Music That Matters – an Oxfam Pop Up Shop in Manchester

Article by Alice Liddell

The Oxfam Festival Shop are bringing another exciting pop-up shop to Manchester in collaboration with Oxjam’s ‘Music That Matters’ event.

The one day pop-up will be held at ‘The Font Manchester’, New Wakefield Street from 3pm to 9pm on Saturday the 3rd of November. It will be open to those attending the Oxjam event along with ‘The Font’ customers.

A pair of denim dungarees styled with a Hawaiian shirt

The Festival Shop team has hand-picked pieces specially for Manchester. This includes brands such as Nike, Levi and Tommy Hilfiger, plus exciting one-offs. Accompanying these big brands will be an array of hats, headscarves, shoes and belts to complete any outfit. We have been stocking up on faux fur coats with enough vairety to suit everyone’s needs. The Festival Shop is based at Wastesaver, Oxfam’s textile recycling centre, giving clothes a second chance to be sold or resued and preventing landfill.

Two looks featuring denim

Oxjam Mcr will be hosted at five different venues throughout Manchester working with upcoming artists including the alternative band ‘Pacific’ and the comedic artisit ‘Chris Tavener’. There will be variety of music ranging from funk to garage rock to blues from 4pm – 11pm.

A selection of sport jackets and a peaked cap from Oxfam

The money raised from the pop-up will go to support important Oxfam campaigns such as the recent Indonesian earthquake and tsunami crisis. Along with long term projects such as preventing violence against women in Bolivia and empowering survivors of sexual violence in Iraq.

For more information on the pop-up, follow Oxfam Festival Shop:

Instagram | Twitter |  Facebook

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How to Dress Down Sparkles – Embracing Smart-Casual Style

Once the festive season is over I usually find myself in a bit of a style rut. Velvet skirts, lace shirts and silk dresses are no longer a necessity due to the lack of work parties, school friend gatherings and general festive merriment. The weather is still pretty (understatement) cold and all that is wanted/needed are jumpers, jeans and the biggest socks that were given for Christmas. 

To give myself a little push out of this style rut, and to encourage myself to continue to wear party-ish items of clothing, I set myself a little challenge of wearing one of my glittery, Oxfam purchases on a grey day. I have been an Oxfam shopper for a long ol’ while now. Ever since I wandered into my local Oxfam as a young teenager and started rummaging. I haven’t stopped rummaging since. For me, I would much rather shop and donate to Oxfam, a global movement that supports millions over the world. I choose to spend my money at the charity shop (rather than the on
high-street) so I am able to support Oxfam’s cause of ensuring people have access to clean water, have food to eat and that those in need don’t suffer further following a natural disaster.

Hannah in a Sparkly Dress from Oxfam

I picked up this dress last year as part of Oxfam’s #FoundinOxfam campaign. It was in the sale for around £4 which as well as contributing to this amazing cause also means that it’s price per wear is a right bargain since I have worn it a number of times to parties and now am dressing it down so I can wear it all year.

Layering Dress and Roll Neck

I decided to wear the dress with a roll-neck, fishnets and big ol’ boots so it was surprisingly warm, comfortable and wearable for a day out in London Town. Now I’m thinking about starting to team all my sequinned/glittery charity shop purchases with roll-necks and boots so I can wear my more sparkly Oxfam finds all year long!

Winter Style

Oxfam have been working to end poverty for 75 years, supporting millions along the way. Knowing that providing access to clean water, ensuring families are fed and providing life-saving assistance are just a few things Oxfam do is one of the many reasons I continue to shop and donate in their charity shops.

Inspired by Hannah’s cold weather style tips? Find your own sparkly dress to dress up or down in your local Oxfam or in the Oxfam Online Shop.

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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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Royal Windsor Horse Show

The Oxfam Festival Shop will be making another appearance at this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show between May 10th and 14th.

For those wanting a second-hand steal, take a break between the show jumping and dressage, and head down to our stall and see what bargains can be found.

We’ll be bringing a range of accessories to add that little bit extra to your outfit. Treat yourself to a silk scarf (we’ll be jealous of whoever gets the Hermes, Burberry or Gucci ones…), a feathered fedora or even a classic Harris Tweed.

Fashion from the Royal Windsor Horse Show Festival Shop

Need a comfy, warm and durable coat? We’ll be stocked up with wax jackets, including Barbour favourites, that will last from country walks to mucking out the stables. There’ll also be other styles from a Burberry trench coat, to lighter options as the summer draws even closer.

Fashion from the Royal Windsor Horse Show Festival Shop

For those wanting something for those smarter occasions, head to our stall to take your pick over a range of tweed jackets, stylish shirts and slick bottoms to finish off the outfit. We’ll be bringing items for both ladies and gents, so both will have the chance to get their hands on new attire.

Fashion from the Royal Windsor Horse Show Festival Shop

With all the riding events happening over the show we had to bring some riding gear for people to get their hands on. We have a couple of jodhpurs, some pairs of riding boots and a variety of jumpers for when the sun decides to shy away.

Make sure you send us your fashion finds. Tag us on Instagram (@OxfamFestShop) and use the hashtag #foundinoxfam!

To keep up with everything happening with Oxfam at the show, give us a follow:

Twitter – @OxfamFestShop

Facebook – Oxfam Festival Shop

Instagram – @OxfamFestShop

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How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe & Why You Need One Now

What is a capsule wardrobe?

London boutique owner Susie Faux first came up with the term ‘capsule wardrobe’ in the 1970s. For Faux, the capsule wardrobe contained essential items of clothing that would not go out of fashion.

In 1985, designer Donna Karan released a ‘Seven Easy Pieces’ collection, which included interchangeable, essential pieces – for example a bodysuit, skirt, tailored jacket, large scarf, white shirt, cashmere sweater and a dress.

While the number does not have to be strict, the message is clear. You don’t need a wardrobe bursting at the seams with this season’s pieces to be exciting and on-trend. All you need are a few staple items that will see you through.

Clothes hanging in a wardrobe

How to build your capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is a clothes collection that only includes essential items. These clothes can be used to form outfits for all occasions, both for life and for work. It’s a chance for you to make dressing effortless, giving you more time to focus on other things.

The UK enjoys seasons, so it’s important to be aware of them when building a capsule wardrobe. Your Spring / Summer collection will probably feature overlapping items, as will your Autumn / Winter collection.

Use the web

Inspiration can be found all over the internet. Have a good research to identify a style that you like. A quick Google image search or Pinterest hunt for ‘capsule wardrobe’ will give you an idea on what other people have used and enjoy.

Write a checklist

Donna Karan had seven items, however this was created with work in mind. If you’re looking to adjust your entire wardrobe, thirty – forty items (including shoes and outerwear) should be enough.  Instead create a list of the items you need for your capsule wardrobe and divide it into Work Clothes, Life Clothes and Accessories.

Written list of items for a work capsule wardrobe

Look at your current clothes collection

Before you head to the shops, have a look at what you already have. You may already have a jacket, well-fitted jeans or a classic LBD.

Declutter

Now that you’re staring more closely at your clothes, it’s time to get rid of the items that you really don’t need. Take a deep breath and remove any clothes that you haven’t worn in the last year, any clothes that no longer fit, any clothes that can’t be mended. Bag them up and take them to your nearest Oxfam Shop or Donation Point

When choosing your items, take into consideration:

  • Your body shape

    Find the right clothes for you, the more flattering they are, the more likely you are to be comfortable wearing them time and time again. Check out whowhatwear to find out your shape.

  • Choose your colours

    Pick a few base colours such as black, white, grey, navy or brown and get your bags, trousers or coats in these shades. Now you’ve got the bases covered and you know that they will match with any tops or dresses.

  • Picking high-quality pieces

    As you will be wearing your items in different ways, they will get more wear than usual. Choose high-quality fabrics that will continue to look great.

  • Shapes and patterns

    While that Paisley print headscarf looked great that one summer, now it might be considered dated and ugly. Go for classic shapes and patterns that will last a long time.

Your finished capsule wardrobe

Why you need a capsule wardrobe

Enjoy an uncluttered wardrobe

While you’re looking for your capsule wardrobe pieces, it’s the perfect chance for you to pick through the items you have already. You may find items that you have never worn, or that you never will wear again. This is a chance for you to free yourself from stuff and donate your unwanted items to Oxfam.

Fewer decisions = less stress + more time

It’s a chance for you to free your mind, your clothes are already picked for the day so you have spent less time on deciding what to wear and can concentrate on other things. Now you don’t have to agonise about what top goes with what on the bottom – it all goes together!

Save money

If you love to shop, then now is your chance to save some money. You don’t need this season’s jeans, put that money towards something else instead.

Now you’ve discovered how to build a capsule wardrobe and found out what you need one now, it’s time to get started. Head to your wardrobe and start sifting through it. Good luck everyone!

Taken Colleen’s advice but realised you’re missing the piece to pull your new capsule wardrobe together? Take a look on the Online Shop, who knows what could be waiting for you! 

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My Favourite Vintage Finds from ReFashion: Oxford’s Sustainable Fashion Event for 2017

ReFashion took place on Saturday in Oxford Town Hall, an event dedicated to encouraging people to reuse and upcycle their clothes for a more sustainable way of life. Oxfam Broad Street were lucky enough to be invited to take part in the event and as I am a long time shop volunteer I headed down to help on the stall. When we arrived, we discovered we were even luckier as we had the best position in the whole venue – we were right next to the cake sale! Yum! After setting up the stand and munching my way through a slice of vegan chocolate and raspberry cake I looked around at the other stalls.

The venue had an amazing atmosphere being full of ethical pioneers and independent business women selling their own crafts. Some of my favourite crafts included notebooks with old Monopoly and Cluedo cards as covers and some reusable fabric sandwich bags made by a woman wearing the most fantastic dungarees I’ve ever seen made from an old bedspread. A large corner of the venue held a clothes swap and there was a catwalk where primary schools, design colleges and independent designers showed their upcycled clothing throughout the day. 

Our stall had a flow of customers with our first sale happening within five minutes of the event opening. We had lots of people coming over to the stand to admire the amazing picks that our manager Dage had selected from the shop’s donations. I have picked out a few of my favourites from our stand to share with you all. It was a tricky decision to choose what pieces to feature as there were so many unique and beautiful items on our stall, all selling to help fight poverty. My ultimate favourite piece was a pale blue
boned and petticoated ballgown featuring blue and yellow flowers which I was incredibly tempted to buy just for the purpose of putting on in my bedroom and spinning around in it screaming “I’m a princess!” like a 3-year-old.  However, I decided it was far too nice to be hidden away in my wardrobe and I hope it will have found a worthy home where a genuine Cinderella can wear it to their ball!

Three of our favourite accessories, gloves, jewllery and bags

Three of our favourite dresses and gowns

Three of our favourite tops, waistcoats, cardigans and jackets

Three of our favourite skirts

Photos of Oxford Town Hall and our stall on the day of ReFashion

We feel that the day was a success and hope that those of you who attended will agree. Oxfam was honoured to share our passion for sustainable fashion with a such an amazing group of like-minded people and hope to see you all again next year!

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The 10×10 Challenge

If someone asked you to wear only ten items of clothing for the next ten days, could you do it? Well, this is exactly the challenge that I took on last month, along with many other slow fashion bloggers, with the aim of making the most of our existing wardrobes and demonstrating that you don’t always have to buy new to put together a creative, fun and inspiring outfit.

The 10 picks for my 10 day challenge

WHAT IS THE 10X10 CHALLENGE?

One of the most basic principles of slow fashion is the idea of buying less – the exact opposite of the fast fashion system, which has trained us to believe we need to be constantly updating our wardrobes in order to stay up to date with the latest trends. However, this very profitable but ultimately very damaging business model isn’t only resulting in far more clothes than we could ever wear, with millions of tonnes of clothing ending up in landfill every year – it’s also making us lose the ability to develop our own sense of personal style and get creative with the pieces we already own.

The 10×10 challenge is a way of reclaiming our clothing, rediscovering pieces we had forgotten about and finding new ways to reinvent the ones we wear the most often. January’s version was led by capsule wardrobe bloggers Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee and Caroline Joy of unfancy.com, but the challenge has been hashtagged in thousands of different forms to date, with ethical label People Tree also being inspired to create their own #5lookschallenge.

HOW I CHOSE MY TEN PIECES

January in Berlin usually equates to freezing temperatures and/or snow, so unlike some of the other bloggers also taking part in the challenge, I decided to leave shoes, coats and warm extras like vests and scarves off my list of ten pieces, otherwise I would have been left with only one outfit for the whole ten days! In practice, the cold weather meant that I ended up wearing the same scarf, winter coats and boots almost every day anyway, with the exception of the Ethical Fashion Show, when it was nice to make a bit of an effort during Fashion Week with a
smarter coat and my new Veja V10s.

I chose the following pieces, sticking to a reasonably monochrome colour palette of black, navy, grey, purple and white:

1. Black silky camisole (secondhand, originally H&M)

2. Grey ruffled jumper (H&M Conscious Collection)

3. Cut-off blue jeans (Fashion Revolution swap party, originally Mango)

4. Navy ribbed polo neck jumper (M&S, bought in the January sale)

5. Black polka dot opaque shirt (Zara, bought about 5 years ago)

6. Grey polo neck top (Primark, bought about 3 years ago)

7. White shirt with back split (M&S, bought in the January sale)

8. Black midi ribbed knit dress (Asos Eco Edit, 50% recycled materials)

9. Purple high neck jumper (H&M Conscious Collection)

10. Black high-waisted jeans (Kings of Indigo, organic cotton)

MY FAVOURITE LOOKS

I probably couldn’t have chosen a more difficult time to take on the 10×10 challenge – freezing temperatures, Fashion Week and various work and personal events during the evening meant that my new capsule wardrobe had to work really hard and I didn’t always feel appropriately dressed. Case in point: when I wore jeans, a grey jumpers and my winter boots to a fancy stage show (a Christmas present) because I hadn’t included any smart trousers or a more sophisticated dress in my ten pieces.

However, I did manage to put together a few favourite looks throughout the week, which I ended up repeating in slightly different forms – such as a white split-back shirt worn with a navy high neck jumper and cut-off jeans (I dressed this up with a different coat and my new Vejas for Fashion Week) or a black scrappy camisole worn over a grey polo neck and black jeans, for a versatile office-to-bar outfit.

Black high-waisted jeans, grey polo neck top and navy ribbed polo neck jumper.

Black high-waisted jeans, white shirt with back split and navy ribbed polo neck jumper.

Black high-waisted jeans, black camisole and navy polo neck.

Navy ribbed jumper and jeans

White Veja Trainers

KNOW YOUR STYLE, BUT TRY TO STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Documenting my outfits every day was a useful way of discovering which looks I tend to gravitate towards and feel most comfortable in, and had the added bonus of revealing my own “style blueprint”, which I can now think about when adding new items to my wardrobe – does this fill a gap, does it work with key pieces, how often am I likely to wear it? On the flip side, it was also interesting to observe that I wore some items far more often than others, suggesting that I either picked the wrong pieces or need to be bolder with my styling choices.
Next time I repeat the experiment (in warmer weather!), I would love to include a couple of stand-out pieces in brighter colours or patterns, and challenge myself to incorporate them into at least two outfits over the ten days. I’d also totally restrict myself to only wearing the pieces on my list, this time including shoes and accessories, hopefully without the need for a coat in summer.

Has the 10×10 challenge inspired you to take a fresh look at your wardrobe? Will you be taking part next time around? 

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Transform a Classic White Shirt Into a Gathered Tunic Dress

Picture: Make Your Own Classic Shirt Dress

I’m thinking of renaming my blog 7869 ways to upcycle a charity shop shirt. I am always drawn to shirts in charity shop, whether it be a crisp, white, long-sleeved shirt or an oversized psychedelic number that wouldn’t look out of place in 1970’s London. For this fashion DIY I went for re-inventing the plain white shirt. With a little inspiration from the high-street, I decided to attach a gathered skirt to the shirt so I can now wear it oversized with jeans or as a simple dress with those winter essential 120 denier tights.
With a bargain charity shop shirt, a little extra fabric and a bit of thread this is the perfect affordable fashion DIY to complete on a cold Sunday.

Picture: What Materials You Need

Ingredients 

–          Charity Shop Shirt (Check out your local Oxfam or the Oxfam Online Shop)

–          Fabric

–          Matching Thread

–          Scissors

–          Sewing Machine

–          Iron

–          Pins



Picture: Step One Cut the Shirt

Step 1

Try your shirt on and mark where you would like the frill to begin. Mark down 1.5cm below where you want the frill to begin and cut along this line.

Picture: Step Two Hem the Shirt

Step 2

Measure the hem of the shirt. The width of the fabric for your frill needs to be approximately 1.5 times the width of the whole hem (front and back). Once you have established the width required, determine the length by deciding how long you would like the frill of the shirt dress to be. Add 4.5cm to length of the fabric to account for the hem.

Hem the bottom edge of the fabric for the skirt part of the dress by pressing the raw edge under by 1.5cm, then pressing under 1.5cm again to conceal and stitch.

 

Picture: Step Three Gather the Fabric

Step 3

Stitch the sides of your length of fabric so you have a tube of fabric with the hemmed edged along the bottom.

Stitch a running stitch (using the longest stitch on the sewing machine) along the raw edge of the tube of fabric without securing the ends of the stitching. Use the loose threads to evenly gather the top edge of the fabric so it’s the same width as the hem of the shirt.

Picture: Step Four Sew Them Together

Step 4

Pin and stitch the gathered pleat to the hem of the shirt (right sides together) with a 1.5cm seam allowance.

And that’s it. Another way to upcycle that always easily accessible charity shop shirt!

Picture: The Finished Gathered Shirt Dress

Did you like Hannah’s tips? Don’t forget to share any creations you make with the hashtag #FoundInOxfam 

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Christmas Party Style

As 2016 slowly edges to a close, it can only mean one thing! The long anticipated end of year Christmas party. Typically a works event where you get to mingle with your colleagues, but with the novelty of letting your hair down, no stresses of your day job to hold you back! Alternatively it could be more of a family outing, the annual get together of relatives who you don’t get to see anywhere nearly enough.

Fairisle jumper, skinny jeans, reindeer antlers, watch and brown loafers.

Each year comes the time to plan your outfit for this once a year celebration. Do you choose to play it conservative and cool with the simple shirt and trousers ensemble, or do you get into the spirit of the festive season and adopt one of the many weird and wonderful Christmas Jumpers readily available? I personally have chosen the latter option.

As a men’s fashion blogger, I decided on a classic Fair Isle print design in an autumn colour scheme of greys and browns, containing just enough hint of festivity! I’ve teamed the sweater with a pair of skinny denim jeans in a beautiful mid blue wash for that pop of colour. Finishing off the look, I opted for a nice casual pair of brown loafers to add just a touch sophistication to the finished outfit. Of course you can find similar pieces to these at your local Oxfam or the Oxfam Online Shop which are much cheaper and help a great cause! 

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Festive Good Deeds That Won’t Break the Bank

Tis the season to be jolly and, as Scrooge learnt from the Christmas Ghosts three, there is no better path to joy than by making someone else happy. In the spirit of the season of giving I am putting together a list of ideas to fulfil your good deed for the day that will cost you only in pennies or time, perfect for anyone feeling the Christmas pinch on your pockets! Many of these are suitable for the whole family making them a great way to get children involved in the love of giving. 

1) Volunteer in an Oxfam Shop

A volunteer steam irons a top at Broad Street

December is the busiest time of year for the retail industry as people flood to the shops to buy their friends and family gifts. However, many of our shops struggle to stay open over this busy period as their volunteers are often busy or away. By giving a few hours of your time you can help keep shops open and raise vital funds to fight poverty. Head to your local shop and ask your manager how you can help.

2) Carol Singing

Carol Singers in Oxford

Get your friends organised and crack out the carols, Christmas songs or general songs of seasonal cheer and warm the hearts of those in our community who need an extra bit of festive warmth. Get in touch with local homes or hospitals and see if they have an event your can join or whether you could do it yourself. If your voice is not of a quality that you feel is fair to inflict on people who can’t easily escape then consider street singing. When you’re out in the wintery winds volume becomes more important that quality so wrap the whole family up warm and head out and get
collecting for Oxfam. If you don’t have one already happening in your area it couldn’t be easier to get it organised yourself. Stick up a few posters, print off some lyrics and get everyone to bring themselves a torch. Pop into your local Oxfam and ask if they have an official collection pot you could use so everyone knows who you’re raising for. Don’t forget to print those song sheets double sided, using columns to fit as much on as you can. It can also be a good idea to use ‘draft’ print setting to save on ink too!

3) Create for the Refugee Appeal

Crocheted Hats for Refugees

 Get crafty and contribute something warm and woolly to the refugee clothing appeal. Knit or crochet a hat, scarf or blanket square to send to someone who’s lost everything and keep them warm this winter. Keep an eye out for yarn in your local Oxfam or on our Online Shop for the materials you need. Needles and hooks might not be out on the shelves for health and safety reasons so it’s worth asking at the till for them.

4) Donate to the Food Bank

Reverse Advent Calendar for a Food Bank

Many people forget that poverty is something that happens here in the UK too. Food Banks across the county help those who can’t afford food for themselves and their families. An idea I came across this year which I loved is to do a reverse advent calendar where you put something in everyday to donate after Christmas. Any long life cupboard food such as tinned vegetables, pasta, rice, biscuits or tea and coffee are suitable to donate. With tinned veg starting at only 30p it’s a cheap way to give something back to your community and a full advent calendar could cost less than
£10.

5) Bird Seed Christmas Decorations

Bell Shaped Bird FoodCandy Cane Shaped Bird Food

Mix bird seed into a dough with a flour, water and fruit syrup ‘glue’ and pack into festive cutters. Make a hole with a straw and once they’re set you can thread through some string to hang them. Voila! Festive treats for your feathery friends. I’ve been using them this year as eco-friendly alternatives to Christmas cards. I used this vegan friendly recipe https://bit.ly/2hwIUIE  

So that’s my festive good deeds list done. I hope it inspires you to spread some Christmas joy this season. Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year! 

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