Imagine a party with music, food and cocktails. And then imagine, at this same party, attendees are encouraged to walk away with as many clothes, books, music, accessories and miscellaneous goods as they can carry...for free. No, it's not a fantasy -- it's a barter economy dream and it's called Score!, a roving, free pop-up store in New York.
Since it began as passion project conceived by four Brooklynites -- Jenny Gottstein, Connie Carmona, Amy Butterworth and Leslie Hermelin -- Score! Pop Up Swap has since exploded into a popular local event series, drawing over 1,000 attendees to each gathering.
The concept behind Score! Pop Up Swap is simple: Folks bring their old items, volunteers distribute items to themed departments, and attendees can browse and take whatever they fancy. Meanwhile, DJs keep the party rocking, artists silkscreen custom totebags and fashion photographers take photos of stylish "scored" outfits. At the end of the day, proceeds from the event and all leftover items are donated to charity. "You can clear out your closet, give back, party, and shop." Amy points out, "It's a win-win."
But unlike typical swaps, Score! more closely resembles a free store. Rather than a chaotic exchange, the event is managed by professional curators who organize and display donated items. For example, Etsy manages the Craft Department, while the Clothing Department is curated by Market Publique, an trendy vintage retail site. In the past, Nylon Magazine staff members have offered fashion advice, while the writers behind DIY newsprint Showpaper make key music suggestions. Not only do these curators bring their respective expertise, they bring their discerning eye: "It's what allows us to maintain the best quality," Leslie explains "our department curators have impeccable taste." Which is perhaps why the New York Post mused that the event "evokes a Barney's Co-op sale" and NBC New York noted that the swap was organized by a "crew of professional New York 'cool kids.'"
What can attendees expect to score? "Everything!" Jenny says, "I've seen burping Homer Simpson bottle openers, Betsy Johnson cocktail dresses, brand new Nikes, guitar distortion pedals, Lauren Hill coasters... it's amazing. Last year, I scored a 1966 Brazilian samba album on yellow vinyl!" And fortunately, for those who reside outside of the New York City area, the organizers have plans to bring it to multiple cities in 2011. Connie says, "every day, we get new requests from people in L.A., Portland, Boston, Philly, Boise, San Francisco... don't worry guys, we'll get there soon."
Score! Pop Up Swap isn't just a pragmatic response to a recession economy. It is an excuse to party, to share resources, to celebrate creativity. The Score! tagline sums it all up "Reinvent. Reuse. Radness."
The next event is on Saturday, May 29 in Brooklyn, NY. All proceeds will be donated to Global Inheritance, a 501c3 that reinvents youth activism by providing tools via music, art and technology. All leftover donations will be delivered to charity, and all unusable textiles will be recycled by Wearable Collections.
For more information, and to RSVP, visit www.scorepopupswap.com.