Sunday, 23 November 2014

The light hearted side to charity shopping

After releasing a strong worded warning outlining my concerns about the resale of fur in charity shops, I now want to counter balance this by sharing with you what I consider to be the best aspect of charity shop fashion; the unpredictability of what you will buy next.

My latest purchase is a dress that I cant say I am wholly in love with. It is certainly not the type of outfit that I had been desperately searching around for and to be honest I haven't worn it once since I bought it. But I do know there will be a time and a place when it is just perfect!

However the thing I like most about it is I have not seen anything like it, well ever.  Nor am I likely to see anything of the sort cropping up on the high street anytime soon.  And for that reason alone, I am still very happy I bought it.

Cotton dress, £12, Oxfam Covent Garden

Friday, 10 October 2014

The dark side of sustainable fashion

Following on from my last blogpost hailing charity shops as havens for top quality fabrics, I stumbled upon the video below which really made me think about the examples charity shops set to the fashion industry.  The video shows one of the most shocking depictions of animal cruelty I have ever seen, in which a rabbit's fur is ripped from its body whilst it screams in pain.  This, it turns out, is how they make Angora.

Whilst there has been an ongoing campaign to ban this product from the UK fashion industry, with many big brands such as GAP adhering to the boycott, it can still be found in many vintage and charity shops all over the country.

Why is this?  Well there can be no denying that the resale of fur is a lucrative business for struggling charities. Not only does it provide a great source of income, but it gives the shop an air of prestige by stocking such high quality items. More importantly however there is an ease of conscience that comes with recycled fur. "It's already dead" or "It's making the animal's death more worthwhile" are easy excuses to justify wearing the skin of a dead animal.

However, what isn't recognised is the example recycled fur is setting to the public; reversing years of campaigning and instead making fur an acceptable sight on the high street once again. Without Oxfam tags dangling from the collar of coats, there is little way of identifying vintage fur from new fur. Thus, a culture of fur wearing has slowly been introduced back in to the UK and consequently new trends have been established.

So what can be done about this?  I propose charity shops enforce their own ban on unethical clothing, falling in line with industry standards that are in place for a good reason. However lucrative it may be, the resale of fur means charities are profiting from injustice and therefore undermining everything they stand for. If charities aren't prepared to unite, stand up and set an example against cruelty, how can we expect others to?

If you would like to find out more about the campaign against Angora, click here

Saturday, 4 October 2014

That Autumn Feeling

Here are my top picks from my autumn charity shop finds.  This season's collection brought with it a focus on quality and comfort which is rare outside of the charity shop world.

Cashmere, Lambs Wool and Angora are all fabrics that you would struggle to find on the high street meaning I've had little experience with them.  However, now I've had a taste for what clothes should really feel like, there's no going back! Luckily, charity shops are full of good quality knitwear, you just need to start looking for it!

Red Jumper £5.99 British Heart Foundation
92% Wool

Tartan Jacket £10.99 Cancer Research UK Fort William
70% Wool, 3% Cashmere

White Cardigan £3.99 British Heart Foundation Harborne
50% Cotton, 25% Linen

Mustard Sweater £4.99 Marie Curie Finsbury Park
70% Lambswool, 20% Angora

Blue Gap Dress £4.99 St Luke's Hospice Sheffield
70% Cotton 

I would just like to thank my beautiful friend Shobs for her wonderful photography for this shoot.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

What does one wear to the Opera?

So what does one wear to the Opera?  It's not a thought that crosses your mind daily but if you were faced with an upcoming visit, what would you reply?

I guess there is no right or wrong answer but one thing is guaranteed, you're going to be judged!  Broken into 3 parts with 2 lengthy intervals in between, the Opera is less about the show itself and more about showing off.  Leaving the fur coats to the aristocracy, I wanted something neat and tidy without looking like I was desperately trying to compete with the Manolos of this world.

Luckily, I managed to find a rather smart looking vintage silk shirt from my local charity shop that I decided to pair with some charity shop shoes and a plain skirt from Topshop.  With my total outfit costing an absolute pittance, I was free to stroll around, smug in the knowledge that most would be horrified if they knew just where my outfit had come from.

So remember, be proud of where you shop! Just because it didn't cost the earth, doesn't mean you can't look like it did!

Vintage 'Planet' silk shirt - £3.00 from Isabel Hospice's Cuffley Shop
Leather patent shoes - £10.00 from Oxfam's Cardiff Shop