Reuse, Recycle, Relove – Sustainable Fashion

Vintage Gap jumpsuit bought on Vinted

My lovely vintage Gap jumpsuit bought on Vinted. Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Vintage dresser for my vintage clothes and accesories

My vintage dresser to house some of my vintage clothing and accessory finds

I have always been a bit of a hoarder, particularly when it comes to fashion. I keep clothes and accessories for years and years, and often wear a mixture of old and new pieces, lovingly matched and coordinated. I do love to be “matchy-matchy” with coordinating colours across all my clothes and accessories! I have luckily not really changed size too much since my late teens, meaning I have been able to keep and continue using old favourites and bring them back to life with some new additions to the wardrobe.

 

I also love vintage fashion and buy a lot of it online, from like-minded ladies on Twitter, where a group of us meet up every wednesday at 8pm for #vintagefindhour, organised by the lovely Sarah-Jane Hosegood (find her on Twitter at @vintagefindhour or @vintagehomeshop), through using handy apps such as Vinted and Etsy, and regularly combing charity shops, vintage and secondhand designer clothes stores for vintage bargains.

I also love a nod to vintage styles, such as historical fabrics and prints from Liberty or the V&A. I was very excited to see that the V&A had recently collaborated with Oasis, one of my favourite high street shops, on a range of stunning clothes and accessories with vintage prints. I bought a number of pretty tops – my favourite is this silky electric blue number, which I have worn and worn!

Lovely blue top from V and A and Oasis collaboration

My favourite top from the beautiful V and A and Oasis collaboration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is something that has been passed down to me through the generations: I have a very glamorous grandmother who always has beautifully matched and coordinated outfits, as well as a very impressive shoe and handbag collection – including a pair of shoes with Wedgewood heels from the 70s – with many items dating back through the years. My mum, also glamorous and youthful, also keeps her good quality items for many years and, like me, matches with new items or vintage treasures that she has a particularly good eye in seeking out.

1980s YSL jacket from a charity shop

Fab charity shop vintage find – a 1980s YSL jacket

While I love shopping and browsing fashion magazines, keeping and reusing my clothes and accessories has always been important to me. I’m a firm believer in reloving and reusing classic items and mixing fashions from different eras. And it’s stood me in good stead – everything comes back into fashion again (I knew I shouldn’t part with my super-flattering 90s flared jeans when skinnies took over – and I was right!)

These days, it is more important than ever to be eco conscious, so by reusing, recycling and reloving your clothing and accessories, this is a a real and easy way to be able to make a difference and contribute to the sustainable fashion movement. Certain high street shops are also now doing their part – H&M gives a £5 voucher for every bag donated to their textile recycling bin, where you can also – very usefully – recycle your unwanted household textiles. Marks & Spencer has a similar donation box and scheme to take your unwanted clothes. Both H&M and Marks & Spencer also offer Earth friendly ranges made from sustainable and organic fabrics.

I was recently interviewed as a case study for a national newspaper about using Vinted and some of the fabulous items I have purchased on there, taking some pictures and sharing some of my fab fashion finds – another post to follow once it’s been published! I also sell a number of items of clothing and accessories on there – adding some items every few weeks. I even managed to pay for our removals last time we moved house with the proceeds of my sales so far. There is a real sense of community among “Vinties”, and I have found it very enjoyable both hunting for bargains and selling a few of my own.

I also love the camaraderie within the vintage community. The lovely people who join #vintagefindhour each week are vintage enthusiasts across the spectrum – they all sell or buy vintage items, from antiques and upcycled furniture, to vintage clothes from the 1920s-1980s, to vintage china, crockery and homewares. I discovered this wonderful group a couple of years ago now – and, as well as finding a number of fabulous vintage bargains, have found some lovely, likeminded friends. We even try to meet together when we can for an in-person meet up, but I have yet to be able to make one of those with a pretty hectic schedule. Definitely next time, though!

Vintage patterns

Lovely vintage inspired patterns from Oasis

Vintage Chanel shoes and Oasis patterned trousers

Vintage Chanel shoes with brightly patterned trousers from Oasis

 

Until next time, why not embrace the joys of reusing and recycling your own wardrobe? It’s really good fun to rummage through your own clothes, bags, shoes, jewellery and scarves, and to rediscover past favourites or items that have come back into style. Even if you’re not interested in collecting or buying vintage clothes and accessories, by making the most of the wardrobe you already have, you may well find some undiscovered treasures, some fab new outfits, and who knows – perhaps the vintage of the future?

Wearing my blue V and A and Oasis top in London

Me wearing my favourite blue top out and about in London

Tea and vintage

Enjoying a nice cup of tea in my vintage Gap jumpsuit, bought on Vinted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have fun!

Rachael xx

Bloggers Love – Bloggers Fashion Week

Bloggers Fashion Week

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the Bloggers Love Bloggers Fashion Week with my  fellow blogger at the Penthouse in London’s Leicester Square.  A packed room with a live DJ greeted us – a wonderland of fashion finds and shiny, sparkly goodies!

My friend and I started the evening with a Bloggers Love inspired cocktail each, a Bloggertini!  The fetching shade of bright pink matched rather well with my pink-tinged outfit, all in keeping with the “Summer Garden Party Chic” theme.

Bloggertinis

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Jara Wine halterneck dress

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

My eye was first drawn to some beautiful silky dresses in pastel-hued patterns.  The lovely Jara Wine uses top-quality French fabric to create her light, floaty, and incredibly feminine dresses and tops.  Each stunning pattern lends itself to two distinct designs of dress, one halter neck and one with a round neck and short sleeves.  I have my eye on the lovely peachy-pink French bicycle-patterned dress, but can’t decide between the two styles.  Could I justify both, I wonder?!Jara Wine short sleeve bicycle print dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cako Cocktail T-shirt

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Next we spotted some suitably summery T-shirts and vest tops, but with a difference!  Cako’s ingenious designs appear black and white at first glance, but when exposed to UV Light, come alive with colour!  We couldn’t see the magic happen at night, but were amazed to see the transformation demonstrated on their website.  And if you don’t fancy rainbow brights, a luxe monochrome look can be achieved with their equally striking sparkly designs in both black and white cotton.  My personal favourite is the Audrey Hepburn design – a true fashion icon and my favourite actress of all time.  Unsurprisingly, this popular design had sold out on the night!  I’m putting my order in online, in time for my girly holiday to Paris in a few weeks!

Tutti Rouge brasMore pretty pink glistened at me from the corner of my eye – this time in the guise of a stunning silky bra from Tutti Rouge.  I’m an absolute sucker for beautiful lingerie, and was delighted that this range comes in an enormous range of sizes.  Being fairly amply-busted, I will definitely be making the most of their special offer so I can stock up on delicate matching sets for Spring and Summer – and something sultry for my upcoming special anniversary! 😉

Thinking about packing beautiful things to wear for my forthcoming trips, I stumbled across eskay W – named after the fabulous Mr S K Wong and his extraordinary reversible outfits!  I’ve never been one to pack light, but think I could be converted by these impressive little numbers.  It was a pleasure to meet a designer with such a passion for his art – he really exudes joy when talking about his collections, of which he should rightfully be proud!  And thinking forward to Autumn/Winter, eskay W were proudly launching their suitably-titled Darker Hues collection.Eskay W

While chatting to the delightful Mr Wong, more shiny loveliness glinted at me from the corner – shimmering silk scarves from Guirado Design, hanging from a beautiful antique screen.  Here was another explosion of colour and artistic expression, like paint splashed with abandon across a canvas.  The reason for this is all this is a wonderful story about how this fashion business came into being.  Dani Choyen of Thinkers HQ explained to us that the scarves were designed to bring to life the inspirational artwork of the artist Juan Antonio Guirado, who began his career as a mural painter in Madrid and sadly died in 2010.  After her father passed away, his daughter, Catalina Guirado, inherited Juan Antonio’s artwork and embarked on a journey to discover more about her father’s life and body of work, and to share his collections with art critics and a global audience.  In support of his work, Catalina founded Guirado Design in 2013, a unique collection of luxury silk scarves featuring a select number of her father’s paintings, chosen for their distinct embodiment of Guirado’s signature style, from the years shortly before his death.

Guirado Design scarvesSilk is the ideal medium to display Guirado’s art, and the Autumn/Winter collections are also available in luxurious and toasty-warm cashmere.  Photographs don’t really do justice to the intricate designs on these scarves, but the kaleidoscope colours are here for all to see!

Still not having bought anything, I spotted some more beauties at the lovely blogger-turned-boutique-owner Melanie Grunshaw’s pop-up boutique for I Want Your Clothes – and this time, I just had to buy, there and then!  I have been following Melanie’s blog for some time, so was both surprised and delighted to learn that she has set up her own clothing business.

Tour EiffelI bought two springlike pieces, both perfect for my visit to Paris after Easter!  The first was a silky, fine knit with a delicate rose print.  I love blouse/jumper combinations like this, and it matches most of my existing wardrobe!  Yet more sparkle caught my eye here, with a cute Eiffel Tower sweatshirt, made out of really unusual textured fabric.  I will wear this with pride on the Eurostar!

IWYC rose sweaterNext, I made a beeline for Nadia Minkoff – what an honour for her to be here, meeting bloggers and talking about her collections!  She very generously gave me some dainty, sparkly earrings when I instantly fell for – yes, you’ve guessed it – a gold handbag!  The subtle gold envelope clutch is just the right size, in butter-soft leather (oh, the smell!) and will be perfect for when I attend the prestigious UKFT Awards next month, paired with my gladiator-style Jimmy Choo heels.  Planning my outfit already…

Nadia Minkoff bags

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Nadia Minkoff bag and jewellery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was even more excited (think whoops of joy!) when I opened my parcel to find a little envelope with a tea-time design in pink(!) nestled inside – and found the most perfect “Tea with Rachael” necklace, complete with a tiny blue teapot and cute little cupcake!  I put it on straightaway for my afternoon tea and visit to Kew Gardens with family!

Rachel Black hats and fascinators

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

I also treated myself to more sparkle in the form of some dainty hair decorations from a fellow Rachel and fantastic milliner, Rachel Black – perfect for the upcoming Twenties-themed Secret Tea Society Annual Tea at Byfleet Manor (the Dowager Countess’s House from Downton, don’t you know?!)

Phew!  My inner magpie has officially taken flight and soared off to feather my nest with all these beautiful things!  Must be time for a cup of tea – and a lovely pink cupcake!

think pink

Have a sparkling evening!

Rachael X