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Oscars inspire 'Green the Red Carpet' clothing swap

February 24, 2011 | 11:17 am

Clothingswapboston As Oscar nominees prep themselves for a night in designer gowns and million-dollar accessories, another group of women is gearing up for a "Green the Red Carpet" clothing swap. 

Riffing off the Academy Awards, the swap is taking place at Catchlight Studios on Saturday, the day before Hollywood's biggest night of the year.

Participants are invited to bring bags of gently loved clothing, accessories, shoes and evening wear. For each bag they bring, they can take away a bag of items they've found at the swap.

Admission is $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Participants drop off their clothes at 6 p.m. and return at 8, after the bags of clothing have been sorted and put on display in designated areas for dresses, coats, shirts, denim and other categories. In a clothing grab the event's organizers say is similar to a Running of the Brides at Filene's Basement, for one hour participants have at it in a free-for-all that is first-come, first-served.

There may or may not be dressing rooms. Swappers are advised to wear layers so they can try things on.

"It's civilized chaos," admitted Melissa Massello, who is one half of the Swapaholics, the Boston-based duo that is throwing the event.

Massello and fellow Swapaholic Amy Chase have been hosting public and private clothing swaps for two years. Green the Red Carpet is the second swap they've held in L.A.

"We thought the Oscars were the perfect time to bring people together and highlight the really cool thing that is swapping,"  Massello added. "It's retail therapy, but it's recycling. It's community-driven. It's great for women, especially in their late 20s, 30s and early 40s who no longer have the communal closet of roommates or sisters."

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Swapaholics clothing swap at last year's Boston Fashion Week. Credit: Adam Towner