Saturday, 3 December 2011

Clothes Show Live: an ethical perspective

I was lucky enough to be given a press pass this year's Clothes Show Live, so yesterday I ventured to Birmingham's NEC all on my lonesome to join the masses of shoppers at this humungous event. If I'm honest, I was kind of dreading it - several football pitches' worth of fast fashion terrifies the living daylights out of me. But I wasn't really there for that: I had given myself the challenge of looking for ethical fashion brands, which thankfully were sprinkled in and amongst all of the rest of it.

For any of you who might be heading to The Clothes Show over the weekend, here is my ethical fashion round-up...

Oxfam Fashion
I couldn't not mention Oxfam Fashion here (I am one of their blog contributors, afterall!). I was pleased to see that they had two stalls, one filled with vintage clothing, and another for clothing customisation. They were selling vintage cashmere jumpers for a mere £15, so I snapped up a lovely green one. Wish I bought two now!

I watched one of the volunteers expertly customising a baby blue jumper with a pretty lace peterpan collar and some buttons - it makes all the difference, and is so easy to do (who needs Topshop?). Here is her work in progress...

Oxfam were running a competition at the show, to win a dress and necklace as worn by Beyoncé! It also included a 10% discount for their online shop. Very generous...

My second stop of the day (actually a happy accident... I had no idea where I was at any point, despite having a map), was the vintage section. Buying vintage is one of the most ethical ways to consume, as it means clothes are recycled rather than going into landfill, and it also means new clothes aren't created. And as a vintage lover, I'm not complaining...

I'd like to say a quick hello to the lovely lady who recognised me!

Brooches, necklaces, earrings, bracelets... at Sallys Jewellery
My top picks from Anita's Vintage Fair... can't believe I left that mod dress behind. It was only £25!

Ethical Brands
I was deliberately searching for ethical brands, but unfortunately only came across two! Nevertheless, these two t-shirt brands really stuck in my mind. Here are my favourite t-shirts...

On the left: This was from a selection of fairtrade t-shirts made from a rage of ethically sourced and sustainable materials, including bamboo! The illustrations were all original designs by Tomoya Hiramatsu - I found this particular design rather creepy but characterful! The people on the stall were very chatty and I so very nearly bought this t-shirt, priced at £25. You can find them online at Conquer Gear.

On the right: I wanted to buy this T-shirt at last year's show, but couldn't quite afford it (same applies this year). It is from the Environmental Justice Foundation, which successfully campaigned to get the poisonous chemical Endosulfan banned in many countries. They were selling a range of organic fairtrade t-shirts featuring illustrations by prominent fashion designers. This one by Luella Bartley was my favourite.
This is a rather innovative section of Clothes Show Live, and offers the public the chance to learn new skills and how to upcycle old items of clothing. They had an 'Inspiration Stage', upon which an appliqué competition was taking place when I walked past. There were also two knitting workshops which looked like a very good place to relax after a tiring day shopping.

So, what did I buy?
I thought I'd treat myself to a lovely green cashmere jumper from Oxfam Fashion, which I have already worn once - it's so cosy! I also stopped off at Dahlia to see what all of the blogosphere fuss is about. I picked up a peter-pan collar dress on their £10 rail - the dress was originally £60! And finally, a book on Eco Fashion from Laurence King, which I'm hoping will help me work out where I aim to work in the future.

I hope you enjoyed my guide... sorry it was a bit long!

Sadie xxx

10 comments: said...

Great post Sadie, this looks like such a fun event and I love the customisation/knitting areas!

I'm just writing a post about a vintage fair I went to this morning in EC1. I'm feeling even more inspired after reading this :)

Phara said...

Looks like a brilliant event! I just love that Dahlia dress, so adorable.

Steffys Pros and Cons said...

everything looks so adorable! love all the peter pan collars!

<3 steffy

Lucy said...

Im heading up there on tuesday and am mostly looking forward to crafty section - I think its a new part of the clothes show, although I might be wrong as Ive only ever been once back in 2006!

I cant believe you left the mod dress behind! Its so you!

Your buys look lovely - be nice to see a post with you wearing the dahlia dress, its such a lovely one!


Nurul Aisyah said...

wish i was there.. i love that mod dress too :)


Joanna. said...

Totally want to be in the knitting section this weekend. Really jealous you got to go :)


Amy said...

Love the vintage cashmere! Great for the winter :)

Amy x

ASCELINA said...

This is really great collection and it looking more fashion. I usually get the clothes at and used kohls coupon codes 30% to get extra 30% off.

Eve Maria said...

wow that dahlia dress is an amazing find! :)

sophie xxx said...

Lovely pictures, I go to Clothes Show Live every year and I LOVE it! :)