A fashion lover has organised a catwalk with a difference to inspire islanders to turn away from the fast fashion industry and showcase how to dress stylishly in a sustainable way.
Emily Smith (30) has partnered with Silkworth Lodge Charity Group, Cancer Research, Jersey Hospice Care and Oxfam Jersey for a fashion show powered by charity shops, which will take place at Beresford Street Kitchen on 21 November.
After securing permission to stock up at each shop, Emily then put together a series of outfits showcasing the 'best of' the clothes they offer.
Each outfit, which will be worn down the runway by one of four of her friends, will be available to buy at the end of the show, alongside others on rails. There will be clothes for every size and every style, from workwear to winter coats, and sparkly dresses for the upcoming Christmas season.
All proceeds from the sales will go back to the charities, who will also split the money brought in by the ticket sales.
Pictured: The event will take place at Beresford Street Kitchen on 21 November.
But raising money for charities is not the only reason marketing professional Emily organised the show, which is being sponsored by the Co-op.
As charity shops struggle to get men’s clothes and ladies tend to be more interested in fashion, the show is ladies-only, but Emily nonetheless wants to encourage all islanders to stop buying new clothes from high street shops.
“I have always shopped in charity shops,” the self-confessed clothes lover adds. “I buy everything from charity shops, anything I need for the house.”
“It’s quite bad if you become addicted like me!” she muses. “On average, I spend £15 a week in charity shops. I do a little round of the shops every day.”
The impact of fast fashion on the environment is increasingly being called into question recently, with more and more people opting to ditch the high street in favour of more ethical options.
Last month, Oxfam launched the ‘Second-hand September’ campaign encouraging people “to shop sustainably, shop second-hand and upcycle your clothes”.
Emily took the pledge not to buy anything new for a month and the experience not only inspired her to spend a whole year without anything new, but also to challenge others to change their habits.
“[Oxfam] shared facts about waste from the fashion industry and I got more interested in it,” she explained. “I decided to hold a catwalk event to make people realise that you don’t need to buy new stuff all the time.”
Pictured: Emily browsing the rails at the Silkworth Lodge charity shop.
For Emily, shopping in charity shops is a win-win situation: it helps customers save money, while also supporting good causes. She hopes that the event will convince islanders that charity shops should be the first port of call, no matter the occasion they are shopping for.
“If there is an event coming up, people will go and buy something new,” she said. “I recently had a wedding and I bought a dress for £5 and shoes for £2. You do not have to buy something new and it makes you feel good because you have given back to a charity.”
“The charity shops all have amazing things,” Emily added. “You can find blouses with prices tags for £80 being sold for £15.”
Pictured: Emily doesn't go into high street shops anymore.
The fashion lover admitted she now refuses to go into high street shops. On the rare occasions she does go into a store, she can’t help but feel shocked by the prices or disappointed “with rows and rows of the same clothes, which everyone is wearing."
“In charity shops, you can pick unique things, there are things from last season that people won’t be wearing,” she said. “If I find a dress in size 16 for example, I will wear a belt around the waist. You do need to look at it and be a bit inventive.”
If the event does well, Emily hopes to replicate it in a bigger venue. She mostly hopes it will open islanders' eyes to the style bargains hiding in plain sight, and stop their automatic tendency to resorting to online fast fashion shopping. “Because the high street is not good in here, people turn to ASOS or Boohoo, but charity shops save you the trouble of having to order.”
“I love clothes!” Emily assured. “I am not anti-shopping - it’s about doing it differently.”
Her special tip to score bargain finds? “You need to go every day and if you find something, buy it straight away because it might not be there when you come back.”
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