Bring the quality you expect to find. The swap is not an upgrade. It is an exchange of equal value.”

Please follow @betsysclosetswapshop to keep up to date on all things sustainable fashion!