Category Archives: charity shop

Oxfam Fashion Blogger Meet

Oxfam Fashion lookbooks

Oxfam Fashion lookbooks

It feels like ages ago now, but a few weeks ago I ventured to Oxford for the Oxfam Fashion Blogger Meet. Sometimes I find it weird to think that all the people you’re emailing/tweeting/blogging with are actually all ‘real people’, and not just living in the virtual world.

It was great to put a tweet to a face, as it were, and meet Kelly and Tanya, who run Oxfam’s dedicated fashion blog. I’ve only been a member of the team, writing regular posts, for a few months, so it was great to meet seasoned Oxfam bloggers such as Theresa and Rupy.

After a meet-and-greet we got down to business and discussed what blogs we love to read and how we could work to improve the Oxfam Fashion blog. I soon got chatting to Ron about cameras and quized Fran on what it was like to run the Festival Shops at the likes of Kendal Calling and Bestival (hard work but amazing fun, from the sounds of things).

After venturing into town for lunch, Kelly and Tanya organised a visit to the local Oxfam shop on Cowley Road where we set about creating new window displays in two teams. I’d never been into the back of a charity shop before and got far too excited thumbing through donated books and boxes full of handbags.

The shop was packed and I’m sure shoppers must have thought we were mad as ten us raced through the shop to find outfits of our mannequins. I also got a bit sidetracked by a peach knitted dress that made it’s way home with me, but more on that later.

Shop manager Nicoletta declared the contest a draw, though it wasn’t long before shoppers were snapping up our display. The shoppers of Oxford will also get a treat this month as ASOS have donated several boxes of stock to the local stores, and I’m pretty confident that if you wanted to pick up an Olympic souvenir or two, you might find it at Cowley Road…

It was a fun day out and it was lovely to meet the team and discuss our ideas for how the blog could progress. Kelly and Tanya would like to conduct a survey to find out what readers think of the site, so more info on that soon.

Thank you to Kelly and Tanya for the warm welcome and a shout out to Theresa, Rupi, Ron, Hattie, Emma, Fran, Laila, Lydia and Amelia – it was a pleasure to meet you. Here’s to the next one!

Oxfam Fashion A/W12 lookbook

Oxfam Fashion A/W12 lookbook

Piles of Penguin books in the charity shop store room

Piles of Penguin books in the charity shop store room

Our Oxfam outfits for the Cowley Road window

Our Oxfam outfits for the Cowley Road window

Fran, Amelia and Hattie dress their mannequin

Fran, Amelia and Hattie dress their mannequin

Theresa and Laila with their styled looks

Theresa and Laila with their styled looks

The Oxfam window on Cowley Road

The Oxfam window on Cowley Road

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Filed under charity shop, oxfam, styling

Fix Up Look Sharp launch at CLIC Sargent’s Shop on Gloucester Road

CLIC Sargent's Fix Up Look Sharp launch

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Fix Up Look Sharp launch party at ClIC Sargent’s awesome vintage empire, Shop on Gloucester Road.

The new range of upcycled clothes has been designed and created by the charity shop’s Deputy Manager, Ruth, and her design partner Gemma. Working from a studio in Stokes Croft, the design duo have created a range of cute bralets, backless tops and body con dresses, with plenty more to follow.

As charity shops in Bristol go, Shop on Gloucester Road is up there with the best, thanks to its quirky window displays, focus on vintage and a fantastic selection of preloved homewares and crockery. I blogged about Shop when it first opened last year, and in this time it has become a much loved addition to Gloucester Road’s quirky, mostly independent high street.

The shop is the first dedicated CLIC Sargent vintage store, and last night it was buzzing with Bristol’s best dressed, not to mention DJs, live illustrations and scrumptious smiley face cupcakes, which hit the spot nicely!

Gemma and Ruth, Fix Up Look Sharp design duo

I had the opportunity to catch up with Ruth and Gemma, fashion graduates from Bath Spa and Bournemouth respectively, and find out a bit more about the collection.

Ruth explained that all the fabric used in the making of the collection has been sourced from CLIC Sargent donations; “The backless shirts were originally skirts, and we’ve even used old duvet covers too.” Both the girls were buzzing with excitement, though it took long days at their studio to get the collection together; “When I’m not [working] here, I’m and the studio, and when I’m not there, I’m here!” says Ruth.

One of the best things about the collection is that all the fabric comes from donated clothes that wouldn’t necessarily make it onto the shop floor, and every penny from each garment goes straight back to the charity. Prices vary – the first sale of the night went on a £25 denim bralet – but thanks to the duo’s design back ground, each garment is finished to a high standard.

The evening was great fun and I suggest to you check out the new Fix Up Look Sharp collection soon, as it won’t stay on the shelves for long! Even if the collection isn’t your cup of tea – as much as I love bralets they just don’t suit my figure – there is a wealth of vintage treats here – check out the photos below if you don’t believe me…

Fashion by Hugo GoodFix Up Look Sharp at Shop on Gloucester RoadLive illustrationFix Up Look Sharp braletSmiley cupcakes

Above: Fashion artwork by Hugo Good / The Fix Up Look Sharp window display / Live illustration inside the shop / A Fix Up Look Sharp denim bralet – the first sale of the night! / Tasty CLIC Sargent smiley cupcakes

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Rock The Week

Fashion related (and totally non-fashion related) things that have made my world go round over the last seven days…

fashion magazines

  • Magazine culling. I’ve written before about my love of magazines – not just fashion but food, photography, even the GQ (male) shoes supplement – if I like the cover, I’ll read it. I’ve been doing a bit of spring cleaning though, and this weekend turned my attention to my ridiculous pile of magazines. Plonking almost half my collection in the recycling box wasn’t easy, but it did mean I got to spend a good few hours reading old copies of ELLE, Grazia, Company etc and ripped out a few must-keep features and fashion spreads.
  • Daylight. Even before Bristol enjoyed a glorious weekend of sunshine and blue skies, I was ready to chat away about how awesome it is now that the slightly lighter evenings have arrived. Spring is almost here and not long after that comes pub gardens, afternoons in the park and bare legs – hurrah!
  • Six Items. This week I blogged about the Six Item Challenge, a campaign to highlight the effects of fast fashion through challenging fashionistas to wear just six items of clothing for the duration of Lent. To find out more and see how the participants are coping, visit their blog.

Clothes, Cameras and Coffee blog

  • Another ethical fashion post, not from me but the talented Roz, of Clothes, Cameras & Coffee., who discusses the merits of eco-friendly red carpet outfits, and her experience of the Fru-Gal Challenge – another way of confronting our increasing reliance on fast fashion and cheap clothing.
  • And finally… pancakes! Every Pancake Day ends with me lamenting that we really should try to eat pancakes more than once a year, because they are awesome. Every year, 12 months go by before I make another batch of pancakes. There’s no photo of my creations (served with the classic topping of sugar and lemon juice) because I was too busy eating them!

What has been rocking your world this week? Let me know by commenting below….

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Filed under charity shop, clothes swap, ethical fashion, fashion magazines, Rock The Week, vintage

The significance of spring cleaning

wardrobe stuff Polaroid

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks spring cleaning my flat, de-cluttering and generally trying to be a bit more tidy, which is harder than it sounds when you have as much stuff as I do! Books, cameras, clothes, shoes – half of which I rarely read/use/wear but can’t bear to part with – find their way into every corner of my life. I love rummaging in vintage shops, charity shops and jumble sales, and my finds are often shoehorned into wardrobes, drawers and bookshelves – if there is an empty space, I will fill it. With (almost) anything.

My recent spring clean, particularly that of my clothes, has been very therapeutic (my bursting-at-the-seams wardrobe is certainly grateful to have lost a little weight) but it has also been very emotional. This may sound strange, but I think there is more significance lurking in your wardrobe than you’d think.

I’m a natural hoarder. In my younger years that meant keeping stickers and envelopes with my name on, now it’s magazines, clothes and accessories. As I was sorting my unwanted clothes into piles last night (for charity, recycling and selling) I encountered many flashbacks in amongst the belts, shoes and dresses.

There was my first wide, waist cinching belt that came free with a magazine about seven years ago, a polka dot tea dress from Primark that I went on to buy in every available colour during my second year of uni, when Primark was split over two dodgy, dimly-lit shops in Broadmead (now Poundland and part of Cabot Circus) and the shoes I wore on my 21st birthday. There are also pieces I’ve clung on to for sentimental reasons; gifts from my mum, vintage belts and dresses from my nan, clothes I have grown out of, or that are now too big for me since I lost weight.

I’ve kept these items not because I wear them even occasionally, but because they hold a significance that I attach to most of my material possessions. You must have a song, book, or outfit that transports you back to a particular day or period of time. I believe our clothes have the ability to capture a moment, like a photograph, and suspend it until you decide the time has come to move on.

So far I’ve given three huge bags of clothes to local charity shops, kept some back for a future clothes swap, and put worn clothes into the recycling box. I can’t say giving away memories, disguised cunningly as clothes, has been easy, but it does feel good de-cluttering my life and knowing than someone else is going to get enjoyment from things I never wear anymore.

Do you have an outfit you can’t bear to part with? Or perhaps you’ve recently got rid of a piece of jewellery or clothing that you’ve had for years? Share your thoughts by commenting below…

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Clothes Swap: Topshop, florals & denim delights

Next floral trousers

I mentioned on a recent RTW post that my friend, S, hosted a clothes swap last month. I’m a big fan of clothes swapping for several reasons; aside from giving once-loved clothes a new home, doing your bit for the environment, and usually consuming a few glasses of wine and half a bag of kettle chips into the bargain, there is the complete randomness of it.

Attend a clothes swap at a friends house, the local church hall or at an established boutique and you will be confronted with a wealth of clothes and accessories you wouldn’t normally look for on the high street. You can delve into the personal taste of others and (hopefully) find some fab new clothes to add to your wardrobe.

At S’s event there were beaded peter pan collar blouses, floral print dresses and everything in between. Anything that didn’t come home with us was taken to a local charity shop so we weren’t the only ones to benefit, plus I think we all felt a lot better for clearing out our overloaded wardrobes.

So, what did I take home? Take a look…

Denim smock dress

Denim smock dress, no label, perfect for summer

Topshop feather effect skirt

Feather-effect layered skirt, Topshop

Next floral harem pants

Floral harem pants, Next. Granted, these don't look much on the hanger, but they'll look great with my white Converse and a plain tee

As well as this I also came away with a tan coloured waist-cinching belt (you can never have too many) and a pair of grey cable knit leggings, which I wore on my recent jolly to Manchester.

What’s been your best clothes swap find? Let me know by commenting below…

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Filed under charity shop, clothes swap, Next, Topshop

Charity Treasures on Stokes Croft

Treasure, Stokes Croft

Treasure, Stokes Croft

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure – an excellent way to sum up charity shops, flea markets, and vintage boutiques – and those unwanted gems can now be found on Stokes Croft.  Treasure  has replaced Jacksons Autos (a shop that always baffled me a bit, as there were actual full size vans parked inside it’s tiny shop windows) on Stokes Croft. A charity shop set up by LoveBristol, Treasure actually opened last year, a stones throw away on Cheltenham Road.

Since mid-December the community charity shop has been calling this bigger, more prominent retail space home. I’ve been to both locations and while I loved the small, even pokey, feel of their last shop, I’m in no doubt that Jackson’s Autos is a great place for Treasure to grow within the community. As with any charity shop there are some great finds to be had, and this is set to increase as more and more locals donate their unwanted clothes, jewellery and accessories to the shop. Unfortunately I had to fall in love with a gilt mirror – part of the shop’s furnishings and therefore not for sale!

Money raised will be put into local community projects, so if you are a fan of the hidden gems charity shops have to offer, or have a load of clothes you need to get rid of, pay Treasure a visit and help give back to Stokes Croft.

Treasure, 100 Stokes Croft, Bristol. Visit their Facebook page here.

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Rock The Week

Fashion related (and totally non-fashion related) things that have made my world go round over the last seven days…

We'll Take Manhattan

  • We’ll Take Manhattan on BBC 4 last Thursday – Did you see it? Did you want to be Jean Shrimpton? Or any model in 60s New York? Or working for Vogue? Or perhaps you had a guilty crush on Aneurin Barnard’s David Bailey? No? just me then… If you want to see the actual shots Bailey took of Ms Shirmpton on their jolly to New York, click here (thanks to @swonderfulBride for the original link).
  • Pintrest – possibly the most addictive and time consuming internet fun since Wikitrails. Although I’ve had the account for a while, I’m still getting used to it. Let me know if you’re on it too or have any great tips on who to follow for style inspiration.
  • IFB’s New Year blogging goals – not so much goals as tips for setting them, this article breathes life into my blogging bones, particularly when work/life/the world is so busy at the moment. A must read for anyone new to blogging or those dragging their heels after Christmas.

Clothes Swap

  • Clothes swapping – a Friday night with wine, nibbles, gossip, good company, AND the possibility of a whole new wardrobe? Like, like, like. I’m a big fan of clothes swaps and held a clothes swapping party at my place a while ago. This time all of us came away with some new treasures (and, crucially, less than we bought to begin with) and the unwanted threads are going to a charity shop so everyone wins. I’ll write a longer post next week about my finds but for now the picture of clothing carnage, above, will have to suffice!
  • New blogs – my good friend and Bristol-based stylist, Amy, has take the plunge into the world of blogging. She has ridiculously good taste and has been my shopping partner in crime on more than one occasion! Take a look and say hello here.

What has been rocking your world? Let me know by commenting below…

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Filed under charity shop, clothes swap, photography, Rock The Week, vintage, Vogue

Bristol’s first Oxfam Boutique has landed!

Oxfam Boutique Park Street, Bristol

Bristol's Oxfam Boutique, Park Street

London has it’s fair share, Bath and Cardiff can boast one each and for a while I was wondering if an Oxfam Boutique would ever make it to Bristol but thankfully my prayers have been answered in the city’s first Oxfam Boutique situated on the oh-so-stylish Park Street.

Sat cosily between Cath Kidson and Boston Tea Party, the newly opened Oxfam Boutique has been decked out with a signature monochrome colour scheme, minimalist layout and gorgeous white gilt mirrors. Oh, and there are some nice clothes in there too.

Yesterday morning as I ducked in and away from the rain one of the boutique’s lovely volunteers toldy me how well the store has been received. Clothing donations are always welcome, and the boutique is also on the hunt for fashion-forward volunteers. Fututre plans could see the boutique getting involved in fashion shows, developing an online store and hosting events such as Stitch and Bitch nights so watch this space.

There was a wide range of womenswear and menswear to choose from – the  a cream cable knit jumper in the mens knitwear section particularly caught my eye – and the boutique feel come through in the clean display, minimalist window dressing and of course the prices – slightly higher than your average charity shop. There wasn’t quite as much vintage stock as I would have liked – though supermarket brands and Primark labels were all to common on the rails, as is often the case with fast fashion labels – but hopefully this will change as donations come flooding in.

The way Oxfam has tapped in to the link between charity shops and the trend for vintage or pre-loved clothing is spot on and undoubtedly an inspiring factor in Clic Sergent’s ‘Shop’ on Gloucester Road. In a location that already boasts some fantastic vintage hotspots such as Uncle Sams, Motel and BS8, the boutique will have plenty of competition but lets not forget that shopping here will get you a new outfit and contribute to a fantastic charity.

If you want to Beat Poverty With Style then pop in and say hello, volunteer your time or treat yourself to a new piece of wardrobe candy at Oxfam Boutique, 77 Park Street, BS1 5PF.

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Filed under charity shop, Eighties, ethical fashion, granny fashion, oxfam, vintage

Fashion Show Alert: (Ox)vamping It Up

Oxvamp UWE fashion show

I’ve been rushed off my feet all week but couldn’t wait for a Something for The Weekend… post to share this fashionable event. The Oxvamp Fashion Show is a collaboration between UWE fashion students and Orange Street Creative Studios, in honour of Oxfam’s amazing online store.

If you’re anything like me you love nothing more than a rummage in a vintage store, charity shop or jumble sale (proof of my addiction can be found littered throughout this blog) and I like to think that scoring points on the ethical fashion front balances out all those debt-inducing trips to the high street, right? ; )

As well as numerous charity shops Oxfam also have several Oxfam Boutiques across the country (including Bath and Cardiff) dedicated to vintage clothes, custom creations and re-worked garments. Here in Bristol we have the Oxfam Hub, based in Portishead. Although it isn’t open to the public, the Hub is essential to Oxfam’s online store – a dedicated warehouse where volunteers sort through stock and upload images and product descriptions to the site for us savvy shoppers to peruse. The Hub was kind enough to donate lots of stock not fit re-sale to Orange Street and UWE, whose students have now transformed preloved garments giving them a new lease of life.

UWE fashion students select clothes from Oxfam's Portishead Hub

UWE fashion students select clothes from Oxfam's Portishead Hub. Photo courtesy of Orange Street Creative Studios

It’s a closely guarded secret as to what we can expect on the catwalk, taking place next Friday, but Anna Scully, a UWE student and part of the team behind the event promises garments will be “very avant-garde and unrecognisable from their original state. These pieces will then go onto the online store ready for purchase.” If you can’t wait there are also sneak peaks of the garments on the Oxvamp Fashion Show Facebook page.

As well as a catwalk show there will be drinks and nibbles aplenty at this fashionable harbourside venue – what better way to kick-start your weekend? Tickets are going fast so if you want to do your bit for a good cause and see future designers in action, come down to the third floor of Bush House (above the Arnolfini) on Friday 1st April at 7pm – don’t forget to book your ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Oxvamp Fashion Show is free but donations are welcome and tickets must be booked in advance. You can find Facebook event details here and to book your ticket click here.

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Vintage Charity on Gloucester Road

Clic Shop on Gloucester Road

When I was younger and first discovered the joy of charity shops, I fantasised that one day I would open my own and instead of a dull interior and lifeless, mismatched garments, I would have vibrant window displays, an area for customising clothes and generally make this (imaginary) shop look like the complete opposite of its friends further along the high street. When I first walked in to the newly opened CLIC Sargent Shop on Gloucester Road, it felt as if my dream had been realised.

Once home to cafe-cum-bar Hatters, the retail space had been deserted over the winter months but the location, in the heart of Gloucester Road, has proved perfect for CLIC Sargent’s first ever dedicated vintage shop. A lot of thought has gone in to the visual merchandising of the store, which opened officially a few weeks ago on 5th February. In many charity shops it is a given that it takes a certain amount of rummaging to find a a vintage gem but here kitsch crockery, costume jewellery, decades worth of dresses and old vinyal records are par for the course. The rail of fake fur coats and artwork by local artist Hugo Good adds to the boutique feel of Shop.

When I popped in a couple of weeks ago Shop’s deputy manager Helen Bowden even remarked that “many customers don’t even realise we are a charity shop – passers by are curious and looking for vintage clothes or accesories”. Although the work the shop does is paramount (as the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people CLIC Sargent support and fundraise for families and individuals across the nation) the fact that they are capitalising on the current trend for all things vintage will be key to it’s success. Along with Cotham Hill and Clifton Village, Gloucester Road is a hotspot for some of the city’s best charity shops and it is fantastic that CLIC Sargent have identified what savvy shoppers want from charity shops.

CLIC Sargent already have eight charity shops in Bristol but Shop on Gloucester Road is their first dedicated vintage clothing shop. The staff are young and stylish, though this isn’t a prerequisite for volunteering, and the stock is regularly updated, and promoted via their Facebook page. There are knitted jumpers, strings of acrylic beads and furniture too, as well as handmade goods by local Bristol craft makers, all at reasonable prices.

If Shop proves to be a success CLIC Sargent may well roll dedicated vintage stores out across the country so make sure you check it out next time you take a wander along Gloucester Road.

Clic vintage on Gloucester RoadAccesories galore at Clic ShopGilt mirrors and vintage hats at Clic ShopWindow display Clic Shopvintage stock at Clic Shop

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