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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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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My thoughts on Fashion Revolution Week, Paris 2017

After the Rana Plaza collapse that killed more than 1100 factory workers in 2013, there are no more excuses for the Fashion Industry to continue its traditional practices. Since the Bangladeshi tragedy the Global Movement Fashion Revolution is demanding for more transparency, sustainability and ethics within the industry. I participated in Fashion Revolution Week in Paris this April asking brands #WhoMadeMyClothes



Fashion Revolution Paris had loads going on – from talks and workshops to film screenings. I discovered a dynamic movement of fashion lovers promoting a greater transparency in the fashion supply chain. With passion and determination, they are raising awareness on the necessity of a radical change on the way fashion is made, sourced and consumed.

Several French brands which put ethics at the centre of their business shared their choices and explained their approaches during the week. The ‘Made in France’ trend is increasing, organic cotton is more and more used, upcycling techniques are widespread, and women’s empowerment adds a real value to some projects.

This is encouraging, especially in a context where the biggest fashion brands are moving slowly. Whilst some bigger brands are publishing their supplier lists, the 2017 Fashion Transparency Index shows the lack of information regarding the impacts of fashion industry practices. We do not know enough about the impact our clothing has on people and planet…. and we definitely need to know!

Fashion Revolution Week in Paris

Photo Credit: Céline Zimmermann

Fashion Revolution believes laws and regulations are key to transforming the Fashion Industry. Consumers’ practices are also decisive, we need to buy less, buy better and keep asking questions about the realities behind what we’re purchasing. We need to love the clothes we already own more and work harder to make them last. 

Mindsets are clearly beginning to shift, but sustainability needs to become a central driver of consumers’ purchasing decisions. So we need to stay mobilised the whole year to put pressure on policymakers and fashion industry. We have the power to insure our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way. So let’s do it & Vive la mode! 

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5 Easy Ways to a More Mindful Wardrobe

Fashion Revolution Week has just ended, with tens of thousands of people asking their favourite brands  #WhoMadeMyClothes and demanding more transparency in the fashion industry. If Fashion Revolution was the first time you’d started to wonder where your clothes come from, and the concept of ethical/sustainable fashion seems like a black hole of endless information, don’t worry! If
you’re just getting started, remember these 
five easy tips and you’ll soon be on your way to a more mindful (and ultimately useable) wardrobe:


Be ethically and ecologically aware of how to change your fashion habits


1. Get More Wear Out Of What You Have

The simplest (but perhaps hardest tip) is to actually wear the clothes you already own! Rather than feeling like you have to buy something brand new every week, which just leads to a mountain of items that don’t go together and that you probably won’t end up wearing again anyway, try “shopping your wardrobe” to rediscover old favourites and put together new outfits that you might not have tried before. If you need inspiration, check out capsule wardrobe bloggers such as Un-FancyStyle
Bee
 and INTO-MIND, which offer great tips for a more minimalist lifestyle. Fellow Oxfam Fashion blogger Colleen has done a tutorial on How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe if you need help getting started. It’s also a great idea to check out the many DIY and repair tutorials online and on this blog so you can keep wearing your favourites for longer, which could save up to 70% of clothes being thrown away.

2. Be Wary Of Too Much Washing and Drying

Research done by Levi’s has shown that the biggest environmental impact of our clothing actually comes from “consumer care” – washing and drying in normal speak. Getting more wear out of your clothes before washing can drastically reduce this – try airing out your clothes for a day before chucking them in the laundry bin, wash on lower temperatures and line dry wherever possible. And if you only focus on one item, focus on jeans – according to
Levi’s, by wearing them ten times before washing, American consumers can reduce their water and climate change impact by 77%, U.K. and French consumers by 75% and Chinese consumers by 61%.

“By wearing jeans 10 times before washing, American consumers can reduce their water and climate change impact by 77%”

Levi Strauss Lifecycle Assessment, 2015

3. Upcycle, Swap, Rent

Just three ways of changing up your wardrobe without adding more items – get creative by upcycling pieces you already own (check out A Pair & A Spare or take a look at the Oxfam DIY topic on this blog for some quick and easy DIY ideas), throw a swap party with your friends and family like this one from last
year’s Fashion Revolution
, or join a subscription site like Rent the Runway to try out pieces you would never be able to afford normally.  Renting is the perfect way to get your hands on that top designer dress or bag for a special night or two, and saves you buying a whole new outfit you might be less likely to wear again.

4. Buy Second Hand

If you do want to add to your wardrobe, the most sustainable way of doing this is by buying items that already have a story to tell. Check out your local thrift or charity shop, research kilo sales or vintage markets near to you or hop online to sites like thredUPVestiaire Collective and Oxfam Online, which according to Forbes are growing 17 times faster than traditional retail as the market becomes more and more saturated with stuff. As second hand becomes less of a well-kept secret, it might become more difficult to find amazing items for tiny prices, but nothing beats the treasure-hunt feeling and of finding that perfect piece that no-one else has.

“The combination of millennial custo​mers’ attitudes and the boom of online shopping are creating a threat to ​some retail models that isn’t going away.”

Forbes contributor Richard Kestenbaum, April 2017



5. Support Ethical And Sustainable Brands

Alongside the big players like ReformationPeople TreeEverlane and Zady, it seems like there are hundreds of independent ethical and sustainable fashion brands springing up every day, trying to change the industry in their own small way. Unlike a couple of decades ago, when the term “sustainable fashion” conjured up images of hemp-sack wearing hippies, modern
brands are putting fashion first and showing that is it more than possible to produce beautiful, quality garments that are made with respect to both people and planet. Check out the list of my favourite brands here, or hop over to online boutiques like EthicaA Boy Named Sue and The-Acey to shop their curated selections.

To find out more about Beth check out her author bio or follow her @greenscenestyle on Instagram and  Twitter

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How Ethical is Your Favourite Fashion Brand? MeasureUp’s Updates Will Help You Find Out

Eve Norridge from MeasureUp tells us about the new indicators used to compare fashion brand ethics at measureup.org.uk  

It’s been four years since we launched MeasureUp, a website which helps UK consumers compare the ethics of different fashion brands. Happily a few things have changed over that period. Generally we’ve seen more fashion companies start to think about ethical issues in the way they run their business. And generally, those that already had ethical programmes have been doing more. This has been evident through the fact that we’ve rarely had to downgrade a company’s performance
against any of our indicators and there have been plenty of times when we’ve been able to upgrade them.

MeasureUp Screen Shot



But after four years, we felt it was time for a review. In particular we’d been hoping for some time to add in some indicators on environmental issues. So MeasureUp is now back, and updated with three new ethical criteria against which it is possible to compare fashion brands.



Firstly, we’ve started looking at whether companies have a scheme in place to help their customers reuse, repair or recycle old clothing, helping us move a way from the wasteful age of ‘fast fashion’ where we wear an item once or twice then throw it away. One of the best brands we’ve seen on this issue is Patagonia. In 2011, to discourage excessive consumption, the company even went so far as to take out an advert in the New York Times on Black Friday
saying, ‘Don’t buy this jacket’.



Secondly, we’ve been looking at how companies source their cotton. Cotton is one of the most widely used materials in clothing but also one of the world’s thirstiest crops. The Environmental Justice Foundation estimates that it takes around ‘2,720 litres of water to produce one cotton t-shirt, equivalent to what an average person might drink over three years’. So we’ve started checking whether
companies are using or planning to use only cotton from more sustainable sources such as the Better Cotton Initiative in their products.



Finally, we’ve started recording whether companies have any scheme in place to end the use and release of hazardous chemicals during washing and dyeing processes in their supplier factories. In some parts of the world poor practices are leaving drinking water unsafe and causing horrendous pollution. The best companies, such as Fairtrade brand People Tree are already having their clothes made using safe, non-toxic dyes. We hope that others will follow.



As with all our indicators on MeasureUp, we hope these new ethical criteria will highlight those companies that are doing well and encourage others to do better. Why not take a look at measureup.org.uk

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Ethical Consumer’s Georgina Rawes tells us about #FightFastFashion

Georgina Rawes is the web editor at Ethical Consumer Magazine and an Oxfam Fashion Blogger. She explains how you can get involved with Ethical Consumer’s #FightFastFashion campaign this January.

Re-think the urge to splurge in the January sales

Some shoppers can’t resist a bargain. Many of us hit the shops as early as Boxing Day, despite feeling cash strapped after the festive season.

Clothing retailers entice us with endless discounts. Rather than buying bargains in bulk, we should be wondering who pays the price for such cheap clothing.

Ethical Consumer magazine, recommends buying second-hand clothing over ‘fast’, cheap clothing. Second-hand clothing can be an exciting and cheap alternative to the ‘fast’ fashion trend. 

#FightFastFashion

This week, we want to promote slow fashion. Tweet or Instagram us pictures of your favourite long-loved or second-hand items of clothing with the hashtag #FightFastFashion 

to @EC_magazine 

.

 

What is wrong with ‘fast’ fashion?

We no longer have to wait for seasonal trends to sweep the shop floor. Instead, retailers are producing new stock on a weekly basis. This puts enormous pressure on the garment workers at the other end of the production line.

Clothing production is outsourced to countries where workers’ rights can often be overlooked. Garment workers in countries like Bangladesh are overworked and underpaid.

Our desire for cheap clothing is also putting an increasing strain on our planet. WRAP reported that 350,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in landfill every year in the UK alone. 

 

Be part of the solution?

Ethical Consumer launched this campaign last January, in line with their special report into the fashion industry. They found that many high street clothing retailers were lagging behind in ethics.

This annual campaign hopes to shine a light on the destructive nature of fast fashion, but also to show that there is an easy alternative when it comes to buying clothes.

Join the campaign by sharing your favourite second-hand item of clothing with the hashtag #FightFastFashion 

and don’t forget to let us know if it was #FoundInOxfam. You can join the slow fashion movement by shopping at your local Oxfam or on the Oxfam Online Shop.


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Wear the Love for Valentine’s Day

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways… There are lots of reasons why we love our favourite item of clothing. It could be an amazing vintage find, something handed down through the generations, or just something you’ve had for ages and feel great in. 

Love Your Clothes is running a competition, Wear The Love, asking people to share their stories about their favourite clothes.  The first prize is a £250 voucher for a Virgin Experience Day. The closing date is 14th February, and full guidelines on how to enter are at https://loveyourclothes.org.uk/wear-the-love/.

To kick things off, we asked people in our office to tell us about their favourite clothes.

Valerie’s favourite item is a hand-me-down from her mother – a pretty black camisole. She says: ‘It is the most flexible item in my wardrobe. It looks good, fits well, and is lovely and feminine. It is a perfect addition to my wardrobe and I’ve been giving it a new, second-generation lease of life!’

Eileen has had her tweedy Austin Reed jacket for nearly 20 years.  She confesses: ‘It’s suffered the ravages of time and in my last wardrobe recycle to charity I put it out to pass on – and then retrieved it because I couldn’t bear to part with it.’

Sophie loves her floral maternity dress from Asos. She says: ‘I bought it second hand on eBay to see me through my first pregnancy and wore it loads. I’m now enjoying wearing it again in my second pregnancy. I always get compliments when I wear it, so it makes me feel good about myself. And it’s still in great condition despite me being the second owner.’

Richard’s favourite trench coat was a present from his parents for his 21st birthday. He says:  ‘Sadly I left the coat my parents bought on the train last year and was deeply saddened. I went on eBay and amazingly found the exact version. So my favourite coat is a pre-owned vintage garment and I still love it.’

Jamie has had his dovetail parka for even longer. He says: ‘It has been with me over 30 years, sheltered me from the wind and rain and (whilst now battle hardened) always gives me joy to wear.’

Which item in your wardrobe always gives you joy to wear? Tell us about it and #WearTheLove.

 

Party Dress Week: Batley Picks

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

Party Dress Week is upon us! This week we asked the team at Batley to show us what their favourite party dress picks were for the upcoming social season. Their chosen outfits showcase an array of styles from across the decades from the Oxfam Online Shop– prepare to be wowed!

Francesca’s Picks

Monsoon Twilight Midnight Blue Embellished Dress

I love this dress because it’s beautifully embellished & finished!
It oozes elegance and would look great for dinner parties or special occasions paired with some strappy heels and matching clutch, it has a real wow factor!

Whistles Cobalt Blue Lace Insert Bodice Skater Dress

This dress is simply stunning! Perfect for Christmas parties – I love the fact is bright cobalt blue, it puts a vibrant edge on the stereotypical red and black outfits worn around this time of year. I’d add some bright pink shoe boots and matching jewellery to complete the look

Lucy’s Picks

Vintage Beautifully Black Iridescent Sequinned Flapper Style Dress

It’s the right shape, the right cut, the hem is beautifully done. I like the low cut back and the colour in different lights. I would put this with some Black tights and some high black iridescent court shoes. This is perfect for any Christmas party!

Whistles All Over Sequin Shift Dress in Glossy Midnight Black

 Any Sequin or beaded dress with make you stand out this winter, I like the low cut back, the cut and the style and the glossy Black Colour. It is very sophisticated yet very sexy for that Christmas Party. I would put this with Black Strappy high shoes, with a long necklace going down the back, with a bright coloured clutch to brighten it up a little more.

Chantelle’s Picks

Midnight Black Long Sleeved Beaded Shift Dress

This vintage John Charles dress is the perfect number for the upcoming festive season, John Charles is a brand known for serious glamour and since its creation in the 50’s, has dressed some of the world’s most stylish and influential women. The dress epitomises femininity, it features a fully beaded body and elegant sleeves, with a low draped back, and is crafted from 100% silk – a dress made to last! I’d pair with super on trend black peep toe heels for the perfect chic Christmas party look; I love this dress as you’re almost guaranteed no one will be wearing the
same!

Midnight Blue Embellished Cocktail Dress

I love this Opera Richards dress; it screams elegance and has serious style points, it’s the perfect piece for the Christmas party season. As the dress features an all over beaded design I’d pair it with simple accessories such as simple black pointed court style heels and a matching clutch. The dress is so much of a classic it can be worn year after year, remaining on trend and ensuring you look super chic at festive parties, events or nights on the town. 

Sophie’s Picks

Milano Dress & Cover Up

Completely one of a kind, this black velveteen bandeau top has the most amazing skirt, in a purple and blue metallic and viscose blend. It even comes with a matching cover up, a lightweight blazer in the same amazing fabric as the skirt of the dress for striking head-to-toe sparkle, complete with power shoulders for a full on 80’s vibe! 
This is the perfect New Years Eve WOW dress to impress!

Principles Dress

A mid length sleeved, velveteen top paired with the metallic gold splattered net skirt makes for the perfect Christmas party dress. Its shorter length makes it so easy to wear for almost any festive occasion and its mid length sleeves in cosy velveteen will keep the winter-y chill off your shoulders. Perfect for Christmas dinner with the family or friends, adding a little bit of extra Christmas sparkle to your day!

All of these gorgeous dresses are available on the Oxfam Online Shop along with many, many more!

Back of the Wardrobe brings London Fashion Week to Oxfam

Shop festival fashion
This London Fashion Week SS14, Emma from The Back of the Wardrobe and her team bring us something a little different – Oxfam Versus London Fashion Week .

Stylist Emma Slade set her team a challenge – to recreate London Fashion Week looks, just moments after they appear on the LFW live stream, using only the clothing available in an Oxfam shop. Did they prove that you don’t need a big budget to be on trend? That fashion is for everyone and that clothing reuse can be cooler than you ever imagined?

Watch Emma and her team at work; see whether they managed to do it and which designers were recreated in the final film here

Here’s a look at the six catwalk inspired outfits styled by the BOW team…

Inspired by Holly Fulton SS14 (Left Image Credit: vogue.co.uk)


Inspired by Sister by Sibling SS14 (Left Image Credit: vogue.co.uk)


Inspired by Sister by Sibling SS14 (Left Image Credit: vogue.co.uk)


Inspired by Zoe Jordan SS14 (Left Image Credit: vogue.co.uk)


Inspired by Zoe Jordan SS14 (Left Image Credit: vogue.co.uk)

Inspired by Zoe Jordan SS14 (Left Image Credit: vogue.co.uk)

Do you think this Back of the Wardrobe #charityfashionlive looks beat last years? What’s your favourite look?

In Love with Liberty

Shop festival fashion

As an iconic heritage brand, Liberty of London‘s pieces are each a unique snapshot of our national fashion history – oh so quintessentially British! 

At Oxfam Online Shop Batley, our collection of vintage Liberty prints has absolutely blossomed this summer and to celebrate the re-launch of the 2013 Liberty Sewing School, we’re presenting a bumper crop of timeless Liberty treasures on our online shop!

Liberty have realised that DIY is a continuing trend within the fashion industry and their Sewing School offers classes in a modern make-do-and-mend style-y; such as ‘Learn to knit’ and ‘An Introduction to Patchwork’.

At Oxfam Online Shop Batley we’re passionate about DIY too and run our own vibrant and creative up-cycling project. Our talented sewing machine whizz Perpetual has been giving forgotten fashions a new lease of life  – shortening maxi skirts into to skater skirts and adding contrasting print patches to revive moth-nibbled luxury cashmere coats.

Just imagine what you could do with our collection of Liberty printed maxi skirts…

How about shortening a long hemline into Autumn/Winter 13’s hip ‘New Skirt Shape’ – a ladylike, 50’s inspired just-on-the-knee length? You’d even have the off-cuts to fashion a small purse or headscarf for a gift.

With a little time and some basic sewing skills you can easily modernise a stunning example of British fashion design into something much more wearable. The great thing is – Liberty prints are and were produced on very high quality fabrics – which have great durability and will last well into a second life.

We encourage you to be creative; don’t write an amazing fabric off because the silhouette is wrong – fashion is there to be interpreted to your own personal style. The prints in our collection of vintage Liberty scarves are still so fresh they’d look chic tied to your favourite handbag or as a headscarf – no up-cycling needed!

Take inspiration from Liberty of London’s ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude – snap up a pre-loved Liberty piece from Oxfam’s Online Shop and create a stunning Autumn/Winter look which will definitely turn heads.