Oxfam Online Shop: Valentine’s Day

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Written by: Fran, Emma and Leslie

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and, if Cupid’s arrow has struck, you may already be preparing your special date night outfit. The Oxfam Online Shop has put together a range of romantic outfits that will make you feel like a million dollars. From a funky hot pink jacket to some cute little heart socks, all areas are covered so you are sure to find the perfect look for whatever you have planned.

Outfit 1

This first outfit has been created to be wearable from day into night. To make a statement we’ve gone for an M&S Deep Purple Cocktail Dress which has a neat bow detail on the front. This has been teamed with a cropped Vintage Fendi Black Jacket which pulls the outfit together and adds a hint
of sophistication. Accessorise with a feminine flowery scarf to tie all of the colours together. This outfit would be perfect with any black heels or boots but we’ve gone for a pair of patent kitten heels. Check out the online shoe collection here.

Outfit 2

Keep it fun and flirty by teaming feminine knits such as this Autograph Coral Cashmere Cardigan with a silky scarf like the Flowers and Polka Dots Silk Scarf we have online. Parisian chic as if straight from the city of love.

Outfit 3

In this outfit we have gone for statement contrasts of bright pinks with black. The short length of this tartan mini skirt allows you to subtly show off those gorgeous legs. A bright jacket adds impact and livens up a neutral outfit so we have chosen this Nicole Fahri for Stephen Marks Hot Pink Jacket to add for some colour and warmth. This M&S Hot Pink and Black Geometric Print  Silk Scarf compliments this outfit with on-trend clashing patterns. If you’re feeling bold add a bowler hat or trilby to inject a unique touch, see for yourself online.


Outfit 4

Keeping with the pink theme, this next outfit is the ideal smart/casual combo. The high quality Suchita Hot Pink Angora Cowel Neck Jumper is lovely and soft and perfect for keeping you warm. We have paired this with a black body con skirt but to keep on trend try wearing a ¾ length pencil tube skirt like these listed online here. Finally, we found some cute
heart print socks making this outfit one of our favourites. Wear them with some shoe boots with the top of the socks peeking out.

Outfit 5 

If you want to ooze sophistication then this outfit is for you. The J Crew Merlot Red Silk Halter Neck Top is the staple item which stands out against the figure enhancing shape created by the pencil skirt and jacket.The deep red silk radiates romance, passion and femininity whilst teamed with powerful tailoring such as a black pencil skirt and blazer. This ensemble will command attention on any dinner and drinks date.

The Oxfam Online Shop is a treasure trove of vintage, high street and designer gems for you to create your perfect Valentine’s Day date night outfit.

How To Wash Your Vintage

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Buying vintage clothing is exciting for numerous reasons. You’re helping give old clothes a new lease of life, you’re guaranteed not to spot anyone else wearing a carbon copy of the same garment, and you’re also buying a piece rich in history. Unfortunately, this history can often include a nostalgic but lingering odour and the occasional stain, which isn’t quite as romantic as imagining its former owner wearing it to a 50s dance hall or being gifted it by a loved one.

This is a guide to washing vintage clothes for the first time, when there’s no little white care label. It should be noted that every garment is different and you should always follow washing labels or instructions where available. If buying from a vintage boutique or market, always ask the seller if they have any advice for the best way to clean your new purchase. They’ll usually have years of experience and expertise and know what works best based on the fabric type.

In this instance the instructions on this printed polyester dress were in a foreign language and the market trader couldn’t give me any detailed washing advice. I decided the safest way was to hand wash it as follows…

1) Fill a bowl or sink with warm water (if in doubt, cool water is better than hot). Add a cap full of silk and wool detergent, or a cleaner specifically made for hand washing delicate fabrics. Wash a new piece of clothing on its own or with similar colours in case the colour runs.

2) Leave your new vintage to soak for at least 10 minutes to allow the detergent to break down the dirt. If smell is a concern, you can add a small cup of distilled white vinegar to the bowl to the ratio of 10% vinegar to 90% water.

3) Channel your inner washerwoman and gently rub the fabric together (this works best with synthetic fabrics) and move to one side.

4) Empty the sink or bowl and refill with cold water. Add your garment to the water and squeeze to remove the detergent. Repeat under running water to ensure any soapy residue has been removed.

5) Now you need to remove as much water as possible, so gently ring the garment over an empty sink. Be careful not to be too aggressive when handling wet fabric as it can warp out of shape in this delicate state. 

6) Once you’ve rung out the garment, leave it to dry (outside if possible). This will also air the vinegar smell, which should have dissipated completely once the garment is completely dry.

And that’s how you can wash your new vintage clothes. If you need to iron the garment once dry, choose the lowest possible heat setting and test first on a small, hidden area to see how the fabric responds to heat.

There are more tips on the Oxfam Online Shop Vintage Care Guide. Have a browse while you’re there…

Vintage Fashion: 90s Style Revived

Written by: Emma Stephenson // @emmastephenson 

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My mum once told me that style never goes out of fashion, and most of the time she is right. Today, being a young and trendy girl raised in the nineties, I would look back and cringe at old photos of some of the outfits I was dressed up in. Those homemade waistcoats created from old curtains, shrunk t-shirts I pulled off as crop tops and slogan peddle-pushers all painted me as the ultimate 90’s girl. This season I have the chance to revisit my youth and pull out those gems hidden in my girl band inspired wardrobe.

Dungarees  // Sneakers  //  Leather Rucksack

At last the comic-loving, scrunchie-wearing, print-clashing style is reborn. With slogan tops inspired by pop artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, the trend of the nineties is now undergoing an update. Sweatshirts, dungarees, crop tops, oversized tees, sneakers and print leggings are all making a comeback and here are some second hand finds stashed away in the Oxfam Online Shop.

 Yellow T-Shirt     //  Monochrome Print Hoodie  //  Green Cropped Sweatshirt  //  Bead Necklace 

With style icons of this era including Will Smith and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Spice Girls, creating this look should be fun and easy. Clashing prints, bright colours, slogans and baggy fits are key to this trend. Pair socks with trainers and roll tight fit joggers up at the leg and you’ve got the 90’s down to a tee. Blast out some pop, grunge or house music on your cassette player and it’ll be like stepping back in time.

Oxfam and Marks & Spencer Shwop Shop Highlights

It was only a few days ago that Oxfam’s team fash were perched behind the Shwop Shop cash box for the Oxfam and Marks & Spencer pop-up shop but we’re reminiscing already!

The two-day event was a massive success in raising awareness about the Shwopping campaign whilst giving our visitors the chance to get their hands on some unique, quality garments and celebrity clothes – with all money raised going to support Oxfam’s work.

Here are a few of our Shwop Shop highlights…

Prepping the Shwop Shop

After months of planning, the Oxfam team gathered at the Marks & Spencer Marble Arch store. Facing hundreds of empty hangers and bags of stock, it was finally time to bring the Shwop Shop to life. Sorting, hanging, steaming and pricing the stock was very exciting as we could now see all the fabulous Shwopped items that had been selected for the shop as well as a first glimpse of the clothes celebrities had donated.

Joanna Lumley at the Shwop Shop till

On the Thursday morning our Shwopping ambassador, Joanna Lumley, cut the orange ribbon to declare the Shwop Shop open. Spending a few hours chatting to press, exploring the rails and donating her own jacket, Joanna was keen to get behind the till and issue the first few customer purchases.

Super Shwoppers

As well as offering previously Shwopped stock to purchase, the Shwop Shop encouraged people to bring in donations on the day. We had a staggering response and a few overflowing Shwop Drop bins meaning lots of new items for Oxfam. Thank you!

Brix & Grace

Star stylists Brix Smith-Start and Grace Woodward attended the Shwop Shop opening, styling some garments and offering top charity shopping advice. To see what they said, visit our blog post here. Both donated some fantastic items to the shop too.

Statement style

We had some really exquisite, statement items for sale last week which team fash were definitely lusting after… 

Vintage M&S 

The Shwop Shop housed a fine array of vintage M&S from throughout the decades from psychedelic shirts to brightly patterned tea dresses it was a welcome trip down memory lane with this iconic high street brand. We also had some lovely vintage M&S donations into our Shwop Drop bins including this dress…

Percy Pigs

These sugary household favourites were a lifesaver for team fash at the Shwop Shop. So much so, we are all now suffering Percy Pig withdrawals! 

The Lumley jacket

Joanna Lumley donated a striking reversible jacket to the Shwop Shop which took pride of place and it couldn’t have found a better new owner. The lucky buyer was on route to audition for the BBC One TV show Pointless. The show requests its contestants have an interesting fact about themselves and Joanna’s jacket became this lovely lady’s talking point. Keep an eye out for it on the show!

We had a fantastic flow of customers throughout the two days. Thanks for anyone who popped in and we hope you enjoy your bargains and keep on Shwopping!

For more information on Oxfam and Shwopping, visit our website here.

Shwop Shop: Brix Smith-Start & Grace Woodward styling tips

We were lucky enough to have two esteemed fashion stylists in attendance to our Shwop Shop grand opening this week. Brix Smith-Start and Grace Woodward donated items from their own enviable wardrobes as well as styling some fantastic outfit ensembles from Shwopped stock and Oxfam fashion managed to grab them for a quick chat.

brix smith start and grace woodward

Fabulously flamboyant style guru Brix Smith-Start was a serial donator to this Shwop Shop offering a barrage of designer goodies. Grabbing vibrant cashmere sweaters from the left and colourful patterned midi skirts from the right, she was in her element exclaiming: “this Shwop Shop is beyond inspiring me, I keep looking at things thinking how many great outfits there are in here!”

As a stylist, charity shops are treasure troves for last minute or unique additions to a fashion story. To charity shop the Smith-Start way she advises to: “find a single item that you like and walk around the shop with it holding it up against things it would look good with. Sometimes you can go to charity shops and see something that just resonates with you straight away.”

Brix Smith Start

Brix is a firm Shwopping supporter and said: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and it’s as simple as that. It’s just human nature and it’s so positive.”

grace woodward

Sporting some fantastic sequin striped trousers, was former fashion stylist of the year, Grace Woodward. Having built her career on tending to the fashion needs of the famous and dressing the pages of the glossies, Grace champions individuality and the Shwop Shop has plenty of that!

“This is my heaven, everything here is really individual and special. The list of designer labels here is ridiculous too, there’s Magiela, Marni, Marc Jacobs and then there’s all the fantastic M&S dresses,” she said.

When it comes to charity shopping, Grace defines two approaches: “Either shop for individuality or literally go for the trends. Think what is hot on the catwalk right now and you can have a designer looking wardrobe for next to no money. Go with your gut feeling.”

Having bargain hunted in charity shops for years, her stylist secret lies with her tailor: “the one thing you’re going to find in charity shops is individuality and just because something doesn’t fit doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. If you like the fabric and the colour then the fit can be sorted out and you’d be amazed at what a tailor can do for less than £10.”

As the supporter of numerous sustainable fashion campaigns as well as Shwopping, Grace said: “being a stylish person is about being cool and considerate and not leaving a trail of destruction. It’s not just about what you’re wearing on the outside. To be a truly fabulous and stylish person, that comes from within.”

Thanks for Shwopping and talking to Oxfam fashion Grace and Brix!

Marks & Spencer and Oxfam Shwop Shop

The doors of the Marks & Spencer and Oxfam Shwop Shop opened to the public yesterday for a two -day extravaganza filled with hundreds of uniquely shwopped garments and celebrity donations.

The delicious array of items adorning the rails were handpicked by the festival shop team at Wastesaver, Oxfam’s recycling and sorting facility in Huddersfield.  Shwopped items from all over the country were included in the Shwop Shop, with an exciting selection of vintage M&S pieces. The pop-up shop also housed one-off donations from celebrities including Plan B, Gary Barlow, Gemma Cairney, Caroline Flack, Tali Lennox and Peaches Geldof.

The face of Shwopping, Joanna Lumley opened the event to press and headed the till for the first of the public purchases.  She also donated her own ‘absolutely fabulous’ jacket.

Super stylists Brix Smith-Start and Grace Woodward also attended the opening offering their fashion expertise and putting together a selection of top looks from the Shwop stock (more to come on this from team fash…)

Speaking to Joanna Lumley, Shwopping ambassador, she said: ‘Shwopping does nothing but good. It saves landfill sites from being filled with perfectly good clothes and it respects the clothes we’re dealing with made from cottons, silks, wools, nylons and many more. It does absolute immeasurable good through Oxfam for the people it supports in developing countries.’

She admitted to being a seasoned fan of charity shops herself, she said: ‘A lot of charity shops, particularly Oxfam, get the really, really good clothes which are then knocked down to a fraction of the price. I have no qualms about wearing other people’s clothes, it never troubles me!’

After a successful first day of Shwopping, it’s lucky the Oxfam stock room holds many more hidden treasures ready for the Friday sales!                                                                                                                        

If you can’t make it to the Shwop Shop, the Oxfam Online Shop has plenty of vintage and fashion items for you to browse. 

M&S and Oxfam launch two-day shwop shop

Marks & Spencer and Oxfam are holding a two-day pop-up shwop shop this week at the flagship M&S Marble Arch store.

Shwoppers can snap up designer bargains donated by Britain’s top contemporary style icons including Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe, Jo Wood and Zandra Rhodes – as well as the best items shwopped at M&S from the public.


Caroline Flack and Daisy Lowe

Running on the 24th and 25th January, the celebrity shop will be staffed by a host of famous faces including shwopping guru Joanna Lumley, who said:

“By opening your hearts, minds and your wardrobe and going shwopping, you can not only bag an outfit worn on the red carpet or to a glitzy awards evening, but help the environment too. Fashion with a conscience, it is perfect isn’t it? By shwopping all we want you to do is give your unwanted items stuffed in the back of your wardrobe a future. Simply bring an old item back every time you buy a new outfit, shwop and shop! Come to the shwop shop, shwop and shop and leave with a smile – the world will then feel a better place!”

M&S and Oxfam’s shwopping collaboration urges shoppers to donate – or ‘shwop’ – an unwanted item of clothing that will go on to be re-sold, re-used or recycled by Oxfam, cutting waste while raising much-needed funds.

All money raised by the shop will be used to support Oxfam’s projects around the world working to alleviate poverty.

Dozens of famous faces including model and artist Tali Lennox, TV presenter Caroline Flack, model Erin O’Connor, Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt, singer Ellie Goulding, Radio 1 star Gemma Cairney and Style Bubble blogger Susie Lau have already donated items ranging from evening dresses to red carpet frocks to designer denims.

Ellie Goulding and Gemma Cairney

Every celeb item in the pop up store has an A-list history behind them, including Flack’s X Factor dress and Jo Wood’s vintage Susan Small dress bought whilst on tour in America.

Tali Lennox and Gizzi Erskine

There will also be a chance for shoppers to own a piece of fashion history as the shwop shop will have a selection of coveted M&S vintage items.


M&s vintage

Sarah Farquhar, Head of Retail Brand for Oxfam, said: “Oxfam shops are full of hidden treasures and we have regular shoppers who turn up week in week out to get their hands on the latest donations. But this time we are doing the rummaging for them; bringing the best of the shwopped items we have received over the last few months plus exciting celebrity donations straight to the public instead. It will be really exciting to see people browsing Oxfam clothing in the middle of an M&S store.”

Shwop shop is open from 10.30am – 9pm on Thursday 24th & 8am-9pm on Friday 25th January 2013.

Address: Ground Floor, Marks & Spencer, 458 Oxford Street. London. W1C 1AP

Follow @Oxfamfashion and @Shwopping for updates from the event