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 – that 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….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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How to make your own Upcycled Vintage D&G Style Dress

Everybody loves a little black dress! But I’m sure you girls out there have one hanging in your wardrobe that could do with a whole new revamp! In just 3 quick steps!

 

I have started with a plain black tight strapless dress and some old vintage buttons. If you do not own a dress to work with you can pick one up at your local Oxfam or Oxfam Online Shop.  And
I’m sure a relative will have a box of old buttons you can use! If not, these are easily found in many charity or antique shops!

 

 

1. Firstly, I gave my dress a quick press to make sure there wasn’t any creases before I pointed out the central line

 

2. Secondly, I started by marking a straight line down the middle of the dress where my buttons will be sewn with tailors chalk. Which will rub straight off with a wet wipe

 

3. Finally, I finished by sewing all my buttons down my line, to reveal a classic plain black dress turned into a Victorian D&G style dress!

 

 

Easy, right? Give it a go and you will see how everyone will be impressed about your Victorian D&G style dress!

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 your own Upcycled Vintage 20′ Cloche Cap

 

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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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How to make your own Upcycled Vintage 20′ Cloche Cap

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!

Everybody has old hats that have been through all weathers and are now on the verge of getting binned! Why not up cycle your old hat, or find a plain one in your local Oxfam or from the Oxfam Online Shop, and transform it into one fit for any special occasion!

 

 

I have started with a plain black felt cloche cap, 5cm wide black lace, 2cm wide black ribbon, and some left over spotty fabric.

 

1.) Firstly I started with my spotty fabric I cut it down so it was approx 11cm wide, I then folded from the bottom to create a little more volume.

 

2.) Then Pleat the fabric as you pin it to your hat …You can choose how you want your hat trim to look. I have worked more towards a flower shape so I have pleated my fabric and pinned in half a circle.

 

3.) Then using a needle and thread, gather the edge of the lace to make it into a circular shape. I gathered two strips of lace, you can do as many as you want and any length depending on the look you’re going for.

 

4.) After Gathering the lace, lay it on top of the fabric already pinned to your hat, keeping in mind the design and shape you’re going for.

 

5.) Then using Ribbon twist it into the shape you desire and tack a few stitched to hold the shape together.

6.) Next, Pin your ribbon into the middle of your lace, and start to stitch down all the fabrics to your hat, remembering to remove all pins afterwards.

 

 

 

And there it is! As easy as that. If you try to do it at home please, remember to share the pictures with us: @OxfamFashion #foundinoxfam

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What Fashion Means to Me: Nicola Lucas’ view

 

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What Fashion Means To Me: Nicola Lucas’s View

By Nicola Lucas

Fashion has always been important to me, ever since I was a little girl I can always remember being drawn to pink, and being quite stereotypically girlie. My mum tells me that I refused to wear pyjamas only nighties, all my sleeves had to be skin tight and I didn’t like anything baggy. So I think I knew what I liked pretty early on. Apart from a stint in uni where I studied Media and TV I have always wanted to work in fashion. Before moving to London to follow that dream people would say to me that London will be expensive, and those fashion offices are cliquey, but that didn’t
stop me, as far as I was concerned I just loved being around fashion whatever environment that was.  In all my experience of working in fashion I would definitely say that the good stuff outweighs any negatives.

Nicola window

Since I moved to London from a small town in South Wales my fashion choices have definitely been influenced by the places I’ve worked and the people I’ve met.  Also my style has certainly evolved. I remember the early days when I was interning and had very little money, I would definitely hunt out charity shop gems, which I still love doing today, you never know what items you’re going to find especially in a charity shop in a new area, something I love to do if I go away anywhere in the UK.

 

When it comes to ethical choices in fashion it’s good we have been made aware of the results of throw away fashion. I know it’s definitely made me think about my shopping habits over the years and I try my best to make considered purchases, I like to know that I’ll get my money’s worth out of something. I’ve learned that over time it is better to spend more on one or two pieces of quality clothing than have a mountain of things that are cheaper and will only last a couple of washes. That’s why I think vintage or pre-loved items can be a great way to build your
wardrobe. Vintage can be very good quality hence why it’s lasted the test of time. I also believe that sometimes it’s good to challenge ourselves with our style choices, so for instance if you only have a budget of £40 to go shopping with, rather spending it all in one place why not learn to thrift you’ll give yourself challenge and you might actually enjoy it!

 Nicola

Fashion to me is fun, it’s expressive and should be enjoyed by everyone. If you want become a more ethical shopper then try a few of my tips!

  •  Try opting for vintage clothes for classic designs and good quality.
  •  Always have a rummage in charity shops as you never know what you’ll come across. You can also try eBay for charity and Oxfam Online Shop to charity shop online.
  • Know a good tailor or alternations specialist to keep your wears lasting longer. Or, if you’re crafty, use online tutorials to learn how to do it yourself!

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What Fashion Means To Me: A.K.’s View

There are so many things that come to mind hearing that word, right? Such as style, trend, imagination, innovation, expression, and fantasy. Basically, fashion is a way of introducing yourself without having to utter a word.

It’s like you enter the room and people can start speculating the type of individual you are, by the way, you dress.

To some people, dressing up can be a form of expression like poetry. It is a complete way of life, and of course profession. It is a varied form of art, a glance into someone else’s personality. It is, by all means, a conception of direction, exhibition, and entertainment. Fashion defines the type of a person you are or at least shows the world what you want them to see.

It is not easy to find the meaning behind fashion; it is not a simple question with a definite answer. Fashion is idiosyncratic, which means, it is different for different people.

It Speaks For You, And Lets You Express Yourself

Fashion can affect various aspects of our life. It exhibits itself more than in the clothing, feelings. It really has the power to make us feel stronger about something we truly believe in. It can be used as an outlet to show your expressions, opinions, and to inspire the world.

It can be used to convey not only the conceptions we have of ourselves but also the image we want to portray, as an individual’s wardrobe chiefly reflects their personality.

 

 

 

Comfortable Fashion Is the Best Choice

Your dressing should speak the message that you want to convey the world. While body confidence is above everything else, one should never wear something they’re not comfortable with. Choosing to wear clothes that fit your body well can make you feel over the top. Fashion is not just pushing your boundaries and going for outfits you would rather avoid. It’s feeling good in your own skin, with comfortable yet stylish clothing. Never allow yourself to be pressured to try trends that don’t suit you or to wear clothing that isn’t
comfortable for your body.

Fashion Plays a Great Role in the Human Transformation

You can let the world glimpse into the type of person you are; just by the way you choose to dress. It provides with a creative outlet that can constantly change and improve. Fashion is an easy way to express yourself if you’re not comfortable in expressing it in words. You can challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone by putting yourself on display for the world to see just like the celebrities do in an event like met gala. It can be very empowering once you get the hang of it.

I believe fashion should be portrayed as something that represents a rhythm but each one of us has our own steps that we choose to move with. We should move freely, without any bounds. It’s always awe-inspiring seeing people embrace their awesome sides when they decide to take matters into their own hand and shine out in the crowd.

We were created in a unique way, and what’s better to show our uniqueness the way we want, through the way we dress? I can’t think why not. It is time to stop being slaves to the ‘new trends’ and embrace the creativity within you.

“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.” – Gianni Versace

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DIY Doily Tips: Upcycle Ripped T-Shirts

Article written by Rumaanah Bilal, volunteer at  Oxfam Online Batley 

To begin these DIY doily shirts, collect everything you may need. I created two different shirts but there are limitless designs that you could create! Start off by ironing the shirts to get rid of any creases. I have picked these navy and white tops to work onto. The white one has a hole so I created a design to cover this up. This is a great way to bring new life to a shirt you’d otherwise end up recycling.

What you’ll need:

  • Plain T-shirt (Use ones you already have or check your local Oxfam or Oxfam’s Online Shop)
  • Dollies (Again if you don’t have any you want to chop up it’s worth checking your local Oxfam or Online)
  • Scissors
  • Needle and Threads (mixed colours)
  • Pins


Start cutting into the areas of the doilies you like the best. I picked out doilies with floral designs as this is something I really love, but you could easily use the lacy parts as well – customise to your heart’s content to make this piece a unique beauty!

After getting your desired pieces start to place them on the shirts in different ways to see which layout looks the best. I came up with a lot of ideas and they all seemed to be really interesting and wonderful. Here are some of the designs I tried out:

 

As soon as you have arranged your designs, pin the pieces down and carefully start to hand stitch the separate parts to the shirt. I noticed the edges of the blue doily was quite frayed so I had to fix that by stitching it down tightly, but still making sure I maintained the shape. I cut out around some hexagons from a different doily and I placed them in a row down the sleeves, this way it covered up the hole and also made it quite stylish. In contrast to the white shirt having quite a bit going on, I kept the navy shirt really minimal by only putting a white trim around the neckline.
This technique would also look great along the hem or armholes of your chosen garment, and would be a good way to cover up any wear and tear!

Here are my final designs for both tops. I like how they turned out and would love to do more like this. I like the contrast between both tops. Both are very simple and can be easily styled with a pair of jeans. I love that you can save a lot and create something stylish, whilst saving clothing that would otherwise end up in recycling, instead of paying £20+ for a high street piece.

If you try out my embroidered t-shirt DIY please share the pictures: @OxfamFashion #foundinoxfam I can’t wait to see what everyone makes!

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4 Tips to Help You Slay your Festival Fashion Look

Festival season is upon us once again! And the question what to wear becomes even more intense than ever…  Everyone wants to stand out from the crowd and be as instagrammable as possible. Don’t fret because Oxfam Batley Online will give you the best tips on how to prepare for the festival!

Dress to Impress without the inconvience

1.       Start early. As you’ve probably heard before preparation is key. Well the same is true of fashion – you don’t want to go to into shopping frenzy at the last minute. Few months before the festival, look for inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest & other apps. Note any trends that are going on – and plan accordingly. The Oxfam Festival Shop’s social is a great place to start! Follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

2.       Be comfortable. We can’t stress this one enough. If you’re at a festival for days, the last thing you want is feeling out of your place with uncomfortable clothing. That said, it’s not advisable to go to a festival in high – heels unless you want your feet to be covered in blisters and trampled down by thousands of festival goers. Wellies are our top choice to ensure a fun filled festival.

Good footwear for a festival

3.       Be creative. Festival fashion is a great way to expresses yourself, it’s all about freedom, fun & creativity. Try to reflect those qualities into your outfit choices. Shimmery glitter, floaty dresses, distressed denim, crop tops, band tees & braids are all great festival pieces. Liven up your look with crazy colours, and don’t forget to accessorize!

Denim and Sequins - Creative festival style

4.    Most of all have fun! Festival time is the time to experiment with your looks, and discover new trends. So mix and match your outfits, be brave and party like there’s no tomorrow!

Make fresh looks by combineing styles

Shop the festival look now at www.oxfam.org.uk/shop or visit one of our festival pop shops at Boardmasters, Leeds Festival and Bestival. All welcome!

 This blog post was written by Oxfam Batley Volunteer Deimante:

“Hi! My name is Deimante, and I’m from Huddersfield (originally from Lithuania). I’m a second year student at University of Huddersfield studying Fashion Communication and Promotion – love it! I’m a sometime fashion blogger and currently on a placement with Oxfam Batley Online listing clothes online and managing social media & PR.”

Find out more about how you can volunteer here.

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