A Day In The Life of an Oxfam Shop Volunteer: Christmas Eve Edition

Last year my brother Mark and I returned to our teenage haunt, Oxfam Broad Street, to volunteer on Christmas Eve. We’d both volunteered throughout our teenage years, going in during the school holidays when our Mum volunteered or stopping by for the occasional weekend, so we were excited to go back for a special Christmas shift whilst we were back at the family home.

First of all I stocked up the accessories whilst my brother watched the till on the women’s wear floor (where he supplied very inexpert style advice to unsuspecting customers trying things on). We had a special request from a customer who needed a new pair of leather gloves after leaving hers in a train station the day before. I went on a hunt to try and find a pair in the back room and, after finding around 20 left gloves and no rights, found a pair she was happy with. We chatted with her about her last minute Christmas shopping and she showed us a beautifully illustrated antique
book shed bought from the Oxfam bookshop around the corner from Broad Street. She left happy with her new gloves but not before giving us a huge chunk of fudge that shed got from the local sweet shop earning her the status as my brothers favourite customer ever!

Join the Team at Oxfam this Christmas

After a while the volunteer who’d been doing the main till left and Mark took over whilst I went up to the backroom to take a look at the mending that had been left for me. As one of the few volunteers with experience in sewing my visits to Broad Street always involve being presented with a bag of clothes that need a bit of TLC to get them out on the shop floor. I only had a couple of things left for me on this shift. After sewing up a loose button I took a look at a hat which had a band that had become loose. I could tell that it had been glued on in the first place so decided
that super glue was the way to fix it… Five minutes, later after lots of cold water and help from Dage and Simon (the shop managers), I managed to get the super glue tube unstuck from my thumb and returned the hat and still unstuck band back into the donation pile for someone else to try their luck on!

I joined my brother on the downstairs till where Christmas FM was happily filling the ground floor. Mark had managed to find his old till login which had been set up when he was 15. It had a slightly unfortunate winking face ūüėČ after his name making him feel like his till receipts were flirting with every customer that came in! The shop had a busy excited vibe as people rushed in for last minute wrapping paper, Divine chocolate, Oxfam Unwrapped gifts and quirky presents from the
donated stock. We had a bit of a crisis when we managed to make the till angry with us so we couldn’t do anything on it and the queue of customers started to back up across the shop. After a bit of panic Simon came to save us and I sent Mark upstairs with half the customers to use my login on the women’s wear till whilst me and Simon got through the other half downstairs.

Just before our shift ended the town security walkie-talkie burst into life and we heard the staff from the Superdrug around the corner start singing ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ to all the shop staff in Oxford working the Christmas Eve shift.

We had a great day volunteering at Oxfam and I’d really encourage anyone to go in and volunteer (Santa hats optional!). Whether just for Christmas – to help sort stock, tidy the shop floor, schedule some festive social media or great a Christmassy display – or to get involved for longer, you’re sure to be welcomed at Oxfam. Many of the shops have already started their Christmas windows so I challenge you to tackle their creativity in your local Oxfam!

 

Merry Christmas everybody!

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My Top Tips for Newbie Fashion Charity Shoppers

I have been charity shopping for years now, and for a long time I would avoid the clothing rails altogether. It seems ludicrous now, but I never had much luck finding anything I liked, or perhaps I wasn’t as open minded back then. These days, I make sure I check every part of the shop and consequently I’ve come away with some great finds!

My first rule of thumb is to skim past all of the ex-Primark, supermarket brands – my reasoning being that these pieces were cheap to begin with, so why pay the same price for secondhand? Secondly, check all areas – that’s right, men’s and women’s clothing. All items can be altered relatively cheaply, buttons can be replaced, holes darned and zips fixed. What you’re looking for is well made pieces (you can’t go wrong with 100% cotton, wool or leather if you wear it…) in prints that you love with no dodgy stains or marks that you’ll never be able to
get out.

Finally, bonus points if you have items in mind that you’d love to find so that you have some focus when you go shopping. Pinterest is perfect for saving images of different looks and items of clothing you like, and I keep a fantasy shopping list in the notes on my phone. Of course, with charity shopping you never know what you’ll find, but persevere and go in every charity shop you come across. I have a thing for coats and jackets so I always look for those. My collection is growing a little out of hand, but I have now ticked-off all of the styles I was looking for.

Unfortunately, while most women my age are taking their styling inspiration from Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, it occurred to me that I look like I’ve been watching one too many episodes of Only Fools and Horses and have every coat and jacket as seen on Del-Boy and Rodney Trotter.

 

 

Credit picture 1: Daily Mail / Credit Picture 2:  Birmingham Mail



It began with the flannel shirt. Plaid shirts are another growing collection of mine, and I love this particular shirt as it’s thick enough to wear as a lightweight jacket and I love the bison logo on the label! A steal for ¬£3. What I thought was a nineties grunge staple √° la Judd Nelson punching the air at the end of The Breakfast Club, turned out to be reminiscent of Rodney’s lumberjack coat.

 



Then along came the £10 shearling wool coat. I had been hunting for one for years but every one I came across previously was far too big or far too expensive.  What I thought was the perfect seventies winter coat, is actually perfect for channelling your inner Del Boy selling wind-up barking dogs out of a suitcase on the high-streets of Peckham.

 



Finally, the ¬£7 camo jacket. I thought a camo jacket would be a great “Oh, this old thing?!” jacket to throw on over a t-shirt, and would look great with a pop of colour worn underneath (think Mickey with her bright red swimsuit and camo combo in Netflix’s Love) but it turns out it’s another Rodney Trotter go-to.

I may have left the south-east to live in Manchester, but sartorially I’ll always be a Trotter. But please remember, my name’s not Rodney, it’s Sarah.

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Oxfam Halloween Pop-up shop in London!

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A Pop-Up Halloween Surprise from Oxfam’s Festival Shop Team

by Oxfam Fashion volunteer Maddi Ruiz

The festival season is over but that is not reason for our Oxfam Festival Shop Team to settle back. As the most terrifying day of the year is approaching, and people are desperately looking for the perfect costume, Oxfam has stepped forward and set a small pop-up shop in London.

pop up shop decoration

Located in Boxpark, a small and cosy shopping centre in the arty Shoreditch area, you have the chance to find genuine treasures. I greatly enjoyed volunteering there for a few hours. It was a real pleasure to be surrounded of absolutely lovely, precious and especially, unique clothing! Going charity shopping is the only way you will find that uniqueness you are looking for as you will rarely find two same items.

 

People at the shop 1

 

All these clothes displayed are brought from our Oxfam Wastesaver in Batley, West Yorkshire. You will be able to find assorted outfits, second-hand or brand-new, cashmere or also luxurious brands like Burberry or Christian Lacroix. From dark and Gothic dresses, to red devil or even shiny and glamorous look, all of them donated to Oxfam. Not only that but accessories like hats or wigs are also available! They have
all been carefully selected by our volunteers for an occasion like Halloween.


Tinkerbell and CruelaCleopatra and Ariel




We raised around £4.000 last year and we intend to beat that number with your help, fighting the poverty all together.

If you still haven’t got your fancy dress for this Halloween come around, and we will help you with last minute costume ideas. You can find us from Tuesday 24th until Sunday 29th of October 2017 in unit 26 of Boxpark Shoreditch. Don’t miss this opportunity!

 

Remember to share all your findings with us @oxfamfashion #foundinoxfam

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How to make a terrifying cushion for Halloween

By Cassie of cassiefairy.com

Bring a touch of Halloween fun into every room of the house this October by adding some custom-made soft furnishings. This project will help you to turn a t-shirt with a spooky design into a throw pillow to make your sofa look spooky or your bedroom more bonkers.

Pick up a tee at a charity shop or, if your little ones have outgrown last year’s Halloween costume, you could recycle the fabric. This ghoulish cushion will bring a touch of scariness to your autumn d√©cor or can be used to create a gothic look in your home all year round.

You will need: A t-shirt with spooky design, scissors, matching thread, needle or sewing machine, pins, cushion pad.



  1. Iron the t-shirt flat and lay your cushion pad on top of the design.

 

  1. Use the edges of the cushion pad as a guide to cut up one side of the t-shirt.

 

  1. Fold the t-shirt in half down the centre and then cut along the other side in line with the first cut.

 

  1. Unfold and use the cushion pad to determine the top line of the fabric and trim across

 

  1. Fold in half width-wise and trim across the bottom – this piece will be the front of your cushion

How to make a cushion case

  1. Create an ‘envelope’ opening for the back of the cushion by using fabric from the back of the t-shirt.

 

  1. Use the hemmed bottom edge as the top envelope flap and cut a piece that’s half he width of the front piece.
  1. Use the rest of the fabric to cut a piece that’s 2/3rds of the front piece.

 

  1. Layer the fabric pieces with the design facing up, then the smaller hemmed piece (with hem across the centre of the design), with the 2/3rds piece on top.

 

  1. Pin around all the edges then straight-stitch around the edges with matching thread. You could use a sewing machine or hand-stitch the three layers together.

 

  1. Turn the cushion cover right-side out and stuff with the cushion pad.

 


You can make a few cushions in a variety of colours and designs to create a soft-yet-scary corner on your sofa, or throw one onto your guest bed to scare visitors when they come to stay over Halloween!

Have a go and share your creations with us @OxfamFashion #foundinoxfam

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How to Use Preloved Style to Stay On-Trend in the Workplace

The Daily Mail recently challenged its readers to identify the preloved Oxfam outfit from the high-street outfit. So I wanted to see whether work outfits exclusively from Oxfam Online Shop could live up to the latest styles. The way you dress in the workplace says a lot about your work attitude and, according to Rudi Dalman, “we all often think about impressing our boss,” but can you
impress them with your thrifted wardrobe?

Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional it’s easy to be too busy to keep up to date with the latest fashion and styles. I’ve come up with my list of must-have items to keep an eye out for on your next charity shop crawl to get the perfect on trend work wardrobe for less.

 
  • A Go-To Blazer

Wear it with a comfortable denim or as a part of the two-piece, it will make you look extraordinary in both cases. Stash it on the back of your office chair to combat the office.

  • Button Down Cotton Shirts

Wearing cotton button down shirts at work is great but having too many white cotton button down shirts gets boring. Go for different but classy colours and pair with classic slacks for a Jenna Lyons look!

Smart Casual from Oxfam Online Shop: Jeans (Levi, Size 32″, ¬£14.99) / Jacket (Next, Size 12, ¬£9.99) / Blouse (Reiss, Size 8, ¬£6.99) / Shoes (Guess, Size 7.5, ¬£24.99) / Watch (Quartz,¬£12.99)

  • Denim for Fridays

Yes, you can wear jeans at the workplace, but make sure they’re not distressed boyfriend jeans or too tight dandy ones! Instead, pick something which goes with your workplace and looks professional in a meeting. Once you are done with work, you can straight go to a bar to enjoy the weekend.

  • Ankle Length Slacks

An ankle length slack is good to go for Monday blues. Ankle length is very ‘in’ at the moment as they look very elegant. As winter is on its way, try pairing them with a button down shirt and blazer.

Work Dresses from Oxfam Online Shop: Dress 1 (M&S, Size 8, £29.99) / Dress 2 (M&S, Size 14, £9.99) / Dress 3 (H&M, Size M, £5.99)

  • Knee Length Dresses

Add a few knee length dresses to your workplace wardrobe. There are a variety of knee length dresses which you can wear at the workplace like a long sleeve polka dot dress or a floral design. You can also go for a classy LBD (Little Black Dress) and try on a pair of black heels with it!

  • A Day-to-Night Dress

There can be a party invitation during weekdays and you can’t give excuses like “I have work to do,” right? Don’t miss happy hours just because you have to rush home after work to change. So, pick a dress which can help you slay your fashion look and make you look elegant at the workplace and fun-loving at your favourite bar.

  • ¬†Tailored Pencil Skirt

Find a perfectly tailored pencil skirt which suits you the best. It is easy to get dressed and makes you look sophisticated for the workplace. You can even save few morning minutes.

Work Outfit from Oxfam Online Shop: Blouse (Ossie Clark, Size 10, £14.99) / Skirt (River Island, Size 14, £7.99) / Shoes (Sam Edelman, Size 7, £25.99)/ Watch (Accurist, £7.99) / Coat (Vintage Aquascutum, Size M, £70.00)

  • A Mix of Blouses

Choose bright and happy colours for week days like Wednesdays and Thursdays, when you are so tired of your hectic week. A mix of colourful yet sophisticated blouses will make you look gorgeous regardless how tired you are! You can try them with comfortable denim or classy slacks, whatever you prefer.

  • Trench Coats

The chilly weather is around the corner and you surely don’t want to get cold. How about wearing a turtle neck paired with jeans and trench coat this winter? It will make you warm and stylish at the same time.



 Do any Oxfam items feature in your work wardrobe? Share your favourite finds with us using #foundinoxfam on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

 

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What Fashion Means To Me: Ceri Heathcote’s View

In some ways the word ‘fashion’ has some quite negative connotations for me.¬† Fashion is often associated with clothing that is worn as a way of fitting in. To me it implies an almost slavish devotion to wearing what has been decreed by the fashion powers to be as ‘on trend’.

The definition of fashion in the Cambridge dictionary ¬†as ¬†‘a¬†style¬†that is¬†popular¬†at a¬†particular¬†time‘ implies that
we would only choose to wear something because others are wearing it and also that we should change our style regularly to keep up with the latest fashion, which these days can change in the blink of an eye. This week it green is the new black, next week navy!

The emergence of ‘fast fashion’, allowing low cost clothing to be quickly manufactured in the latest style along with the dictation of trends by fashion magazines, has led to some of the big issues around sustainability in the clothing industries with unimaginable amounts of clothing being consigned to landfill. Clothing has become disposable as people try to keep up with the latest style of the season or lookalike designer and use shopping as a past time to satisfy their boredom.

That said, I often use the word ‘fashion’ to refer to clothing in a more general sense. In this respect, clothing or fashion is almost the opposite to the real meaning of fashion. It is about expressing myself and my personality in a creative way. It is about standing out from the crowd and looking different rather than fitting in and being the same. I don’t want to be told what to wear, I want to decide what to wear. I love bright patterns, bold prints and statement accessories but my clothes also have to be practical for my busy lifestyle.

I also think that fashion should make you feel good about yourself. For me this means that the clothing should have been made ethically with a minimal impact on the environment. Shopping in Oxfam shops gives me a way to indulge my love of the clothes and update my wardrobe whilst minimising my impact on the environment and helping a worthwhile cause.

 

I also focus on buying good quality new pieces that I can keep and treasure for years. Brands like People Tree, Thought Clothing, Bibico and Nomads, are all great for beautiful and unique styles. With these brands, I know where and how the clothes have been made and can feel confident that people are not being just so that I can keep up with the latest trend.

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How to DIY your own Lace Bottom Tailored Trousers

As all you fashion lovers will have probably seen in almost every high street shop, Lace trousers are totally on trend this season! Why not Revamp some boring old trousers into an on trend pair of beauties?

What you need

– Some Old Trousers

– A Lace

– A Sewing Machine

– Needle & Thread

If you don’t own any old trousers, come and visit us in any of our local Oxfam Shops or in our Online shop.

Follow these steps

1. ¬†First of all, I started by shortening my trousers by 7″. When shortening I took into account that the hem was 1inch so overall they would be 8 inch shorter. If your not sure how much to take off, put them on and ask someone to give you a hand measuring so you can see how long you want them.

 

2. Secondly, I turned the raw edge over by 1.5cm and did a full machine stitch all the way around to hold in place. The reason I didn’t use an over locker is because I know many people don’t own one so I have done the way everyone would be able to do if they owned a sewing machine, but with an over locker would be much quicker and easier.

 

3. Then turn up again another 1.5 cm and sew. This will lock in the raw edge and make a nice neat new French seam.

 

 

4. Now to the best bit using whichever lace you desire.

I used heavy weight hole lace which is easy to cut into shapes to appliqué on. I cut the same parts of the lace for both the front and back of the trousers so they match. Pin in place making sure both legs are matching!

 

5. Finally, ¬†using a needle and thread I did little tack stitches on parts of the lace where it wouldn’t be seen to hold it to the trousers!



 

And…Da Da! You have your own on trend lace hem trousers!


Don’t forget to share all your creations with us @OxfamFashion #foundinoxfam

Post written by¬†Leah Topham, volunteer at¬†Oxfam Batley¬†where she helps upcycle the clothes. She’s written this series called Rags to Riches where she lets us in on
her DIY secrets, keep your eye out for her next post! You can also check out her last one ‘How to make a Victorian D&G dress’

 

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5 Reasons to Buy Your Wedding Dress From Oxfam

With the average cost of a wedding in the UK estimated at £25,000 what better way to get fantastic value for money than buying your dress at Oxfam Online Shop or in one our our Bridal Boutiques? Not only will you look good but you will feel great knowing your cash is being used to fight poverty. Oxfam Bridal even recently featured on an episode of Say Yes To The Dress!

 

Here are my top 5 reasons why you should try Oxfam Bridal for your wedding gown:

1. Huge selection

Oxfam has over 1,000 vintage wedding dresses from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and contemporary styles online. The online site makes it really easy to search through our selections from the comfort of your own home. Your dress will be delivered by courier to your door and we offer free returns. What could be simpler?

2. Unique Styles

Want something different that will make you stand out from the crowd? Your friends looked amazing in their traditional gowns but you want something that little bit different. Maybe you are planning a vintage wedding with a 50s feel just like film star Grace Kelly or have your heart set on a classic 90s minimalist affair.

3. Brand new and designer dresses

Oxfam has a selection of dresses that are brand new with tags still attached offering brides-to-be excellent value at a fraction of the RRP. The Batley range currently includes dresses from big name designers including Vera Wang, Biba and Jasper Conran!

4. Manage costs

The average cost of a UK wedding is estimated at £25,000 Рthat is a sum that is out of reach for many. The dress is often one of the biggest costs and by using Oxfam you can find your dream dress at a fraction of the cost. Prices currently start at £39.99.

5. Help make a difference

By buying from Oxfam you are supporting our work fighting poverty in Britain and around the world. Because of you we can campaign for girls around the world to be educated, respond to disasters and help get women into work. Buying one dress has the power to change lives; it means we can provide support for eight refugees or buy a family of goats. Thank you for your support, we won’t live with poverty and we know you won’t either.

But don’t take our word for it. Here are the thoughts of some of our customers:

“I chose to buy my dress from Oxfam because I liked that I could give something back” Kat

“It’s a brand new Johanna Hehir dress‚Ķ.it was the first dress I tried on and it felt really special” Lucy

Shop online now or visit our Bridal Pop-Up Shop in Batley

Don’t forget to share pictures of your best finds with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using #foundinoxfam

Post written by Joanne Ginley, a sometime blogger and volunteer at Oxfam Online. She says “Ask anyone who knows me and they will confirm clothes shopping is my favourite hobby! I love nothing more than scouring the shops or searching online for a real bargain. I’m a firm believer in the power of accessories and am currently developing a real liking for homeware.”

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5 Top Tips for Charity Shopping from Preloved Style Expert Paloma in Disguise

I have done a few charity shop outfit round-up’s over on my blog, Paloma In Disguise, throughout the years but I have never done an Oxfam round-up over here, on the Oxfam Fashion Blog. I thought it was about time since many, many of my photographed blog outfits over the years have consisted of a lotta, lotta Oxfam.¬†

Combined with a few tips to ensure you get the most out of second-hand shopping I thought I would go through a few of my favourite Oxfam purchases.

 

Tip 1: Visit Often

My number one tip to ensure you get the most out of charity shopping is to visit often. Whether it’s a fleeting visit as you have a few minutes to spare, a scroll on Oxfam Online Shop or you have decided to spend the afternoon browsing the charity shops. Due to the nature of charity shops, you never know when someone your size, with your style and a beautiful wardrobe has dropped of a whole load of loveliness. The more you visit, the more likely you are to find things, from the quirky vintage dress you didn’t know you needed (which was
the case with my paisley pink, full length shirt) or the jumper in the style and colour you had been after for bloomin’ ages. By going fairly often (read: a lot!) I have found a heavily embellished top for New Years Eve, a black midi dress convenient for every single day of my life and a glitterball of a jumper that dresses up even the most casual of outfits! The term ‘right place, right time’ was invented for charity shopping – I’m sure!


Boots, belts and bags
Tip 2: Don’t forget the Accessorise

I should listen to my own advice here. I’m first to the rail of dresses in all charity shops. It’s like I’m on a mission – and that mission is to rummage through every single dress. Then before I know it, it’s time to leave and I walk straight out past the basket FULL of bargain belts. I have found some amazing belts, necklaces and bags over the years that really are a fraction of their original high-street/designer price. Charity shop bargains at their absolute best.


Tip 3: With a little DIY…

Sometimes charity shopping can be daunting in that it’s unlikely you are going to find exactly what you’re after. However, that doesn’t stop you buying something similar and adapting it a little. After a specific slogan T-Shirt? Chances are your local charity shop will sell plain t-shirt’s that, with a few iron on letters from the ol’ internet, can lead to exactly the slogan t-shirt you were after. I shared my own how-to with Oxfam Fashion and created my own lil’ slogan top here. Hems
can be taken up and waistbands can be taken in. One of my most worn Oxfam dresses was my denim button front dress which was originally so long in the length that I would have had a denim train had I left it long. After cutting the hem of to suit short ol’ me better, it is still is the dress I go to for a little effortless, comfortable dressing.

 


Tip 4: Be open minded

Another thing I am a repeat offender of. Someone will tell me that they picked something up from Oxfam. Next time I’m in there I will be not-so-unconsciously scouting out for that particular item and chances are, I won’t leave with it because it won’t be there!¬† By looking for specific items, you can miss the things that, with a little thought, can be slotted into your wardrobe perfectly. On the hanger, the check blue shorts weren’t something I thought would work well with the tops and shoes already in my wardrobe. I went ahead and bought these anyway and they
became my absolute favourite outfit when paired with a white shirt and sandals. This was also the case with the check green and red skirt in the autumn before. Worn with thick black tights and either a leather or faux fur jacket, this became my favourite autumnal outfit of 2015. By trying on a few pieces you wouldn’t normally choose, and thinking up a few outfits to incorporate the item into, you can find new favourites you could have missed.

 

Tip 5: Go with a friend

This tip goes with Tip 4. I find that by going with a friend I am more open to trying things I wouldn’t have tried had I been mooching around by myself. By discussing items I am unsure of, my friends can often provide outfit combinations I wouldn’t have thought of or prompt me to try on clothes I may have dismissed. It’s usually these things I end up loving that little bit more.

And that’s it! Five charity shopping tricks I always use to ensure I don’t miss any second-hand bargains. I wish you good luck as you scour the shops for those hidden gems!

 

Enjoyed Hannah’s tips? Put them into practise, head to your local Oxfam or Oxfam Online Shop now.¬†

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What Fashion Means to Me: Georgia Bridgett’s View

For me, the way a piece of clothing is cut, the shape it provides for a particular person, the array of colours we have to choose from, all work together to form a piece that will suit certain people and not others, or will be preferred by some and not others; that I find absolutely fascinating. The reason many of us love fashion is because it is a form of expression, it is empowering. It makes us feel good. I am fascinated with the way designers like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen take basic pieces like the t-shirt and put their creative energy into how it fits and falls. We all love a
beautiful design but we want it to complement different body types and skin tones.

 

My love for personal style led me to start my blog. I wanted to use it as a way of exploring my interests. Since I moved to Liverpool for university I have been rummaging through the abundance of fabulous charity and vintage shops. My finds started to become the heart of my blog and I increasingly started to question the ethical and sustainable status of high street stores. I wanted to understand how and where the garments I was buying were being made. This led me to find some shocking figures. The Guardian printed an
Oxfam report on Unilever’s treatment of its employees in Vietnam. Employees were struggling to provide for their families and ‘Of workers in the Cu Chi factory, 80% said they needed another source of income’.

 

Ethically Conscius

 

Workers in a garment factory in Vietnam where the employees work 12 hour days 6 days a week for as little as $1 an hour (Photo Credit: Eleanor Farmer| Oxfam) 

 

 

So charity and vintage shopping became for me a way of being ethical and sustainable in the consumerist world of fast fashion. It is fantastic that the money we spend on clothes from charity shops are going towards fighting incredible causes. ‘Shining Mothers’ is a women’s group in Nairobi that is supported by Oxfam. Jane, leader of the
women’s group, ‘trains other women on their basic rights and skills for running small businesses.’

 

Jane Muthoni, leader of ‘Shining Mothers’,¬†buying ingredients to make homemade yoghurt which she sells to the local community in Kawangware, Nairobi, Kenya. 2016 (Image Credit:Allan Gichigi/Oxfam)

Despite the amazing benefits of charity shopping, it is a shame that it has a reputation for being for the less fortunate. I used to volunteer at a charity shop and I was often asked if we had any shopping bags that did not say the name of the charity on it. From my perspective they did not want other people to have the view that they couldn’t afford high street fashion. These customers tended to be the older generation whilst the younger generations today appear to be taking charity shopping as a new trend, a way of finding something quirky. I have a
friend who chooses only to shop in charity shops for ethical and sustainable reasons. I’ll always remember a short, deep purple cardigan she bought. It was knitted and had beautiful little buttons sown on and a ribbed rim. When she told me it was from a charity shop my heart sank – it was gorgeous and I was desperate to wear it! Only now with my own little finds do I truly appreciate the satisfaction of owning an item of clothing that contributes to your unique style. These pieces also have a story.¬† Perhaps that cardigan was worn on a trip to Canada or the French Alps. May be
the gorgeous vintage dress I bought from Pop Boutique in Leeds was worn on an evening out in 1960s Paris, walking by the Seine River. Or maybe it was simply worn to a family birthday party, whilst sharing laughs and food in good company. As I sit writing this blog post, a white beige cross-stitched jumper is resting by my side. I bought it today for ¬£6 at a vintage fair in an old Church in the centre of Leeds. I rummaged through the racks of t-shirts, dresses and finally jumpers until I spotted it. The label says ‘CANADA’. Who brought it over here? Was it shipped with many others,
bought as stock? It has history. It will be loved all over again.

 

Laura Jones talking to a customer at the Cowley Road Shop, Oxford.  (Image Credit: Rachel Manns| Oxfam)


I can still appreciate the craftsmanship of designers and show my support for the ones who are environmentally and ethically conscious like Stella McCartney. I can still enjoy a high street purchase but I try to make sure it is from an ethical company.

The most beautiful designs begin with the beauty of ethical working conditions and sustainable sources and I hope one day all of fast fashion will become fair fashion.

 

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What Fashion Means to Me: Nicola Lucas’ view

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