Vintage Barbie – Mix n Match

This barbie advert was a little before my time but I think the way the child places the clothing and the doll in front on the mirror conveys how much consideration children apply when dressing their dolls/ playing dress up…

My barbie days have definitely had an impact on my ‘grown up’ fashion experiences. I think it was then that I realised what a joy clothing can bring…

The Clothes Show – Guide to Swapping

Swapsies – what’s mine is yours

“Sisters, sisters, never were there two more devoted sisters, caring, sharing every little thing that we are wearing…” song by Irving Berlin
Clothing has caused so many rows between my sister and I when we were growing up… never did we think we would speak the words “what’s mine is yours” out loud!

My sister and I are only a year apart in age and through our childhood we were always dressed in the same (sometimes different colours, but always the same clothing). The downside to being the youngest is that she had to wear the outfit longer by wearing my ‘hand me downs’ as I grew out of them. My Mum is not one to be wasteful would get the last possible wear out of each piece of clothing before handing over to friends or charity shops.

We can recollect times when family dropped in clothing that no longer fitted our older cousins. We used to ransack the bag with delight – it was always something new to us and we found it exciting.
As fashion has become more accessible, prices have dropped and people don’t always associate a great deal of value to their clothing. If a top costs £3 and the trousers £5 why go to the effort of passing it on – when someone can buy an outfit for less than £10?
With the gloomy reality of being in the midst of a recession consumers are being encouraged to buy into clothing that is more durable, classic and will last the test of time. Will this bring back trading, swapping and exchanging?
My sister and I’s relationship to clothing has changed and we now work as a team. We recently started doing “swapsies” where I take a bag of clothing over to her house or mine and we trade. Similar to when we were children in the playground and traded sweets  we called the process “one for one”.
I recently came across a website founded by Judy Berger in 2004, called “” –  this online community allows users to upload clothing, while other users bid their interest to purchase or exchange something in return. I think this is an exciting way to update or refresh your wardrobe without spending a fortune. It also brings people with a genuine love for fashion together to exchange style tips and value clothing.

Frock Me

Frock Me – vintage fashion fair returns on 15th Feb, Chelsea Town Hall, Kings Rd, London SW3. 11am – 5pm.

The very best of vintage fashion presented under one roof. You can pick up original garments reminiscent of each era. Described by the Sunday Times as the place to pick up something stylish and with visits from both celebrities and top designers it’s not an event to be missed.

Funk Fair – Edinburgh

I attended Funk Fair, Edinburgh before Christmas. I met some lovely creative people and snapped up some vintage goodies.

The fair presented a variety of different stands displaying vintage trinkets, clothing and accessories. Some of the designers were present and busy making at their stalls – I found this inspiring and the creations more authentic.
I chatted with the people from mixing fibres who were busy making at their stand. They offer workshops and classes from £12 upwards covering a whole range of felt making techniques.
There was Eco cards, cushions and shopper bags from Susie Maroon (previously featured in Marie Claire). There was work from Fashion Designer Iona Crawford which is also stocked in Concrete Wardrobe, Edinburgh. I bought a beautiful floral dress from RowanJoy a brand stocked in Godiva Boutique, Edinburgh – where she offered a made to measure consultancy service.
The vintage stalls also hosted hidden fashion treasures including an original Biba suit! I have uploaded some pictures of the day.

Conscious Style

On Sunday 9th Nov I attended an ethical fashion day at the V&A

Swishing Party
The morning kicked off with a swishing party. I exchanged an ethical shopper bag full of my old clothing and collected a raffle ticket to partake in the swishing event. All clothing was sorted and displayed beautifully and on clothing rails. A 30 min look but don’t touch session allowed participants to eye up the goodies. Then when the rails were opened the clothing disappeared within seconds as a frenzy of fashionistas ran around frantically seeking out their treasures and delighted girls exited, arms laden with ethical shopper bags full of clothing.
I think this is a wonderful way to update your wardrobe and send your unwanted clothing to a good home, you could say one girls cast off clothing is another girls treasure…
Other highlights of the day were a cut & sew workshop run by central saint martins students who were on hand to offer their expertise to update and restyle old clothing. An IT suite was available to educate participants of how to source ethical fashion on the net.
A series of discussions and lectures ran throughout the day covering themes from how we shop for ethical fashion on the high street, how to re-style your wardrobe, slow fashion, and a panel debate. The Ethical Fashion Debate presented a panel of inspiration speakers from Katherine E Hamnet, journalist Lucy Siegel, Research Fellow Mo Tomaney from Central Saint Martins, founder of People Tree Safia Minney and chaired by Caryn Franklin. They were truly inspirational as they gave us insights into where we stand with ethical fashion by illustrated how far we have come, hugely due to their commitment and effort. However, a lot of issues need to be addressed and we as consumers have a responsibility to ask questions about where our clothing comes from and how it is made. The panel encouraged everyone to write to retailers to ask questions and demand more sustainable goods. Lucy Siegel asked the panel and audience (who included top model Erin O’Conner), “If we think a retailer is guilty of unethical practice do you boycott or engage?” The majority of the audience and panel raised hands to suggest the would boycott and Lucy replied… how about we engage.
I think collaboration and good design is the way forward. If consumers communicate their desires to retailers they will be forced to supply to meet consumer demand. Take a look at ethical trading initiative – be an ethical pest for ideas.
The day closed with an Ethical Fashion Show, presented by Orsola de Castro, fashion designer and curator of Estethica at London Fashion Week. Designs from Stella McCartney, Junky Styling, Noir and t-shirts made for EJF by designers Giles Deacon and Allegra Hicks.
This was a breathtaking finale to a truly inspirational day. Fashion is so multi faceted and ethical clothing can be achieved under an umbrella of different methods.
I walked away with knowledge of where to buy ethical clothing, techniques to update my existing wardrobe, some newly swished clothing and a commitment to be an active consumer who will engage with retailers and be truly style conscious.