Once a year, during London Fashion Week, a team of like-minded souls get together to recreate catwalk looks moments after they appear on the runway. They use only what they find around them – which, for the past few seasons, has been charity shop stock. This year, the event took place in Barnado’s, Brixton.
Charity Fashion Live, is the brainchild of Emma Slade-Edmondson, sustainable stylist and founder of Back of the Wardrobe, a service that helps customers make the most of what they already have in their closets.
‘I’d like to facilitate a shift in the way that we interact an approach our clothing,’ says Slade-Edmonson. ‘CFL is an interruption to the throwaway culture that is pervasive in fashion today. As a stylist, I’ve always been interested in clothing that has been passed down. There’s a real beauty in unique pieces that have a story.’
Henry Holland is one of the LFW names whose AW17 show gets a CFL makeover. He’s far from precious about it. ‘As a designer, I’d love to see one of my looks created at a CFL event,’ he enthuses, in the short film the team made about the night. ‘What I love about making clothes is seeing how people interpret them. Can’t wait.’
Each year, 350,000 tonnes of clothes are sent to landfill in the UK; that’s 350,000 tonnes of reusable resources just chucked away. This is the waste Slade-Edmondson wants to address. ‘CFL celebrates the potential of pre-loved clothes,’ she says. ‘Getting creative with your wardrobe, buying secondhand and donating unwanted clothes ensures threads have another chance to shine.’
Working with photographer Rachel Manns, Emma re-created looks from Chalayan, Ryan Lo, Molly Goddard, Julien Macdonald, Jasper Conran and Ports 1961 as well as Holland. And where the looks aren’t exact – Macdonald’s futuristic evening gown is translated into a sheer trench – their spirit is captured and transformed.
What if you don’t have a charity shop full of promising stock around you? Use your own. Rather than forking out for one more back-of-the-wardrobe piece, pair items you never thought would go together, wear jumpers back to front, turn that skirt into a dress. Leave one half of a shirt untucked (see Ports 1961, above). There’s nothing more stylish than knowing how to use what you already have.
Get help and inspiration at home by visiting www.loveyourclothes.org.uk for tips and ideas on fixing, upcycling and caring for your clothes.
Attend ‘Get the Trend Workshops’ hosted by Love Your Clothes in London Barnardo’s stores – see http://loveyourclothes.org.uk/ to find out more
Check out @CharityFashionLive or @Barnardosretail on Instagram to see all the looks and go behind-the-scenes.