I was attracted to the Diva Eve Clothing Swap to the extent that (okay I do know that this is the wrong thing to say about a clothing swap held in the garment district) I felt like a moth drawn to light source.

The reason for my enthusiasm: this event combined female community with donating to charity. All unclaimed clothing was given to the New York City Rescue Mission and House of Life, a charity dedicated to helping young women in South Africa escape human trafficking and involuntary prostitution. House of Life, located in Durban and run by New York social worker Petra Luna, focuses upon rescuing women who are forced to be prostitutes and teaches them legal job market skills. (Since female sexual slavery is the most unsocially superlative thing I can think of, I will simply direct those who want further information to Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times editorials on the subject.)

When I entered the Stitch Bar & Lounge, a welcoming and attractive venue which generously contributed to the evening’s success, I was warmly greeted by the event’s organizer Suzanne Agasi (the founder and director of Clothing Swap, Inc

[www.clothingswap.com]). Suzanne told me that she has been hosting clothing swaps for seventeen years! Seventeen years?

Swaps first emerged on the social radar screen two years ago. Suzanne is very definitely a female bonding and ecology pioneer. And the best part of her endeavor is that she enables little known charities to benefit from the swaps she organizes.  Her efforts to combine community, ecology, and charity generate a win-win situation for all involved.

The scene at Stitch Bar consisted of women-with brown paper shopping bags in hand, searching for new trends and taking  their clothes to try on their acquisitions to then trade them up for money at the Flyp store. (Men were barred from the swap area in the bar.) Even though the event was crowded, everyone behaved in an exceedingly polite-sisterly-manner. In order to be able to fit into the clothes, I did not have any of the delicious egg roll appetizers. Truth be told, even if I passed up two billion fried appetizers, I could never fit into the clothes brought by the exceedingly thin women. Luckily, I did benefit from the generosity of my fellow zaftig participants.

I had a great time at this woman-centered event which helped great charitable causes. When I left Stitch Bar while clutching my brown paper bag filled with clothes enroute to their new home in my apartment, I hoped that Suzanna Agasi becomes a new Martha Stewart for the twenty first century.

– Marleen