30 April, 2017

Fashion Revolution Week: Haulternative III


In April 2014 I heard about a campaign (led by Fashion Revolution) calling for us to ask fashion brands where our clothes came from or, in short, #whomademyclothes. The campaign was launched because in the previous year, on April 24th 2013, the Rana Plaza collapsed. This resulted in 1,138 people losing their lives. Many more people were injured. The Rana Plaza had been supplying clothes to the western market. I remember watching the news showing the aftermath of the collapse and feeling completely helpless. I began to question where our clothes were coming from. I began to think that it didn't make sense that a T-Shirt can cost less than a morning coffee. How were clothes becoming so cheap to buy? Journalist Lucy Siegle points out that 'fast fashion isn't free. Someone somewhere is paying'. It was in April 2013 that 1,138 mothers/fathers/sons/daughters/sisters/brothers paid the ultimate price for fast fashion. The collapse of the Rana Plaza wasn't even an isolated incident as far as fashion disasters go. Six months prior a fire in another factory killed 112 people.

I find this topic hard to write about. I find it hard because it's so important. Something has to be done which is why I fully support Fashion Revolution. They are calling for change. They are calling for greater transparency within the fashion industry so we can ensure that companies are not exploiting those who make the clothes. The change could mean a safer fashion industry that values people and the environment whilst still being fun, creative and bloomin' exciting for all those involved, from designer to maker to consumer.

Last year (and the year before!) I got involved by doing a 'haulternative'. A 'haulternative' is an alternative haul, showing that you can refresh your wardrobe without buying new clothes from the high-street. I have always based my 'haulternative' on charity shopping and other second-hand purchases. So, for the third year running, here is my version of a 'haulternative'. A collection of my favourite second-hand outfits over the past 12 months.

Spring 

Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution

Last spring I was all about the comfort. I was completing an HNC in Costume and was spending a lotta lotta time sewing, fighting with mannequins and fitting big ol' dresses so comfort was key. The blue floral shirt was perfect because it was as comfortable as they come. It's slouchy but colourful and kind of looks like some sort of outfit effort has been made when thrown on. It was an Oxfam purchase and is currently featured on Oxfam's website as part of their #FoundinOxfam campaign.

The cardigan is possibly my favourite colour EVER. Spotted immediately as I walked into a Cancer Research UK shop last spring, it proved to be the perfect cover up for those in-between weather days. It then went on to be the perfect layering piece throughout autumn/winter when I wanted to add a little colour to those predominately grey/black outfits. 

Summer

Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution

Summer is the season I usually find hardest to dress for. I can never remember what I wore the year before and usually end up wearing inappropriately warm clothes more suitable for autumn/winter. The Oxfam floral shirt saw me through summer (as it did spring). The check blue shorts were also an old favourite that I dug out on the warmer days because I loved them as much as I did when I picked them up in Oxfam many, many years ago. 

Summer charity shop purchases included the pink floral shorts (which became a firm favourite), the gingham shirt (which goes with absolutely everything) and the silk floral skirt which, as well as wearing with a shirt and being a bit of a smartie pants (as I did here), I also enjoyed wearing with a dark grey/black band t-shirt for a slightly more dressed down look. Finally I picked up the denim studded shirt because I saw it in my local All Aboard and it was too brilliantly unique to leave! 

Autumn 

Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution

With Autumn came a whole lot of velvet. I re-wore (many a times) my purple shirt which my friend got me from Oxfam a few years ago. I also picked up a maxi, dark blue, velvet dress which, being strappy, was perfect for layering over t-shirts and jumpers (as I did with the grey roll-neck photographed).

I also picked up a few favourite jumpsuits. The black culotte jumpsuit was a Sue Ryder purchase and was possibly the thing I wore most last year. I dressed it down with converse and big ol' jumpers for the day but also wore it out in the evenings a hell'uva lot with high boots and shirts undernearth. I started a new job towards the end of the year and think my colleagues may have thought this was the only item of clothing I owned until 2017. The black floral jumpsuit was a Barnardo's purchase and was autumn dressing at it's easiest. Thrown on over a roll-neck knit with a leather jacket and it was ready to go. For the lazy dresser like me, it's bloody perfect.

Occasionally, I head into London to mooch around the vintage shops and it was last October that I picked up the cosiest dark green jumper (worn above with jeans). By upcycling an old jumper, Rokit modernised it and I know I'm going to wear it for years to come. 

Winter

Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution

On New Years Eve I picked up one of my biggest bargains of 2016. The heavily embellished, beaded top (in the second picture of this section) rang through the till at £3.50 at the most perfect time. A few hours later I put it on and it saw me through to 2017 wonderfully with a tulle black skirt and super-duper high shoes. Other favourite purchases made in the winter included the polka dot skirt (and shirt) from Barnardo's and the green jumper and patchwork dress, both Oxfam! 

As well as picking up new favourites in winter, I continued to wear the black, culotte jumpsuit because it was super easy for layering. Another layering number I spotted in my local Cancer Research UK was the khaki suede calf-length coat. After a little um-ing and ah-ing I snapped it up, and I'm so glad I did. I have worn it so much. As well as going with pretty much all of my outfits, it's something I haven't seen on the high-street, making it that little extra special. It's unique and the fact that buying it meant donating to charity makes it all the more special!
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23 April, 2017

An Oxfam Spring Haul

#FoundinOxfam

We all know I'm partial to a little shopping in Oxfam. I'm often in there browsing at the weekends and I often leave with new favourites, so when Oxfam mentioned that they would be launching a campaign called #FoundinOxfam I jumped at the chance to get involved and ahem, spend a little more time in Oxfam.  As well as answering a few questions on the Oxfam Fashion Blog, I also finally got around to making my second YouTube video (it's only been over a year since the first). With a £30 limit I picked up some lovely bits in order to update my wardrobe for spring - and summer and autumn and winter for that matter. With £30 I don't believe you could pick much up on the high-street which would be of a decent quality, but in Oxfam I picked up a number of things that I can already tell are going to last me bloomin' years. To see what I picked up you can see the video here. And if you have bought anything in Oxfam then be sure to use the hashtag FoundinOxfam on all the social medias - because I love nothing more than browsing all those wonderful, second-hand purchases! 
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12 April, 2017

Alexa for Oxfam

Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
Shirt: Oxfam, Culottes: H&M, Hat: ASOS, Shoes Converse, Tights: Topshop (Similar)

It's not often when rummaging round a bargain basket that you find a little Archive by Alexa but that's the sort of thing that can happen when you shop in charity shops. Dubbed the The Aire Shirt by Marks and Spencer, this shirt was based on an original version they produced in the eighties. With the eighties coming back around on the high-street (cue big shoulders and a whole lot of colour), this metallic shirt provides me with that little modern twist on the decade that bought us the best of Madonna and George Michael's Faith. Being in the bargain basket and ringing through the till at £1.99, it was my way of incorporating that trend into my wardrobe whilst still being able to leave the shop completely debt and guilt free - which is one of the many, many reasons second-hand shopping remains to be my absolute favourite kind. 

Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
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04 April, 2017

Why I prefer Charity Shopping

Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop FashionDress: Oxfam, Hat: ASOS, Shoes: Dr Martens 

It's no secret that I have penchant for all shops second-hand. Over the years my list of shops to visit on a Saturday has shifted from Topshop and River Island to Oxfam and Barnardo's. It's been an unconscious shift but as I plan on visiting my local Oxfam this Saturday, it got me thinking how it has been a fair while since I set out for the dizzy lights of Oxford Street. And I don't miss it. Here are just a few reasons why I now prefer pondering around those charity shops at any given chance.

1. You can bag a bargain. Or eight. After heading back to college (7 years after leaving the first time) to retain in Costume, I wasn't able to shop on the high-street due to a serious lack of funds. However, I was able to venture into my local Oxfam and pick up a few bits and pieces that have actually ended up being more loved and reused than my most thought out high-street purchases.

2. It's all for a brilliant cause. Rather than your hard earned money profiting someone in a suit, high up in a chain, you are donating to Oxfam to enable them to provide aid to those most in need. You are donating to Barnardo's to help them reach the most vulnerable of children. You are donating to Cancer Research to help fund pioneering research. Knowing that the money will be helping someone, somewhere makes my shopping experience a lot less filled with guilt!

3. And finally, it's a surprise. You can wonder in not knowing what you're after or what will be on offer but you can end up leaving with anything from a little vintage designer to that long paisley pink shirt that you never knew you needed but will see you through spring/summer worn as a dress and autumn/winter for that necessary extra layer. Because of this uncertainty of what will be on offer, I find second-hand shopping much more creative and fun. The outfit hasn't been displayed on a mannequin next to all the garments needed to make up the outfit. This means you can put your own spin on an outfit and leave with something completely unique.

And that's it. Three reasons why I find charity shopping more rewarding, creative and enjoyable.

Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
Charity Shop Fashion
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