London Fashion Week. That time of the year when getting a table for dinner in central London means grappling with the likes of people who hardly touch their plates. But more importantly, it’s when the style secrets of the future finally get revealed. Having been on a second-hand fashion journey for the past twelve months, sourcing from charity shops, vintage boutiques and embracing hand-me-downs, this diary date should mean very little to me. I won’t be buying anything new, so why should I care what the fashion houses are promoting for spring/summer 2016?
But strangely, a year away from the shiny new rails has made me doggedly determined to delve deeper into the shabbier rails of the preloved. I’ve been borderline obsessed with finding the best fashions from London’s second-hand outlets; trying to top my last bargain designer gem for an even more bargainous designer gem; and proving that with some creativity and patience, I can be just as on-trend as the next fashionista, not only on a much smaller budget, but hunting among items from seasons long-gone.
And it’s not just me. Enter into the world of second-hand, and there are so many savvy shoppers out there. We’re finding designer labels that are in stunningly cared-for condition, high street items that have barely been worn (some even with the tags still on), and creating an individual look for ourselves at the same time.
So, while the best and the beautiful will be telling us what we should be wearing next year, even those of us who buy only second-hand will be taking notes. One of the most exciting examples for me is Charity Fashion Live. Across its London charity shops, Oxfam will be working with a stylist, Emma Slade Edmonson, to create London Fashion Week runway looks, just after they emerge from the catwalk, using only clothing found in Oxfam’s shops. I can’t wait to see the results when the weekend is over. I know I’ll get that strange feeling of vindication, convinced more than ever that you don’t need the high street to be fashion-forward.
Taking inspiration from Charity Fashion Live, I wondered if I could find this year’s autumn/winter trends in charity shops. Heading to the Oxford Circus branch of the Sally Army (9 Princes Street), my friend and I raided the rails and recreated five key looks, purely from the stock we found in the shop on the day (photos below). Given how fast charity shop stock turnover is, it felt good to find so many beautiful pieces, which were bang on trend for the coming months.
It’s true – trends come and go, fashions are fleeting. But style is something that can be inspired by a whole bunch of things. And finding inspiration in the future, the now and the past, is an exciting little pot indeed.
Tailored velvet black jacket with printed tee
Check trousers with fairytale white blouse
1940s style jacket and skirt twinset – all vintage
Shearling jacket with floaty boho dress