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We hosted our first jfashion swap meet in years this past Saturday in Milan! It was a huge success, and we had quite the attendance.

Pitching the idea

From time to time, I would see pics and videos or read of people holding swap meets in their cities, and couldn’t help but think: “oh, how nice it would be to hold one here in Milan!”. So I pitched the idea to the two main groups that organize jfashion events at the moment: We Are Alice and Harumochi. They both shared my sentiment of wanting to hold one, as one wasn’t hosted in years now. We’d keep going back to the idea every now and then, until I decided since we all really wanted it, we should do it, and made a private chat with all of them to discuss it.

The main problem was finding a place suitable for holding a meet, which turned out to be surprisingly difficult, until the wonderful Pinkotora found a solution for us, and getting the ok from her boss at the laser game where she works.
The place was perfect, and we’d occupy it in the morning while it would be closed so as not to disturb their regular operations. There would already be some tables and chairs, and even several clothes hangers!

Refining the details

We started thinking about how to structure the event and when to have it. The planning started in September, but we held the swap on the 19th of November. The fact that we announced the swap with quite some time in advance allowed some people from other cities, – and in one case, from the South of the country – to travel to come to our place, which made the whole thing even more special!

It also allowed me to have time to draw dedicated art for the event, so we could have everything concerning it in the same style, from the event to the stories, and even have themed stickers! (I went a bit crazy with this, but they’re so cuuuteee!)

For this, I redrew the two mascots of the two groups, passing clothes to each other. Their base colors were already so cute, which made everything very easy!

I had been taking notes of how the event was organized in other places, sometimes asking people who attended if they had advice for me – and if you’re among them and reading, my sincere thanks! Everyone’s input from the groups was also precious, and we refined all the details using a Trello board. To keep up with all the tasks. I’m so glad I didn’t try to do this on my own, or I would have never thought to also have a corner for sweets and tea, which btw was a huge success.

So, with everything set, we published the event on Facebook as a shared event, and on Instagram with several posts.

People would contact us privately to get the address, and publish a preview of the things they were going to take on the facebook page of the event. A week before the event I also posted a reminder of things to bring, especially the tags for the items.

The Day of the Event

We set to meet a little bit before 10, and so did some people who were bringing things, which wasn’t in our plans, but we managed to get started anyway. I had my partner to help me set the things and the wonderful Pinkotora already got all the tables even from the birthday rooms set in the middle. We were definitely expecting to have fewer tables and clothes hangers, so this was an exceptionally good surprise!

People started arriving as we were setting things up, claiming tables, and soon we were all busy placing our things. 10:30 arrived in a heart bit, and so did the people who wanted to visit only, as well as some late people who placed their things.

Here is my corner of things:

I had an area for my prints, and another for the clothes I brought. (I also bought a clothes rack specifically to leave the ones present to people who might need them).

Here is the table with the sweets next to the corner of prints. The mannequin rotated dresses.

Then we also had a corner for sweets as well as a corner for teas. I got some recyclable paper cups suitable for tea, my water kettle, and a part of my tea collection – you know I love tea – which was limited to tea in teabags. We also got a permanent marker, so people would reuse their cup!

Around 11 we had most of the people going around. I was very happy to see some new faces, and since I knew people who were new to lolita would come, I made sure to bring many basic pieces with me, such as shirts, bows, blouses, stockings and such. Events like this are especially great for people who are new to these fashions as it gives them a chance to see, and even try on this kind of clothes, all instantly, without having to wait for shipping, or be welcomed by import duties.

There was a bathroom with a half mirror, so people could try things on, and I also brought 3 smaller mirrors from home to help them see themselves with the pieces on. Seeing some people be genuinely excited about these clothes made me so happy.

Plus everyone had great deals! I tried to hold back but I also wanted to get a piece from each of my friends when possible, which resulted in lots of swaps.


I was a bit under the weather because of a sore throat, so I kept my mask on at all times, and it was a bit overwhelming at times, but luckily, we were 4 organizers, and my partner was the guardian of my things which meant I was allowed a bit of freedom to also roam around, take videos, speak to people and such.

Speaking of videos, I published a reel with the videos we took there on instagram:

Well and this sums up the day of the meet!

What worked and what didn’t?

Not making the location public, but only revealing it to the people who confirmed they would attend helped to avoid weird people joining in, and controlling the access. We had a larger attendance than expected because people who said they would come often brought a +1 but didn’t tell us, but it was still something we could handle with a printed list.

Dividing the list of people into people who would bring things and people who would only visit helped plan the space. Also, telling the visit-only people to start coming half an hour after the others gave everyone more time to set things up.

Trello was very useful to remember every step. And since we were 3 different entities collaborating, it was easier to report to our own private board a shared list of attendees. Or also have a card with the basic info, another with the list of things each was expected to bring, a card for all the graphics to use in stories etc.

Recommending everyone to bring their own tools to display clothes, such as tablecloths or clothes hangers, helped to delimit spaces.

Having people post a preview of what they’d bring to the swap helped create excitement and give an idea to the others who were on the fence about what to bring or whether to attend or not.

We could have opened the swap also to other things, not just jfashion, so more people could swap, and not only those who already owned pieces. I regret not considering this, as it made some people feel excluded.

We could have insisted more on labelling items on the spot, as some people who didn’t do it ended up creating some confusion when not attending their items. I also regret not having used the paper I brought to actually write down what I swapped for better tracking. (but other people did!)

In the end the overall response was overwhelmingly positive, everyone was asking when we’d organize the next meet, so I consider it a success! Other blogs warned that one should expect to swap very little of what one would bring, and chat a lot more, and I hope that for many this was the spirit.

My little haul from the swap

As for what I brought and swapped, I managed to do swaps with most people who had something to swap. I swapped 12 of the 27 things I brought, which is really not bad. And I came back home with 15 extra things, 9 of which were clothes.

To be honest, I felt like as I was organizing this meet, I had to set a good example, and so I brought more than I would have exchanged. I would have probably kept a couple of the dresses I exchanged. But I was also doing this swap for my community, so I don’t completely mind it.

I had a Trello board to keep track of what I was adding!

The haul of things I got from the swap meet.

Lastly, here’s how some of these fit:

As you see, I actually only got 2 lolita dresses (and a shirt), and the rest is more casual, otome, or himekaji. Overall, I’m really happy we managed to do the event! I hope we’ll be able to repeat it next year.

What’s hilarious is that in all of this I forgot to take one (1) picture of the coord I was wearing that day (as you see I even got nice curls for the occasion), which seems to be a cursed coord because I keep forgetting to get pictures of that dress. I was so focused of taking pics and videos of the place, I totally forgot the coord. Oh well, it shall remain a mystery.

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