Thursday, 20 November 2014

Second Hand First




 




My current room is bedecked with dresses – five of them strung across one wall, doing an excellent job of simultaneously providing decoration and hiding chipped paint marks. All but one are second hand, bought from an array of vintage stalls, charity shops and other clothes troves I’ve visited in the last few years. My wardrobe is also packed tight with skirts, shirts and jumpers that possibly had previous owners (and other stories) before I plucked them up from some pile or rail. This term the colours are all darkly jeweled - jades, deep blues, reds, pinks – with lots of black and grey thrown into the mix. There are velvets, silks, leather jackets, thick wools and the odd fancy hat. 

This little assembly of items is typical of my wider wardrobe. A small selection of it was bought new (think People Tree, ASOS Africa and the occasional foray into an independent designer or sustainable brand), but the rest has passed through other hands, other houses, other heritages first. I’d say about 80% of my clothing is second hand, whether it’s been bought by me, sneaked away from my mum, passed down from previous generations or received as gifts. 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the last few days, as the textiles charity TRAID have deemed this week to be one of going ‘Second Hand First’. They’re trying to encourage more people to think about the environmental impact of what they buy - and to source a percentage of their wardrobe second hand (you can even sign a pledge if you’re feeling ambitious). Obviously this is no challenge for me, as charity shops and vintage stalls are my natural hunting ground. But it’s good to be reminded of the thrill every now and then – the pleasure of sifting through fifties tea-dresses, the satisfaction of finding something you know you’ll wear time and time again. You can read more about the aims and actions of TRAID here

To commemorate the occasion, I’ve put together a little bunch of images from the last five and a half years, charting some of the many, many outfits comprised of nearly all second hand clothes (although I realised in the process of choosing photos that I could have used just about any past post to illustrate the ethos). I also still own every item re-shown  - including the floor length, red satin evening coat that belonged originally to one of my great grandmothers, given to me in 2009 by my Babi (Grandma). I won’t elaborate any more here, as my main thoughts on the subject were expressed in this recent piece ‘Some Words on Second Hand.’ Which I ended thus:

“It’s more about a slow-burn pleasure, having the privilege to keep on building a little emporium of second hand delights. Some pieces will come and go, while others – hopefully – will remain stashed away until I’m old. Who knows what clothes there are left to discover… Slightly superficial? Well, yes. But a joy to consider? Absolutely.”

TRAID are making this week all about that joy. I’ll be joining them as I stomp around Oxford in various outfits cobbled together from items owned by others first - hopefully adding in my own tales to the ones created when they were worn before.

In other news, I recently did an interview with Fashiola, which you can read here

16 comments:

AVY said...

A walk through history, sort of.

/ Avy
http://MyMotherFuckedMickJagger.blogspot.com




Closet Fashionista said...

You definitely find amazing pieces second hand! About 5% of my closet is second hand, so I'm slacking in that department! Although it might be more than 5% if you count the SUPER expensive pieces from the consignment store that still had the tags on them, haha...
http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

Vix said...

Its the only way to shop if you want a unique and totally fabulous wardrobe. It astounds me that anyone bothers with retail, expensive, boring and instantly forgettable.
What an array of gorgeous images, a lovely recap. xxx

Hannah McManus said...

Brilliantly written piece as usual, this sounds like a very interesting idea! You also always create such magical outfits from your second hand pieces, great inspiration :)
Hannah x
Hanniemc.co.uk

Melanie said...

What I love more than anything here, although I'm smitten by your long rose robe, is a woman who knows her mind, in this case, expressed through your style. It's so easy to fall into herd mentality but to stand on your own, wow, that definitely turns my head every time. Great piece. And I enjoyed your interview.

Insomnia said...

I sincerely can't tell whether I like your texts or photos more. Awesome!


http://styledissected.blogspot.com/

FASHION TALES said...

I agree, it is amazing and a great feeling knowing that you are carrying tales about the threads that you wear, especially if it was a piece of clothing that was special to the person who owned it before you. Some of my favourite pieces to wear are all from charity shops or passed down vintage from my parents. your printed quilted skirt is an absolute stunner! Lovely interview as well!

Helen Le Caplain said...

A gorgeous collection - but that green silky number is a definite wowzers!

Citizen Rosebud said...

You'd make the perfect posterchild/ spokesperson for #SECONDHANDFIRST. You truly shoe how you can express yourself, and style and carry added dimension of the history of a garment. Doesn't hurt that you are, pretty as, and are a model. Doesn't hurt you look brainy and confident and gorgeous wearing your 2nd hand togs! Brilliant creature!

mariafelicia magno said...

very nice pics!
i'm a new follower(color-block)follow me back if you want
kisses

Ivana Split said...

I do own a lot of second hand clothes. Most of the them are passed on by previous generations of my family. I guess the word got out that I like vintage clothing or something because it seems that almost every member of the family (aunts, relatives and so on) has the need to pass on some valuable item to me, often accompanied with words- I know you're the only one that will treasure it!...as they know I will.

I do believe buying second hand has many benefits...not just ecological or even ethical...but freeing us from the trends and the constant advertising we're under...a freedom of saying: ' I really love this and don't care much what others think.'

Really is there a better way to find what we like than shopping in (a preferably chaotic) second hand shop? The joy of the hunt:)!

Carlota Antolin Vallespin said...

Your express your self so good that I usually don't have nothing to add on comments.

I just want to say that for me it was a surprise to discover a couple of years ago the whole vintage and second-hand movement.
In my childhood I never had new clothes, I inherited all from my brothers, cousins and older friends. I always felt really bad about it, it was a symbol of poorness at school: I always desired to have new clothes like anybody else. So when I became teenager I bough (and stole) a lot of clothes from the massive brands: Zara, H&m....
Then, suddenly rich girls (I am not referring to you, obviously) were buying used clothes and it was cool. I was a bit shock... suddenly it is cool to use used clothes??

Later I realized that all the clothes I got when I was teenager were mostly shitty quality and shitty design.... Now I look into my wardrobe and I see that the clothes I like most is the clothes I inherited . The clothes that came to my by casualty.

The special thing about you is not the fact that you buy second hand clothes, it is the originality of your elections and combinations.

Kisses!

Mandy Bajwa said...

great outfits!!

www.mandybajwa.blogspot.com

Anova said...

These are some amazing pictures <3 I love all these outfits xo Great work!

http://anovamelody.blogspot.com

C harmer said...

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Lally said...

Oh how lovely to re-visit all your old (marvellous) outfits! I love TRAID, they are a great charity. They have a brilliant charity shop in Camden that I often used to visit after traipsing round Sainsburys. How brilliant that you still own each item, I'm a bit of a clothes hoarder too. Due to that I try hard to only ever purchase things I REALLY love and they more often than not are old/vintage/recycled in some way. It means every piece it much more treasured and loved for it's story of how it was found! XX