Plus-size clothing swap in Vancouver will offer free clothes — and community

A new plus-size clothing swap will offer Vancouverites free second-hand clothing size 14 and up, but organizers say it will also offer more than that. 

Organizers of YVR Fat Clothing Swap say they want to create a welcoming community for those who have historically been excluded from the fashion industry. 

“In Vancouver it can be hard to find inclusive spaces as a fat person,” said clothing swap co-organizer Andrina Fawcett. 

Fawcett and others have been collecting donations over the past month for their first swap, which will take place Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Celebrities Nightclub on Davie Street. 

They estimate they have amassed between 600 and 900 plus-size garments. 

Fawcett says there are few clothing options in bigger sizes in Vancouver, and the limited selection often comes with a high price tag. 

“We found ourselves really frustrated by how expensive and sparse options for fashionable fat clothing are in this city,” Fawcett said. 

“We wanted to do something about it.” 

Co-organizer Isobel Bemrose-Fetter hopes the event will keep clothing out of landfills while fostering body positivity. 

“There is a broad range in body types, and that’s pretty beautiful,” she said. 

Bemrose-Fetter says the event will give plus-size people the opportunity to shop and meet others in a safe and comfortable space. 

“You’re around other people who look like you. And so it can be a really great way to try and engage with your community and get opinions,” she said. 

Entry is by donation with a suggested donation of $10. Organizers recommend each person take around five items. 

Organizers say they hope to host more similar swaps in the future. 

Community spaces

Vancouver-based model and writer Lydia Okello says the city lacks community spaces for plus-size people. 

“Events like this make me feel positive and excited that there will be more for us in the future,” Okello said. 

“I think it’s very much needed.” 

A person is pictured wearing an all-denim stylish blue outfit with white sunglasses, standing in front of a blue wall.
Lydia Okello says there are not many choices for pre-owned plus-size clothing in Vancouver. (Submitted by Lydia Okello)

For those over size 14, there are not many options for an in-person shopping experience, Okello says. For those looking to purchase pre-owned clothes, plus-size options are even more limited. 

“It definitely ties into fashion’s long history of fatphobia and anti-fat bias,” they said. “I think that that’s extremely prevalent even today.” 


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