Oxfam Charity Fashion Live 2015: Why Vintage Clothing Will Make You Feel Good

Why Oxfam's London Fashion Week Show Will Make You Feel Good

This feature is part of a month-long focus around sustainable fashion across HuffPost UK Style and Lifestyle. Here we aim to champion some of the emerging names in fashion and shine a light on the truth about the impact our appetite for fast fashion has around the world.

London Fashion Week isn't exactly known for being sustainable, but Oxfam Charity Fashion Live is hoping to change all that.

The annual event, which has run at LFW since 2012, is the brainchild of stylist Emma Slade-Edmondson - who teamed up with charity Oxfam to create their own fashion show.

On Saturday 19 September, Emma will be recreating looks from designers, just moments after they emerge on the catwalk, using only the second-hand clothing they find in the Oxfam Dalston Kingsland store.

Speaking to HuffPost UK Style, Emma said: "I wanted to prove that you don’t need a massive budget to be on trend and that fashion should be accessible to everyone."

She revealed how an estimated 350,000 tonnes of clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year, while the fashion industry continues to churn out more products than we could ever really need.

"To me this throwaway approach to fashion and textiles detracts somewhat from the real beauty of fashion – creativity and expression.

"Many of us use those clothes as a form of self expression so there’s a necessity for ethics in fashion - surely if we are talking to the world about who we are through what we wear, it should feel good all round."

Speaking about the event, a spokesperson for Oxfam added: "We hope it will inspire shoppers to visit the Oxfam online shop or their local Oxfam shop and where they can give clothes a second life and raise vital funds for our work to end extreme poverty around the world."

Emma also discussed her hope that the fashion show will inspire more people to visit vintage and charity shops.

"Whether you’ve made an alteration or slipped a new pair of pumps on straight off an Oxfam shelf, it's is a beautifully responsible way of enjoying fashion," she said.

"I particularly love wearing second hand because I like the idea of something being passed on, the thought of an item of clothing having a story before me."

Sometimes charity shopping can seem a bit daunting if you’re not a seasoned pro, so here's my top three stylist tips for nailing autumn/winter 15 on a charity shop run:

1. Beginners - don't browse

In some respects, if you’re unprepared, charity shopping can feel a little like shopping on Boxing day. For those who are not accustomed, I find it’s best to go at it with a clear idea of what you’re looking for in mind, to avoid feeling overwhelmed or unsure.

Decide on an outfit you need for an occasion and look firstly for a key piece you can build around. This key piece can either be from the charity shop or it can be from your existing wardrobe, and if this is the case be sure to bring it with you.

2. Look for the golden rail

I'm not sure I should be sharing this but I’m going to anyhow! Because of the way the sorting is done in charity shops, more often than not the lovely volunteer staff will be well adept at curating and putting aside all of the best bits.

What this means is that you should keep a keen eye out for the golden chalice, the pirates treasure, the cherry on the top of your sundae…. of rails. Now I can't promise it will always be there but in my experience there will often be a special rail somewhere on the floor with many of the best goodies on it.

In some shops this will be a vintage rail and others it may have something fairly recent from a top designer. Have a look for it on your first few visits and soon you’ll develop a knack for spotting it within minutes of entering the shop.

3. Don't try to mirror an era

Instead, mix your eras!

If you add a pair of retro 90’s high tops or sneakers to a cheeky little 60’s dress you’re going to look much less like you stepped out of your nans closet and more like an accomplished style maven.

Get involved on Saturday 19th September on Twitter at @CharityFashLive and @Oxfamfashion; Instagram at @CharityFashionLive or on the Facebook account CharityFashionLive.

You can also get help and inspiration at home by visiting LoveYourClothes.org.uk for tips and ideas on fixing, upcycling and caring for your clothes.

Oxfam Charity Fashion Live 2014


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