Oxfam Fashion at the London Mela

The London Mela was a free family festival held in Gunnersbury Park last weekend, on Sunday 1st September. ‘A celebration inspired by South Asian Culture’, there was plenty going on, including music, arts, dance and loads of food. BBC Asian Network partnered with London Mela for the 8th successive year hosting a spectacular line up on the Main Stage. Oxfam and the British Heart Foundation were the two charity partners. I went along with Oxfam Fashion who put on an amazing fashion show for the Mela crowds.

So much work went into prepping for the fashion show. The show was led by designer Neishaa Gharat with the aim of showcasing the amazing clothes that Oxfam has to offer and show how great outfits can be built with second-hand finds. Neishaa visited Oxfam’s Batley warehouse and picked the pieces she felt had the most potential, and the Oxfam team helped to prep garments at the sorting warehouse in Milton Keynes (check out the sneak peak of the sorting warehouse on I Want You to Know). She came up with about 100 outfits which had to be whittled down for the Mela show, plus she showcased her own gorgeous designs. Neishaa had some helpers too – see Catherine’s @DesignsInDenim guest post for Oxfam.

The show ran three times during the Mela, and each show had eight scenes or looks, so it was frantic backstage helping the models with their quick changes. I was put in charge of the ‘Fash Phone’ for the day and tweeting pics to Oxfam’s lovely followers. It was also great to catch up with Oxfam’s marketing co-ordinator Kelly, @crazyscissorgal Teresa, and to meet Oxfam’s fashion assistant Helen after many months of emailing and tweeting!

The Neishaa Gharat for Oxfam collection is available to buy online, do take a look. Here are a few pics of the day.

Running order for the show

Running order for the show

Outfits ready

Outfits ready

In make-up

In make-up

On the catwalk

On the catwalk

Did you know? Melas originate from the Indian sub-continent. The word Mela comes from the sanskrit “to meet” and is related to “milana” the verb to tune. It is commonly used to describe a large gathering of people celebrating artistic, religious or political events –like a festival!

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Record Numbers Swap Clothes as Part of M&S and Oxfam’s Latest Shwopping Event

joanna-shwopping

Swishing/swapping parties have taken off big time over the last couple of years. Giving the opportunity for people to swap clothes that they don’t wear for clothes that they do is a fab idea. It’s sustainable and quite often totally free (although some parties might charge an entry fee, often donated to charity). What’s more, if you took part in one of the recent Shwopping events by Marks and Spencer’s and Oxfam, you will have received a £5 M&S voucher, amazing!

The One Day Wardrobe Clear Out was held on Thursday 9th May and asked customers to help ease the landfill burden by bringing their unwanted clothes into M&S to swap for pieces donated by other customers. 435,000 used and unwanted items were shwopped over 12 hours – the equivalent of 604 items a minute.

The event, as part of M&S and Oxfam’s sustainable fashion initiative Shwopping, will see every item left donated go on to be re-sold or recycled by the charity, cutting waste and raising much-needed funds in its fight against global poverty. The record number of items shwopped will raise an estimated £504,600 for Oxfam.

Adam Elman, Head of Marks & Spencer’s Plan A Delivery, said:
“It’s amazing to see so many people taking part and shwopping their clothes to support Oxfam. 435,000 clothes donated is a fantastic achievement; this is by far the most successful clothes-recycling event we have ever had! It doesn’t stop here, with over 1 billion items sent to landfill each year in the UK, we hope that customers will continue to adopt a ‘buy one, give one back’ culture when they shop and help us to build a more sustainable future.”

Since its launch in April last year, Oxfam has received over 4.3 million items of clothing thanks to Shwopping, worth over £2.8 million for the charity. All money raised by Shwopping, fronted by Joanna Lumley, is used to support Oxfam’s projects around the world. Don’t forget to check out the Oxfam Fashion blog and remember you can shop for Oxfam pieces online.

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University of Southampton Clothing Swap Shop

A few months ago I was approached about getting involved in an exciting event – the University of Southampton‘s first official clothes swap! The event was spearheaded by Green Academy Programme Assistant Julia Kendal and a team of students who were already involved in the student’s union or environmental/ethical organisations. It was great that I could be involved too, as at the time we started planning I had just been thinking about ways to share consumer items on campus, like a campus-only arm of Freecycle, which I still think is a great idea but haven’t time to do. The Swap Shop was held on 14th March and was a great success. There was always the worry we wouldn’t have enough people through the door and enough clothes but 81 people donated items.

You can read more about the Swap Shop on the Oxfam Fashion Blog, but I just wanted to share some more pictures. We’ll be running it again!

Swap shopping!

Swap shopping!

I ran a powerpoint presentation in the background on ethical fashion

I ran a powerpoint presentation in the background on ethical fashion

Fitted with mirrors and changing rooms . . .

Fitted with mirrors and changing rooms . . .

and we had men's

and we had men’s

My lovely friend Tasha took a day off work to volunteer!

My lovely friend Tasha took a day off work to volunteer!

The Soton Swap Shop team

The Soton Swap Shop team

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Autumn 2012 Blog post Round-Up

Here are some of the blog posts I had published elsewhere on the blogosphere over the last 3 months:

In November, I made it onto the Marks & Spencer Social site with a step-by-step how to make a patchwork cushion.
http://social.marksandspencer.com/latest/shwopping-how-to-make-a-patchwork-cushion/

I looked at the toe-curling truth of your Christmas socks for Ms Wandas’ Wardrobe. Did you know one third of the world’s supply of socks come from one Chinese Province?
http://www.mswandas.co.uk/2012/12/12/the-toe-curling-truth-of-your-christmas-socks/

I reviewed the Winchester Oxfam shop for Oxfam Fashion, and wrote about the story of your cashmere Christmas jumper.
http://www.oxfam.org.uk/fashion-blog/2012/12/oxfam-winchester?CID=ScM_Shopfashion
http://www.oxfam.org.uk/fashion-blog/2012/11/cashmere-and-ethics-the-story-of-your-christmas-jumper?cid=ScM_TW_Shop

And for the University of Southampton Geography Postgrads blog I wrote ‘What is human geography?’ and ‘Career Destinations: Options after PhD Study’
http://www.geographypostgrads.com/what-is-human-geography/
http://www.geographypostgrads.com/career-destinations-options-after-phd-study/

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Fashion Books and Second-hand Kids Clothes

Here are my two latest Oxfam Fashion blog posts.

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/fashion-blog/2012/07/like-a-kid-in-a-charity-shop
http://www.oxfam.org.uk/fashion-blog/2012/08/hunting-for-fashion-and-textiles-books?cid=ScM_TW_Shop

I was inspired to write about second-hand fashion and textile books after finding St CYR Vintage in Camden Stables Market when hunting for London’s best vintage shops. Alongside a beautiful range of vintage clothes they have hundreds of second-hand fashion and textiles books, well worth a look. It was also an opportunity to show off my scrummy 1930s needlecraft book. Take a look at the blog post here.

My July post was closely related to my PhD topic – the sale of second-hand baby clothes, toys and equipment. For the Oxfam post I didn’t go too deeply into the things that I am exploring for the PhD but I will be looking at mother’s emotional attachment to baby things and how the material harbours identities of women as mothers, allowing them to strengthen their role as nurturer and provider. Does consumption aid women’s transition to motherhood? The NCT nearly new sales that I am using as a case study provide a great opportunity to buy and sell second-hand baby things. There will be autumn/winter sales running across the country during October and November.

My sister, nephew and niece feature in this post! Like a kid in a charity shop.

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