Oxfam Fashion Show during London Fashion Week

On Monday 18th February we hosted our second Fashion Fighting Poverty Catwalk show as part of London Fashion Week. We wanted to showcase how Oxfam is part of the solution to fast fashion by giving clothes a second chance to be sold and preventing them ending up in landfill.

Here at Oxfam we never lose sight of the reason we sell fashion, which is to raise money to help the world’s poorest people. A £10 dress can provide clean water for 10 people in an emergency.

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

Supermodels and music stars hit the catwalk for Oxfam show during London Fashion Week.

Bella Freud and Nayara Santos De Oliveira in Oxfam’s Fashion Fighting Poverty Show 2019. Image: Chris Yates/Oxfam

Top models Stella Tennant, Daisy Lowe, Lottie Moss and Yasmin Le Bon were joined on the catwalk by super-cool designer Bella Freud and music stars Emeli Sandé and Una Healy.

Yasmin Le Bon and Malaika Firth in Oxfam’s Fashion Fighting Poverty Show 2019. Image: Chris Yates/Oxfam

All the models were styled in Oxfam clothes, selected from the Oxfam Online Shop and Oxfam high street shops by Vogue Contributing Editor Bay Garnett. You can shop the catwalk  here:

Buy our fashion, help fight poverty #FashionFightingPoverty

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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From Waste to a Work of Art: Upcycling Textiles

oxfam fashion blog donating clothes header.

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From Waste to a Work of Art: Ideas for Upcycling Textiles

Have you ever wondered what to do with a lovely piece of clothing or home furnishing fabric after it reaches the end of its useful life? There really is no need to throw it away, it can be recycled into something beautiful, not only giving you a piece of art for your home but also an enjoyable activity in the process of creating it. Can’t part with old clothes, or simply can’t find the right material for your creation? Why not try your local Oxfam?

Look out for striking colours, patterns and texture in materials or clothing to add interest to your creation. Not only does it spare you the expense of buying new materials but you are also supporting those in need. Here are a few artists that use textiles in their art work to inspire you!

David Agenjo specialises in layering texture and colour with a focus on the human body. This school lesson plan  on Collaboroo  explores art with materials and textures inspired by David and shows how a self-portrait can be created using upcycled fabrics and paint.

Louise Baldwin is a textile artist known for her combination of found imagery, colour and domestic packaging used alongside fabric to create rich wall hangings. She doesn’t plan her design in advance, instead adding layers and manipulating and sewing them until they look right. You can see Louise’s work on The Sixty Two Group of
textile artists
.

 

Mandy Patullo uses collage techniques in textile art. She is particularly interested in patching and piecing together fabrics or using paper ephemera and layering in her printmaking. She follows her own ‘thread and thrift’ vision by sourcing vintage fabrics and quilts to recycle into her own work.

Bethan Ash creates bold, bright and eye-catching pieces inspired by relatable social and popular culture including consumer goods combined with abstract ideas.

Jo Deeley is a textile artist who works with different textures and methods to create sculptural shapes and designs. She incorporates 3D designs into her work using traditional methods including weaving, knitting, plaiting and knotting, as well as more unconventional techniques like folding and pressing fabric.

Image of artwork

Top tips for upcycling fabric into art

  • Follow your instincts. There are no rules ­­­- you can combine your fabric with any other mediums and fix as you like using glue, staples or stitching.
  • Gather a variety of different textiles before you begin your creation. Old clothes and textiles from your wardrobe or your local Oxfam is a good place to start. Try asking at the till to see if they have any fabrics that would be heading to textile recycling that you could buy for a cheaper rate.
  • Look out for interesting trims, threads, buttons and fastenings to add interest to textile collages. Check the Homewares section of your local Oxfam or Oxfam Online Shop too for extra sewing supplies and crafting materials.
  • Consider different ways of manipulating textiles to create your art work. Gathering, shredding and fraying, knotting, plaiting, folding and layering will help you to create a 3D piece of art.
  • Use a sketch book to draft out your ideas before you begin but you don’t have to replicate your initial images – a piece of art can develop as you work on it.

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Stylist Jenny Brownlees Shares Her Take On This Seasons Trends

 

Guest Blog: Stylist Jenny Brownlees Shares Her

Take On This Seasons Trends

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8 Looks for £10 or Less – Save Money, Fight Poverty and Look Great

I’ve loved charity shopping for as long as I can remember, my local Oxfam is an Aladdin’s cave of sartorial treasures. If I go to a new city I always make a b-line for their local Oxfam shop, getting lost amongst the racks. I visit my local shop weekly, more often if I can. I get withdrawal symptoms when I don’t, wondering what delights I’m missing out on. This is a love I’m not alone in feeling: Kate Moss recently modelled looks for Oxfam’s 75th anniversary, telling The Guardian she “got all her clothes from Oxfam from the ages of 14 to 18” and now donates to her local shop in Highgate.

Shopping second hand is an affordable way to experiment with style and nod to the latest trends without breaking the bank. It opens up my wardrobe to include one-off, eclectic pieces I might not have usually bought. I enjoy knowing that with every purchase, my money is going to a fantastic cause. Buying one item really does have the power to change lives with an £8 dress being enough to feed a family during a crisis. I always come away from shopping feeling pretty smug about my fashion finds. I nostalgically wonder about the items former life, even if it hasn’t come far, in my imagination it could have been owned by an eccentric Dame, travelling far and wide to be mine.

I’m so passionate about Oxfam’s work to fight poverty, in Britain and across the world. I particularly admire its work with women, as the majority of people living in poverty are female. By buying from Oxfam you are supporting their fight to help women claim their rights, get an education and get into work.


Stylist Jenny Brownlees Shares Her Take On This Seasons Trends

As if you needed another reason to head to your local branch, Oxfam shops are doing wonders for the environment. The consequences fast fashion is having on our planet is staggering. But, shopping from charity shops can help – each shop diverts an average of 30 tonnes of textiles from landfills every year. Plus, UK charity shops’ reuse and recycling activity helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6.8m tonnes per year.

I reject the notion that fashion is an exclusive club, reserved only for designer clothes and huge budgets. Style is universal, doesn’t discriminate and is open to all. In my experience, it’s often those that experiment with their outfits, mixing a high street piece with a second hand treasure that are the best dressed. It’s amazing that in a visit to only one shop you can emerge with a vintage item, an piece from a high end high street retailer you might not have afforded otherwise and if you’re lucky maybe even something designer.

Check out my eight spring looks below to get some inspiration of how to style this season’s trends with clothes you’ve #foundinoxfam. Delve into the delights of your local Oxfam or Oxfam Online Shop and I promise you won’t come out empty handed.

Stylist Jenny Brownlees Shares Her Take On This Seasons Trends - Black and White

Look 1: The skirt and tee combo

One of my favourite styling tricks is to pair a casual tee with a jazzier skirt. There’s something so fashion-it-girl-cool about wearing a vintage t-shirt with sparkly embellishment. The look gives off an ultimate air of ease – a classic ‘oh this old thing’ moment. I had been pining after a similar skirt by No.21 which was way out of my price range. At just £5.50, this skirt was a great find and could be worn with numerous outfits, casual and dressy alike. Adding a pair of bold earrings (bought for a bargainous £2) finishes off the look.

T-shirt £2.50, Skirt £5.50, Earrings £2 all #foundinoxfam

Look 2: The Holiday Dress

It may only be March but I’m already thinking ahead to my summer holiday. I love the relaxed yet romantic feel of this lace maxi dress – you’d be forgiven for thinking it was designer as the Dior and Emporio Armani’s S/S 18 runways were full of white lace gowns just like this.

Dress #foundinoxfam £5.50 , Bag £3, Earrings £2all #foundinoxfam

Look 3: Relaxed Layering

A well-fitting white t-shirt is a real failsafe wardrobe staple. To show how you can style it up, I layered it under this striped Jaeger shirt and made a nod to the nineties by adding a black corset over the top. Sticking to a co-ordinating colour palette makes layering a doddle. Plus, preppy navy stripes never go out of style, so this shirt will look great at any time of year.

Shirt – £4, Trousers – £5, Sunglasses – £1 (sale) all #foundinoxfam

Stylist Jenny Brownlees Shares Her Take On This Seasons Trends - Brown

Look 4: The Leopard Dress

I think this button up dress may be my favourite Oxfam find ever. Leopard print never goes out of style and as far as I’m concerned is a neutral! If the Gucci S/S 18 catwalk is anything to go by (and it usually is) leopard is the print to buy now. Luckily you can find an abundance of it in your local Oxfam, Gucci price tag omitting.

Dress – £9.99, Earrings – £2 both #foundinoxfam

Look 5: The Occasion Dress

If you have a wedding or occasion coming up, as well as already forking out for travel, accommodation and a gift, you may think ‘I’ve got to spend £100 on an outfit.’ Right? Wrong! Case in point this 100% silk champagne maxi. Minimal, effortless and very 90s Calvin Klein. It looks brand new and is originally from Monsoon but I snapped it up for just £9.99 in Oxfam. Need I say more?

Dress £9.99  #foundinoxfam

Stylist Jenny Brownlees Shares Her Take On This Seasons Trends - Pinks

Look 6: Fashionable Florals

If it’s not quite warm enough to wear a summer dress solo, why not layer it over a plain white tee and add a denim jacket to finish? A bold floral print like this one is a favourite of designers Erdem, Balenciaga and Marques’ Almeida. If pink and flowers are too much for you, why not opt for a darker floral print? Or add a leather biker jacket to toughen up the look.

Dress £8 #foundinoxfam

Look 7: The Embroidered top

The intricate floral embroidery on this shirt far surpasses its £4.50 price tag. Millennial pink + embroidery is a winning style combo for Spring/Summer 18 and this top has both. Keep an eye out in Oxfam for classic Levi’s to pair a top like this with, or head over to the online shop to browse the latest styles. It’s even worth checking out the men’s section – remember you can always add a belt or turn up the hems.

Shirt £4.50, Earrings £2.00 both #foundinoxfam

Look 8: The Midi Skirt

Pink has been given a real fashion revival of late and is now the ultimate colour in modern cool. This skirt will slot into your spring wardrobe perfectly, giving you an abundance of outfit options. This midi was a steal at £5 – that’s less than your daily coffee and breakfast bar! We offset the girly skirt with a sleek black roll neck but I think it would look perfect paired with the striped Jaeger shirt. Or, you could embrace head to toe pink and wear with our embroidered shirt, for a chi co-ord.

Skirt – £5 #foundinoxfam

Stylist and photographer: Jenny Brownlees

Model: Jasmine at Savalas Models

Make-up Artist: Louise Brownlees

Jenny Brownlees Twitter RSS is a Fashion Journalist and Stylist, a charity shop devotee and firm believer that style doesn’t have to come with an
expensive price tag. When she got in touch to share photos she’d taken with Jasmine we knew we had to feature them on our blog. With all the looks coming in for £10 or less she proves that you can stay on trend on a budget whilst still supporting your favourite cause. Shop in your local Oxfam or at Oxfam Online Shop to find your own poverty fighting bargains and don’t forget to share your looks with #foundinoxfam.

 

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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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Spring Style Inspiration

Six Easy Looks to Wear This Spring: Style Inspiration from Oxfam Online Shop

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Six Ways to Wear Vintage Style This Spring

Spring is just around the corner and contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t mean you have to kit yourself out in head to toe florals. I’ve put together a few different outfits from the Oxfam Shop that combine vintage with modern pieces and colour blocking with layering. Scroll down for inspiration on dressing for this transitional season.

Pinstripe Trousers and Brouges

[outfit 1 – #foundinoxfam on Oxfam Online Shop] D&G trousers – £45, I-SHUS shoes – £14.99, Velvet 90s jumper – £9.99, Burberrys beret – £36.99, Cambridge satchel – £80

Pinstripe trousers are probably one of my biggest vices in life…I can’t stop buying them! I love how they have that smart casual vibe going on and look good with both clean trainers and smarter shoes. I went for a red and monochrome colour scheme here so I could involve these incredible patent pointed brogues, which have a relaxed androgynous feel them – and of course, the Burberry beret, which definitely brings some Parisian chic to the outfit.

[outfit 2- #foundinoxfam on Oxfam Online Shop] Vintage 70s suede contrast jacket – £40, vintage 90s Hobbs pink dress – £34.99, Timberland ivory boots – £50, fringe boots – £11.99, pink baker boy cap – £9.99
I always gravitate towards 70s styles and the 60s mod look. This outfit is a combination of the two, with the baker boy hat and laced up knee high Timberland boots. I didn’t know Timberland did this particular style until now, although I’m thinking it could be a vintage pair which explains why they don’t look familiar. I know there’s two types of footwear here but I decided that both looked equally as great and couldn’t choose which to go for! The coat is beyond stunning with its unique cowhide contrast design, and I think the pastel slip dress would also pair
well with a popped collared shirt underneath it.

[outfit 3 – #foundinoxfam on Oxfam Online Shop] vintage 90s Aquascutum coat – £150, vintage turquoise dress (part of set) – £49.99, Radley bag – £95, 925 silver turquoise bangle – £17.99, M&S loafer mules – £12.99

I think this ensemble definitely has super fresh Spring feel to it. I chose a focused but bright colour palette with slip on loafers for a look that could be worn to work or around town. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a lemon yellow coat before, nor have I seen many around, so this is definitely a keeper.  It’s like wearing a little slice of sunshine.

[outfit 4 – #foundinoxfam on Oxfam Online Shop] Gucci hat – £100, vintage M&S kilt skirt – £19.99, Celite Collection bag – £100,  St Michales camisole – £2.99, M&S patent brogues – £16.99, Burberry trench coat – £60

I adore so many pieces in this outfit! The Gucci bucket hat, although pricey, creates a fantastic complimentary clash with the Made In England tartan skirt. I couldn’t pair this combination with anything other than a Burberry trench coat – which has to be one of the most versatile items ever. Although you don’t have to dish out for Burberry, I checked the price on second hand coats and was surprised to find you can get hold of one for about £60, which is actually really affordable. The chunky maroon brogues are a lot like a pair I have at home but I was particularly drawn
to  them because of the tan strip that so perfectly coordinates with the bag, hat and top (which I would tuck into the skirt).

[outfit 5 – #foundinoxfam on Oxfam Online Shop] After Six orange maxi dress – £54.99, mosaic earrings – £5.99, Ted Baker shoes – £50, white clutch bag – £5.99.
I wanted to move away from Streetwear styles and pick out some of the more unusual, feminine pieces in the Oxfam shop. These earrings just had to be featured, one way or another, and I happened to find this stunning Spring/Summer maxi dress to compliment them perfectly. I don’t usually wear heels myself, but I felt like this dress wouldn’t look right without some elevated shoes – and these ones couldn’t be any more perfect with their orange contrasting straps.

[outfit 6 – #foundinoxfam on Oxfam Online Shop] Navy cross body bag – £8.99, M&S hat – £9.99, Burberry Prorsum leather loafers – £95, vintage 90s skirt – £60, vintage 90s Joseph Ribcoff t shirt – £34.99)

And finally – out of all 6, this is probably one of the outfits I would find the easiest to wear. The 90s maxi skirt is exactly what I’ve been looking for (although I do think you need the front slit to loosen the look). The tassel t shirt is also very 90s, and these chunky Burberry wedge loafers are pretty much my dream shoes. A big wide rimmed hat is the perfect accessory to add some grandeur (and sun protection) which I would pair with a choker necklace or two.

Written by Rebecca Linnard RSSLinkedIn

Becca Linnard is a fashion columnist, content creator and vintage clothing enthusiast with a deep passion for travel. When she isn’t sifting through vintage treasures, Becca provides press coverage for music festivals, gigs and exhibitions alongside conducting band interviews. 

Becca currently works for Brag Vintage,  an online vintage clothing retailer specialising in branded denim and unique, one off pieces. Follow them here:  Twitter Facebook RSS

 

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Coming Soon: The Oxfam Fashion Hack with Love Your Clothes

Watch this space for further information about our free Super Crafter events as part of Oxfam’s Fashion Hack with Love Your Clothes. Follow @OxfamFashion to stay up to date with the latest information.

JOIN THE OXFAM FASHION HACK

Breathe new life into denim. Turn an old jumper into a snuggly poncho. Transform a simple tee into a statement top. Anything’s possible with some upcycling know-how. And we’ve got all the know-how and pre-loved clothing you need.

The Oxfam Fashion Hack with love your clothes

In partnership with our friends at Love Your Clothes, we’ve launched the first ever Oxfam Fashion Hack and we want you to be part of it. Because when you upcycle with Oxfam, you won’t just transform your wardrobe, you’ll help beat poverty too. You’ll also reduce waste, stopping yet more jeans, jackets and tees going to landfill.

Dates and activities will be released soon.

Follow @OxfamFashion or search for #OxfamFashionHack for the most up to date information about the Fashion Hack

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Simplicity in Silk – How to Style a Silk Blouse

Recently I found a beautiful pure silk blouse in my local Oxfam store on Bold Street in Liverpool. I instantly knew how I would wear it – my incredibly comfortable cropped straight jeans and loafers. The simplicity of this outfit is perfect for a casual day at home. The first time I wore this I was at home studying…cat by my side and fire warming my feet (thinking about aesthetics here). The pure silk falls beautifully and is so soft. I would say I felt pretty smart – the buttoned-up style and collar with
the elegant material creates the illusion of being dressed up (even when you replace the jeans for flared black trousers and you’re giving off a classic casual ’70s look which is always a yes from me).

Another look you could go for is pairing the blouse and cropped jeans with skinny ankle boots and some tights – I am constantly considering layers with this sharp winter weather. I love layering in winter as it not only looks great but it means it is easier to reuse your favourite pieces throughout the year.

Whilst writing this article I was planning social media for a Clothes Swap event run by Just Love Liverpool, a branch of the NGO Just Love UK. This organisation aims to spread awareness about social injustices such as slavery, sex trafficking and homelessness as well as raising awareness of how to be more ethical and sustainable, including when it comes to thinking about what we wear. I was reflecting on the incredible way in which reusing clothes is not only helping our environment – did you know that ‘UK households binned 300,000 tonnes of clothing in 2016‘?  but it is also causing us the evaluate questions such as how are our clothes being made? Where are they coming from? These questions I have found are being asked more and more as we have seen an increase in the number of social media pages now devoted to ending fast fashion and believing in
alternative ethical and sustainable ways.

If someone asks me where I bought this blouse and I say a charity shop, immediately I’ve got a conversation starter in which to spread awareness of the injustice of slavery. Simply buying a blouse from a charity shop is making a statement that fast fashion is out of hand and there are alternative ways to shop. Charity shopping is fun (how many times have you found the oddest and most random things that probably haven’t seen the light in decades?). But at the same time, we can be activists for so many issues!

A devastating issue that I am passionate about is tackling the gender inequality and utter lack of women rights when we look at the unethical practices of factories focused on producing the cheap t-shirts for example we can purchase on the high streets. “A recent report  by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) revealed that recruiters in southern India convince parents in impoverished rural areas to send their daughters to spinning mills with promises of a well-paid job, comfortable accommodation, three nutritious meals a day and opportunities for training and schooling, as well as a lump sum payment at the end of three years. Their field research shows that “in reality, they are working under appalling conditions that amount to modern day slavery and the worst forms of child labour“.

Isn’t it unfathomable that we are still living in a world where slavery is still a major issue? Over 40 million people are trapped in slavery right now.

Furthermore, with their 12 partners across the world Oxfam interviewed ‘hundreds of women workers and many farm and factory managers, supply chain agents, retail and brand company staff, unions and government officials’. They discovered that ‘Fewer than half of the women employed in Bangladesh’s textile and garment export sector have a contract, and the vast majority get no maternity or health coverage – but 80 per cent fear dismissal if they complain.’

The clothing industry is clearly intertwined with issues of gender inequality. Women are severely devalued and frankly it would seem dehumanised. By charity/vintage shopping and raising awareness at the same time, we can create a huge impact on the clothing industry.

So, this silk blouse from an Oxfam store on a small corner of the world sure can do a lot of loud talking…

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How to Upcycle Using Embroidery – A Denim Jacket Transformation

Some of you may already know that I am an embroidery nerd. I taught myself needlepoint and cross-stitch way back during my Fine Art degree and have been stitching pretty much every day since. Stitching by hand can be incredibly time consuming, and working full-time means there’s little time left in the day to complete lots of projects.

Thankfully, I’ve found a way around this and a way of combining two of my favourite things – charity shopping and needlepoint. For the past couple of years I have been scouring the charity shops for abandoned embroidery projects, with the hope of finishing them off or unpicking areas of stitches and reworking them into something else entirely. The perk of this is that most of the stitching has already been done for me, and all that’s left is for me to put my own spin on it.

One of my first reworking attempts was a completed needlepoint piece of a large ship at sea, to which I added some ginormous sea monster tentacles attacking the ship. The next was a small landscape piece that someone had completed but not bothered to frame, which I decided to add the Instagram ‘Like’ icon to the bottom corner and finish into a small cushion complete with a pom-pom trim.

While trawling the charity shops in Halifax (spoiler alert: they’re great and I always find something) I came across a small, completed, swan needlepoint in a frame for just £1.00! Of course I bought it. Initially, I didn’t have plans for this piece, but on a whim, I removed it from its frame and pinned it to the back panel of my denim jacket. I decided to keep things deliberately ‘rough’ and really simple; I pinned the piece to my jacket, and simply hand-stitched it in place, leaving the edges frayed and loose.

 

 

My next project? Well, I have an embarrassingly large collection of completed needlepoint pieces I’ve found in charity shops now, so I really need to start to work my way through them all, but I have my eye on reworking this tiger I found in my local Oxfam in Oldham…

 

 

As much as I’d love to hog all of the embroidery pieces in the world for myself, should you come across some, there are many things you could do with it. If you’re feeling handy with a needle and thread, you could follow suit, and rework areas of it. Confident using a sewing machine? Make it into a bag or cushion. Or, you could simply display it just as it is and appreciate the time someone put into making it for you.

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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 😉 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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