Manchester trader combats fast fashion with swap shop

Erin Thomas- Image by Natasha Judge

Manchester shop Beg Steal and Borrow, have been tackling fast fashion issues with clothes swap initiatives.  

A swap shop is being held at Feel Good Club in Northern Quarter from 2pm – 6pm this Sunday 26 March.  

Erin Thomas, CEO of the store, believes that “second hand is the way forward” and has embarked on a mission to provide sustainable affordable fashion. 

She said: “I thought, I have these clothes, I have the time, I have the brand.  

“I might as well make it so that it’s a bit more even more accessible so that we’re not wasting clothes.” 

Swap shop in action – Image by Natasha Judge

The shop provides an easier alternative to buying clothing and people can bring up to 10 items to swap or buy clothing on the day for £3 an item.  

Alongside the swap shops, Beg Steal and Borrow offer a thrift system for unwanted clothes at the store based in Afflecks.  

The shop normally encourages people to bring items of higher value to the Afflecks Palace shop so that they can be traded for a percentage of cash or store credit. 

Erin does not take in items from retailers such as Primark or Shein as she prefers to provide alternative clothing which does not cause harm to workers or detriment to the environment.  

Signage for the shop in Afflecks – Image by Natasha Judge

She said: “I don’t want to promote taking in items like Shein when they are so detrimental to the environment and obviously the human cost as well.” 

Erin started trading clothes as a form of currency when she arrived in Manchester, three years ago, and has used apps such as Vinted as a means of attaining sustainable items of good quality. 

Beg Steal & Borrow store- Image by Natasha Judge

Her love for the more unusual garments is prevalent in the store items and the stock is on a very regular rotation.  

Trading can take place at the Afflecks store and for updates on the regular swaps which take place within the Northern Quarter, visit their Instagram

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