Category Archives: ethical fashion

Cloth Magazine: relaunch issue review

Cloth magazine relaunch issue | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

When the lovely folks at Cloth magazine asked if I wanted to review their new relaunch issue, I jumped at the chance. I have something of a magazine habit and read Cloth back when it first launched in 2009, as a handbag-sized DIY guide to making mittens, shift dresses and floral jumpsuits. I even blogged about it, when Cloth and Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion were both in their infancy.

Back then the magazine was only available in local indie shops (many of them  in the South West, as it’s produced in Bristol) but now you can find it online and in the likes of Liberty, The V&A and Selfridges.

Three and a bit years later, the relaunch issue of Cloth is a larger format that’s just as inspiring, with a focus on upcycling and thrifting as well as DIY. From iPad cases to faux fur stoles, Cloth is beautifully laid out on thick, matte paper (as it always has been) with easy to follow instructions.

Regular readers will know that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my sewing machine (I was told my Christmas stockings looked like oven gloves) but I want to try making more clothes and furnishings this year and Cloth has provided some great inspiration. I particularly like the interviews and ‘inside the wardrobe/home of…’ articles, as these satisfies my nosy side and reminds me of a life before Pinterest, when I would rip out inspiring outfits or interiors and add them to real life scrap books. Truth be told, that took up way more room, but I do love the nostalgia and permanency of ripping out those pages. Luckily for me Cloth are on Pinterest, too.

Do you make your own clothes or furnishings, and are there any crafty magazines that you like to read?

Cloth retails at £4.99 but there are subscription deals available on their website.

Cloth magazine hosiery DIY | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionCloth magazines | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionCloth magazine guide to Berlin | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion



Filed under ethical fashion, fashion magazines

BIB A/W12 Charity Fashion Show

Bristol Independent Boutique finale

Two weeks ago (which feels like such a long time!) I was lucky enough to go the Bristol Independent Boutiques A/W Fashion Show which took place at Bristol Folk House. I think Bristol has such an exciting and creative pool of desingers and boutiques, so when I heard that organiser Andree Latibeaudiere was putting the show on, I knew I had to come along to check it out and support the local talent.

So after meeting up with Beautiful Plumage for a couple of pre-show drinks, I headed up to the Bristol Folk House on Park Street for the show. The hall inside the venue was lined with chairs to form a snaking catwalk. The event was in aid of Labour Behind the Label, a charity organisation dedicated to raising awareness of sweatshop workers and fighting for better working conditions.

As you may have guessed, all the participants were either independent Bristol designers or boutiques. Some I’m well acquainted with, such as 71 QueensCox & Baloney and Fix Up Look Sharp. Other labels were a new discovery for me, such as LaGrace Ekall, fox + feather and twentythree Work/Shop. Once the show got underway there was a huge mix of styles and designs, reflecting the diversity of Bristol’s creative scene, from pretty floral dresses to reworked 90s shirts.

Aside from the clothes, a selection of which you can see below, the most striking thing was the hair styling – all victory rolls and 40s curls. The models were all so different in terms of their shape and personal style but it was their expertly crafted hair that helped to tie the show together.

During the show we got chatting to Phobe of 7th Sea on Cheltenham Road, whose collection included quirky moustache covered shirts and glittering skulls. As well as stocking her own designs, Phobe also sells other artists and designers work for a cut of the price – a great idea for budding boutique owners.

The show felt stilted in parts as the announcer and models weren’t in synch – there were often long pauses between each set, but that’s perhaps to be expected for a brand new show. Andree has plans to put on a Spring/Summer event next year and I’m looking forward to how her vision develops.

If you’re a budding designer or think you have skills that could be an asset to this exciting network then check out their Facebook page for more information.

fox and feather blue floral dress
fox + feather blue floral dress
Jumper from Portobella on Cheltenham Road
Jumper from Portobella on Cheltenham Road
Vintage sportswear from 71 Queens
Vintage sportswear from 71 Queens
The Folk House A/W programme and my boots!
The Folk House A/W programme and my boots!
Glittering skulls from 7th Sea
Glittering skulls from 7th Sea
Bristol Independent Boutiques show finale
Bristol Independent Boutiques show finale
I love this gorgeous Cox & Baloney dress

I love this gorgeous Cox & Baloney dress

Monochrome from Pink Lemons boutique

Monochrome from Pink Lemons boutique


Filed under catwalk show, Cox and Baloney, ethical fashion

Kat’s Clothes Swap

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to an impromptu clothes swap. Actually, it wasn’t that impromptu – Kat, who is raising money to fund her trip to work with a charity in Mexico – had been planning it for weeks, but I didn’t find out about it until S of Beautiful Plumage asked me to go that same afternoon. I love a good clothes swap, and since this one was for charity I could hardly say no, could I?

I’ve been to a couple of small-scale clothes swaps and while Kat’s was held in her home on a quiet street in Southville, it was the most organised and well-stocked swap I’ve ever been to! The photos I took on my phone are a bit rubbish, but picture a living room piled high with clothes, accessories and jewellery, all divided into neat sections, including knitwear, skirts, jackets and even ‘sparkly things’.

Not only was there an abundance of clothes to choose from, there were also ample sweet treats that Kat had whipped up, including carrot cake, scones and fresh strawberries. Yum!

After some tea and cake, nine of us spent half an hour perusing ( I love that word) the extensive collection of clothes and selecting a few outfits to try on, before getting stuck in and swapping.

I came away with some fantastic finds, including a mustard coloured chunky knit jumper from Warehouse, a linen blazer and leopard print jersey dress. Once the weather picks up I’ll put up some actual outfit posts, but for now, check out my best finds, below.

I’ve mentioned it before on the blog, but clothes swaps are such a fantastic way to socialise with friends, clear out the clothes you never wear and pick up some new threads at the same time. And, in the case of Kat’s clothes swap, you can raise money for charity, too.

Have you been to any clothes swaps recently? What’s been your favourite swapping find?

Coffee coloured Topshop jumper
Coffee coloured Topshop jumper
Redoute leopard print jersey dress
Redoute leopard print jersey dress
Blue spotty F+F top
Blue and cream spotty F+F top from Tesco
Grey linen Primark jacket
Grey linen 3/4 length sleeve jacket from Primark
Mustard yellow chunky knit Warehouse jumper
Mustard yellow chunky knit Warehouse jumper
Grey wollen jumper dress
Slouchy grey jumper dress


Filed under clothes swap, ethical fashion, Primark, Tesco, Topshop

Blogging for Oxfam Fashion

I finished work today to find a lovely surprise doing the rounds on Twitter – my first post for Oxfam Fashion has gone live!

I mentioned in a RTW post a few weeks ago that I’d been picked as Oxfam’s new fashion blogger, and the first topic I decided to tackle was how to offset buying new clothes by making sure I operate a one in, one out policy.

Sustainability within fashion blogging can often be a bit of a taboo topic, so I hope my post offers a small solution to buying brand new. Read the full article on their site and let me know your thoughts – do you have a way of controlling what goes in your wardrobe?

Have a great evening!


Filed under blogs, ethical fashion, oxfam

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….


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

Six Items

Six Items Challenge

Raise your hand in the air if you’ve been on a cheeky shopping trip this week. Yep, me too. I love fashion and the thrill of finding a bargain on the high street, not to mention the speed with which catwalk trends appear on the rails at Topshop, H&M and Primark. A replica Marc Jacobs dress for £13? Yes please! A different outfit every day for a month? No problem.

My wardrobe is bursting at the seams and I have clothes on every available surface of my bedroom, yet I can never find anything to wear in the morning. If this sounds familiar, imagine what life would be like if you had only six items to choose from.

The ‘Six Items Challenge’ began this week, coinciding with the end of London Fashion Week and the start of Lent, and sees participants shrinking down their wardrobes to just six pieces for 40 days, in a bid to highlight our increasing reliance on fast fashion – and the sweatshops that help make our fashion whims a reality.

Organised by Labour Behind The Label, who work to support and fight for the rights of overseas garment workers, this campaign aims to highlight the unseen perils of our ‘throwaway fashion’ shopping habits. Ship-Shape met LBTL last year to find out more about their work, and the benefits of clothes swaps and buying secondhand, so it was great to find out about this fantastic and challenging campaign.

You can read the rules here, but in a nutshell, participants are encouraged to ‘re-engage with creating clothing identities with less’ by relying on just six items of clothing for 30 days (after this week’s initial Lent launch), which doesn’t include underwear, accessories or performance-related gear, such as work uniforms or gym outfits. The team will be on the lookout for 10 new participants every couple of months, and hope to raise awareness and donations through sponsorship and documenting the process on their blog.

While I’m not sure I could cope with only relying on six items of clothes for a whole month (not least because I am constantly spilling food over myself) I think this is an incredible idea and I hope you do to. Could you survive with only six wardrobe staples? What would you choose and do you think this would change your shopping habits? Let me know by commenting below.


Filed under clothes swap, environment, ethical fashion, Fairtrade, London Fashion Week, recession, shopping, vintage fair

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

An Evening With… Charlie Boots

Charlie Boots at 204 Gloucester Road

Last night, before a girly meal at Zero Degrees, nom!, I had the pleasure of taking a trip up Gloucester Road to Charlie Boots. Shamefully this was my first visit to the ethical clothing and jewellery boutique since it opened four months ago, but I can gurantee it won’t be my last.

As regular readers know, while I struggle to resist a fast fashion bargain, I believe as consumers we must make ethical fashion choices where we can and it is up to us to acknowledge where our wardrobe must-haves come from and how they are produced. Charlie Boots (a clothing brand as well as a boutique and workshop space) ticks both of these boxes as it is focussed on using sustainable, vintage and fair trade fabrics and processes to produce limited edtion clothes and accessories. As well as this Charlie Boots, run by the lovely Ruth, stocks pieces by local and national artists, jewellery designers, photographers and  creatives.

Last night was a ‘open house’ at Charlie Boots – an opportunity to meet Ruth and the rest of the artists and designers stocked at Charlie Boots, as well as a chance to raise funds for The Moggery, a local cat rehoming centre based in Bishopston.

As well as chatting to Ruth I fell in love with some ceramic milk jugs by Joanna Rose and some gorgeous vintage and reworked necklaces by  Kirsty Kirkpatrick, see photos below, while S and I marvelled at the intricate, handmade vinyl clocks and earrings by Kristina.

Just doors down from the vintage emporium Billie Jean, Charlie Boots is part of a fantastic cluster of creative studios, shops and galleries that make this end of Gloucester Road well worth a visit. As one of the longest roads of independent retailers in the South West, Gloucester Road makes the perfect home for Charlie Boots and an essential destination for Bristol fashionistas.

I know I’ll be back for one of those milk jugs and perhaps a necklace too, or maybe an upcylced leather clutch bag… the wish-list is endless!

Jewellery at Charlie Boots

Selection of jewellery gems at Charlie Boots

Once I Was... leather clutch bag

Once I Was... leather clutch bag

Joanna Rose Ceramics

Beautiful tableware from Joanna Rose Ceramics

Gorgeous reworked jewellery at Charlie Boots

Gorgeous reworked jewellery

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Filed under environment, ethical fashion, Fairtrade, handmade, independent fashion, jewellery, 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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Filed under charity shop, ethical fashion, oxfam, UWE, vintage

Something for The Weekend… Fairwear Fashion Show

Fairwear Fashion Show 2011

We’re smack bang in the middle of Fairtrade Fortnight 2011 (28th February – 13th March) and Bristol is doing its bit by hosting the Fairwear Fashion Show this Saturday. Ethical fashion has been on my radar this week as readers of my Labour Behind the Label post will know, so I’m delighted to preview the Fairwear show for this week’s SFTW.

Since it’s inception two years ago, the Fairwear Fashion Show has showcased the best Fairtrade retailers and designers this city, and indeed country, has to offer and this year it moves from Bristol Cathedral to the Galleries in Broadmead. Ex Hollyoaks actor, Fairtrade campaigner and Bristol resident James Redmond will be presently the catwalk shows and the event, hosted by the Bristol Fairtrade Network, will also exhibit designs by UWE Fashion students. There will be three catwalk shows throughout the day as well as plenty of local Fairtrade beauty and fashion retailers, including Lush, Shared Earth and The Body Shop.

Fairwear fashion show 2010

Above: Fairwear Fashion Show 2010

Speaking ahead of this year’s show, Bristol Fairtrade Co-ordinator Jenny Foster told Ship-Shape, “Fairwear 2011 will be an exciting event showing that Fairtrade and ethical clothing and accessories can be affordable and beautiful, as well as providing a fair deal for farmers and the environment.” This is the second year I’ll be missing out as I’m off to London for the weekend but if you get a chance to pop down let me know what you think and look out for other Fairtrade Fortnight events across the city.

The Fairwear Fashion Show is free and catwalk shows take place at 12.30, 2pm and 3pm so there is no excuse to go down and catch a show – there will be plenty of fashion and beauty samples and goodies to enjoy too. For more information about the event click here or visit the Fairwear Facebook page.

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Filed under Broadmead, ethical fashion, Fairtrade, Something for The Weekend, UWE