London Fashion Week Meets Charity Shop Chic
I was perturbed to see the words ‘YOU NEED NEW CLOTHES’ emblazoned across the front cover of this week’s of Time Out London. ‘No’, I thought, ‘I really don’t need new clothes, and please don’t encourage others to think that they do just to keep up with the latest passing trends’.
Some might say I am taking it a bit seriously - it is nearly London Fashion Week after all, and the fashion industry does, like many industries based around high turnover manufacturing, rely heavily on our love of trends; of all that is shiny and new. But then again, just because that is how it is, it doesn't follow that that is how it should be. Furthermore, because Time Out London usually displays a good balance of celebrating what is good about mainstream fashion whilst at the same time highlighting the ethical issues in this most wasteful of industries, I was surprised by their bold assertion that I 'need' new stuff.
It was with some relief therefore that, despite what it said on the cover of the current 'fashion issue', Time Out's website content this week isn’t only focused on appreciating ‘new clothes’: it also features an event that celebrates second-hand style, more precisely, ‘old clothes, new ways of wearing them’.
The British Red Cross Takeover is a collaboration between the long-established international emergency response charity and ethical styling consultancy Back of the Wardrobe, founded by thrifty fashion stylist Emma Slade Edmondson. Emma's primary focus is showing her clients how they can make the most of the forgotten or underappreciated clothes hiding at the back of their wardrobe by exploring creative ways to envision them anew.
Taking place this Saturday 13th September during London Fashion Week SS15, Emma and fashion photographer Claire Pepper will ‘takeover’ the British Red Cross Shop in London’s Victoria. Their mission is ‘to prove that you don’t need a big budget to be on trend’ or to shop sustainably, and they aim to demonstrate that 'buying charity shop and second-hand clothing is cooler than you ever imagined’.
The idea is simple: Emma will recreate looks as soon as they appear on the catwalk via the London Fashion Week live stream using only the second-hand clothes and accessories on offer in the British Red Cross shop. These one-off ‘charity catwalk looks’ will then be available to buy afterwards on a special eBay auction, with all of the proceeds going to the British Red Cross.
At The Good Wardrobe, we already know the many merits of shopping second-hand and love this ethos of using ‘creativity to get the most out of the clothes we already have’. But, if you are yet to be convinced, watch the film made of last year’s event to see what you’re missing:
The benefits of second-hand shopping aren’t only limited to style, creativity and money-saving: it’s also worth being aware of the social and environmental impact of fashion, as Emma explains:
‘One million tonnes of clothes go to the landfill each year. Fast fashion has created a climate in which people have a throwaway relationship with their clothes. As a result of this people and the environment are readily exploited by the garment industry.'
She also cites stats from the government-funded resource efficiency organisation WRAP: 'if we all extended the active use of our clothes for just 3 months, we could each cut down on our carbon and water and waste footprint by up to 10%’.
You can keep an eye on the The British Red Cross Takeover action from anywhere: just tune into @backofwardrobe @britishredcross and #charityfashionlive on Twitter on Saturday. Make sure you keep an eye out on the Back of the Wardrobe and the British Red Cross blogs to see the finished LFW SS15 film on Sunday 14th September.