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The 10th Cat's Pajamas Clothing Exchange will take place this weekend at ARTS/West. (Provided via Emily Beveridge)

Cat’s Pajamas Clothing Exchange to celebrate 10-year anniversary

In 2008, Emily Beveridge created the Cat’s Pajamas Clothing Exchange, a fundraiser that would be able to include anyone who wanted to participate. Ten years later, the clothing exchange has gained significant popularity in Athens.

“I wanted to do a giant community clothing swap that was amongst friends, so Cat’s Pajamas sounded like a cool idea,” Beveridge, the program specialist for ARTS/West, said. “Cat’s Pajamas is an old 20th century saying like, ‘You’re the cat’s pajamas, you’re really neat!’ The logo for ARTS/West is also a cat, so I thought it fit nicely.”

People can bring clothing by the garbage bag to the exchange, where volunteers will sort through and categorize it. If the volunteers find anything that’s not up to their quality standards, they’ll throw it out.

“I like to say if a human can wear it, we will take it,” Beveridge said. “We take children’s, men’s and women’s clothes, we just do not typically put out things that are really ripped or damaged.”

If participants donate clothes to ARTS/West before the exchange, they’ll receive a golden ticket that allows them to take as many clothes as they want, but they still must pay the entry fee. People are also allowed to bring items of clothing to the exchange itself and take as many clothes as they brought. Each additional item is $1. Once participants pay the entry fee, they are allowed to come and go as many times as they want.

The Cat’s Pajamas Clothing Exchange will take place Thursday and Friday night, as well as all day Saturday.

In a past year, Cat’s Pajamas Clothing Exchange raised close to $5,000 for ARTS/West, and Beveridge hopes to raise beyond that amount this year. 

Beveridge has estimated the value of clothing the exchange has received to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“We’ve had Italian leather trench coats, lots of vintage pieces and even some Gucci,” Beveridge said. “But there’s also some amazing t-shirts and sweatshirts that are hilarious. People want them just because of how different they are.”

In celebration of the clothing exchange’s 10-year anniversary, ARTS/West will be offering an upcycled art activity free to the public. Danette Pratt will be running a small workshop where participants will create decorative badges.

“People can embellish the badges with beads, buttons and ribbons,” Pratt said. “I looked up some things on Pinterest and thought the idea sounded fine. It’s just a small project that is fun to make. Something you can put on your jacket and walk out.”

Matthew Connell, a sophomore studying math and physics, sees how the Cat’s Pajamas Clothing Exchange could be a good opportunity to find something of quality for his wardrobe.

“I’m always looking for some new clothes responsibly found, because I like secondhand clothing,” Connell said. “People have already picked out the good stuff for you to choose from, so you can skip out on the bad stuff.”


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