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Barboot: A Nice Little Earner!!

4 Jun

Today I carted some pre-loved clothing and accessories to the Hare & Hounds Pub in Kings Heath to pitch a stall at the weekly Barboot Bazaar!

Like a Carboot, without the early mornings and risk of bad weather, people come together with clothing, crafts, homeware, books and other misceleaneor every Saturday between 11 and 3.

Here is my stall of clothing and accessories that I no longer want or wear…

But what better way to pass them on?

Today’s society has a real mix of attitudes towards throwing things away!

Many people think it is better value to buy cheap and in bulk, throwing things in the bin when they break or the condition deteriroates, or the product goes out of fashion.

However, everything just ends up in land-fill polluting the earth! Plus, many people in poorer countries continue to be exploited and abused due to thehigh demand for more of what has just been thrown out!

On the other hand, many people have embraced reusing and recycling as a way of life. Not just with paper and other household materials but with their wardrobes.

Vintage is not a new concept but the attitudes of wearing something old and hand-me-down culture are becoming more widespread.

Today I was not only lucky enough to have many customers with these attitudes, but also to make some great new friends (and useful future contacts).

One lovely girl (who was also selling her old things)  in particular noticed my eclectic style and was at my table like a shot. After chatting all day we agreed to have a swap of anything we liked of each others at the end of a day.

So now I have:

a) Earnt some pennies

b) Got rid of some things I no longer wanted

c) Done a good deed (in recycling)

d) Got some new clothes (recycled)

e) Made some great friends

A thumbs up all round!

The Queen of Punk Endorses Upcycling…

19 May

I have just finished reading this article in the June issue of Marie Claire about Vivienne Westwood‘s mission to save the world!

Renowned as the ‘Queen of Punk’, Viv is now developing a reputation as an eco-pioneer, and using her status and influential character to promote her thoughts and hopes for the future.

In the article she talks about how she has always been concerned about climate change and is inspired by James Lovelock‘s Gaia theory. The name Gaia was chosen so people would think of the earth of a human being. His theory revolves around the idea that it’s going to get so hot within one or two generations that nearly all the earth will be uninhabitable for human beings.

“Lovelock hoped humans would evolve into something more wonderful. The history of the human race is punctuated by our cleverness: we create one invention after the other.”

Westwood questions why humans cut down trees when they provide us with oxygen and food…

“So why are we, humans, so intent on destroying the thing that gives us life?”

Marie Claire Vivienne Westwood

Westwood is also promoting more sustainable ideas for the fashion industry and its’ consumers…

“The first thing I’ve been doing is promoting the idea of ‘do it yourself’. Make your own T-shirt by putting a picture in a plastic sleeve and pinning it on. Whatever!”

She is also hot on the idea of encouraging consumers to buy less but choose well, opting for investment pieces that will last longer…

“Nearly everyone in the fashion industry is on a train, producing too much stuff. I would like quality, not quantity. I don’t believe in growth if it means one man’s advantage is another man’s disadvantage.”

Marie Claire

As someone who also supports the idea of ethical and sustainable fashion I agree with Westwood’s views very strongly.

I believe my fondness for vintage fashion has a lot to do with this. To me, vintage is the most sustainable form of fashion as nothing new is being produced. Plus the methods of making clothing used to be a lot more energy-efficient, especially back in the 1940s and 50s when everything was made by hand! The styles have already remained desirable for this long and will continue to look timeless and cool no matter how many trends come and go, or last season’s garments are tossed out to make room for next season!

However, how can someone whose business is producing new clothing have conflicting views on the subject?

“The only thing I have the power to do is to close my business down, but I’ve never seriously considered it. If people bought fewer clothes and made better choices they would start to understand value for money.”

Vivienne Westwood

An extreme example of upcycling!

The article continues to dig deeper into ways of consuming differently to help fight global warming, e.g. apparantly one of the most efficient ways to save energy woudl be to change our diets. Paul McCartney has started a ‘Meat-Free Monday’ campaign, which could make an amazing difference.

Westwood goes on to say she’d like to make a TV series called ‘Get a Life!’ about making the world more habitable for humans. She also wants to encourage people to ‘get a life’ in more mind-opening ways such as visiting galleries or listening to different types of music…

“Every time I look up a word in the dictionary I get a real sense of satisfaction at learning something.”

Ending on a good note, Viv’ concludes the interview with a few words of wisdom…

“Your time is precious, so don’t just sit around and suck things up. Invest in things, fight for something.
My motto is, ‘You get out what you put in‘.”

To voice her views further, Vivienne Westwood has collaborated with ethical fashion label People Tree to produce this limited edition dress. Made from 100% fair-trade organic cotton, £7 of every sale will also be donated to the Society for Human Development, which supports the women of the Garo tribe who love in the Madhupur forest region of Bangladesh.

90% of their native forest land has been destroyed by logging- placing them and their livelihood, at risk.

The cotton used to produce these dresses is made in Gujarat, India so sales will also help the workers there earn a fair wage.

I love a good deed or two!

Curiouser and Curiouser…

5 May

I have always loved charity shops and frequently used to hunt for vintage clothes in them when I was a teenager.
As well as the obvious, giving money to charity there are so many other reasons for shopping at them…

a. Donating clothing and various other miscellanea is preventing the increase of land fill.

b. Quite often people will buy a second-hand item instead of a brand-new one, therefore recycling that object and cutting down on the need for mass-production. Nothing new is being produced.

c. Buying second-hand clothes is the purist form of ethical fashion, plus it inspires a unique, creative and distinct look for the wearer, making them more conscious of what they are wearing.

d. It raises awareness of the work charities do.

One charity I admire is Oxfam. They are leading the way when it comes to contemporary and interesting ways of encouraging people to shop at their stores.

During my recent Easter holiday I took a trip to London and was lucky enough to catch the last day of the Oxfam Curiosity Shop: a pop-up concession in Selfridges‘ Ultra Lounge…

A host of A-list stars joined forces with Annie Lennox, Oxfam and Selfridges to create Britain’s biggest charity pop-up shop – and twenty-four of the most special pieces were selected for our exclusive online auction too.

The huge space was packed with celebrity donations, sought after samples and vintage clothing that had been hand-picked from Oxfam stores across the country.

Here’s a film, presented by the lovely Annie Lennox and other celebs who probably explain it better than me!

And some photos of the inside of the (Curiosity) shop…


Now I bet you’re wondering if I bought something?

Actually, that’s a stupid question!… Of course I did!!!

I bought these amazing novelty culottes with pineapples on them for £16! I think I was hungry at the time, but I think they’re fab and I hope the weather stays sunny so I can wear them!!

Collectively the store and auction raised £280, 000 during the 10 days it was open, which is an AMAZING contribution to the work Oxfam do. 100% of the money raised will go to Oxfam Circle projects; helping to provide essential healthcare, schooling and much more, to women living in poverty.


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