This morning, I swapped until I (nearly) dropped. And it was awesome.

Remember the Gazelle Skirt fashion blog? My friends Jenn, Amy and I launched it a couple months ago. One of the readers suggested a clothing swap and so we brainstormed it a bit and came up with a way to make it a clothing drive for the women’s prison.

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It went like this…

1. Have participants bring clothes that are in good condition, but they no longer want.
2. For each item of clothing they bring, they can take one item home. Swap!
3. Items left at the end of the day are donated to one of the local prisons.
4. Invite some of our favorite fashionable local vendors to sell at the event.
5. Invite Ndeye, an amazing woman who has volunteered in Dakar’s prisons for more than 15 years.
6. Provide some coffee, tea and pastries.
7. Charge an admission fee to cover expenses and transportation of the donations to the prisons.

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Well ladies readers, the first Gazelle Skirt event was a very fashionable success! Thank you so much to all of you who came out to participate (ahem, drop-n-shop) in the SWAP and who helped out with setting up, folding and refolding, cleaning up and just lending a hand wherever needed.

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Ndeye, we thank you for your tireless service to the women and children in prisons in the Dakar region. It is an honor and privilege to come alongside you in this work. The total count was over 20 big bags of clothing for women’s prisons and 5 bags of clothing for children living with their mothers in prison.

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On a sidenote… some people donated clothing items for babies and men that could not be used in the SWAP. But it was perfect timing! The three places Cheikh volunteers regularly are the pouponnière (children’s home), Keru Yakar (House of Hope) medical center and the Beer Sheba agricultural project… and these places need baby clothes and men’s clothes respectively! It worked out amazingly well.

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Now back to the shopping… below you’ll find information on today’s vendors and how to get in touch with them for placing orders.

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Anne de la V. boutique

Clothing and accessories made using very high quality and rare West African fabrics. Bestsellers include her sandals (8,000cfa), flowing skirts and linen dresses with African accents.

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Find her boutique: Ouakam, Cité Asecna, near Brioche Dorée. With Brioche Dorée behind you, it’s four blocks down on your right. The boutique will be on your left. Shop the collection or place a custom order. Open Monday thru Saturday, 10am to 7pm

Find her on Facebook.

Call her: 77 606 6162 (English or French)

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Diami’s Jewels

Beaded and other handmade jewelry at fantastic prices. Bestsellers include her multicolor coconut bracelets and necklaces, a wide selection of earrings at 500cfa and black beaded necklaces that can be layered. If you get together a group of your shopping buddies, she’ll make house calls!

Call her: 77 536 5405 (English or French)

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Rama Diaw

It’s a name that nearly everyone knows, but we also have gotten to know the beautiful woman behind the name. Although Rama was unable to make the trip down from St-Louis, we appreciate Amy’s stepping in to bring us the very best from up north.

Bestsellers include ‘the Amy dress’, wedge heels and other accessories – all in gorgeous wax prints.

Find her boutique: rue Blaise Diagne, Saint-Louis

Find her on Facebook.

Call her: 33 961 99 52 (French)

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Artisans in the prisons

The women in Liberté 6 and Rufisque prisons are learning craft skills, such as embroidery and beading, that our shoppers really appreciated! To purchase more or arrange a vendor for a sale event, send us an email at and we’ll put you in touch with the coordinator.

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