Monthly Archives: February 2010

Oxfam Boutique

Everyone loves buying new clothes and instead of donning your reliable little black dress, or trusty checked shirt, why not head down to Cardiff’s Oxfam Boutique on St Mary Street for something a bit different.

Your outfit can give away a lot about your personality and it’s crucial to get it right. If you’re looking for the perfect day time outfit it’s wise to go for a casual look suitable for any occasion, like this racing green vintage Valentino blazer.

Or if you’re being swept off to a black tie event, this swish ensemble would be perfect.

These gold shoes were donated by Sienna Millar to the boutique and are among some of the designer treasures available.

When heading to the Oxfam Boutique, don’t expect your usual charity shop bargains. The whole point of this store is to sell high-end fashion ranges to create much needed revenue for the charity.

Becky Mann, 26, the shop manager, said: “Charity shops have cottoned on to the potential to make a huge amount from these donations and the idea behind the boutique is to promote sustainable fashion. Many companies give us their unwanted or damaged stock, like Marks and Spencers and our unpaid volunteers are able to fix the clothes so we can sell them.”

The majority of the clothes are from local donations but several major names also regularly donate to the shop, including Jimmy Choo and Whistles. This store was the first boutique created out of London and has been very popular with locals in the past four months since opening.

Miss Mann said: “We are challenging the stereotype of what people think of charity shops. All the clothes are high end, good quality designers and people seem to be really happy with the idea.”
The Oxfam Boutique is packed full of vintage clothes for any occasion and the staff in the shop are more than happy to help you pick out your perfect outfit.

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Milkwood Fashion Market

Vintage is everywhere right now, even Kate Moss is visiting her local Oxfam for a classic 1980s leather jacket, and Cardiff is embracing this fashion phenomenon with open arms.

Walking along Albany Road in Cardiff there isn’t much variation between charity shops and takeaways. Look beyond the tired shop fronts and take a stroll down to the end of Angus Road where you can tap into one of Cardiff’s best-kept secrets. The hidden treasure trove of the Milkwood Gallery, opened last October, is somewhere everyone should visit.

The art studio can be found in the heart of Roath and stepping through the doors into a room flooded with light you enter an ever-changing space celebrating art, music, fashion, and antique collections.

Milkwood Gallery caters for your entire artisan needs and while it holds an ongoing art exhibition, there are also regular events like the flea market and art swapping nights.

Last Saturday this Aladdin’s cave was filled with antique dresses, broaches, badges and every possible treasure imaginable. There were men and women’s vintage clothes and accessories, collectors fashion magazines, hand crafted jewellery and a random selection of other beautifully designed items, some vintage and some new – all at pretty reasonable prices.

If it’s a 1950s halterneck polkadot dress, a 1920s flapper outfit or an outfit to impersonate your favourite punk rock band from the 1970s, Milkwood had everything on offer to fulfil your vintage needs.

Highlights of the stallholders were Love Vintage, which featured homemade badges, scarves and broaches made with recycled vintage fabrics and materials.  Natalie Dias’ collection of beautifully handcrafted ceramic pieces were also a delight.

After all the shopping exhaustion, handmade cakes and tea were availble, served of course on beautifully vintage bone china. The market saw a steady stream of shoppers throughout the day and most of the stallholders regularly attend vintage markets in and around Cardiff.

The flea market is a chance to find a unique, reasonably priced item and at the same time promote sustainable living. Gail Howard, one of Milkwood’s co-owners, is keen to set up a regular flea market at Milkwood on the last Saturday of every month – a definite date to keep in your style diaries.

Dressing in your Granny’s old prom dress with a pair of killer heels thrown in is the look you want now, so before heading to the generic high street chains, do some research and visit one of these markets held all over the city throughout the year.

Buffalo and Milgi bars hold monthly vintage markets and in April there will be a big fair at Wenvoe Community Centre in Cardiff.

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This month Love magazine has used naked pictures of eight people they consider to have the most beautiful bodies in the world. There are eight different covers and inside the magazine a huge photo shoot of these super beauties.

Editor Katie Brand used the models to show how much each differ physically but each are still considered beautiful. The women’s measurements are also given to show the point that perfection doesn’t mean being an identical morf of a supermodel and a flawless image derives from being different.

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Calling All Citizen Models

Dove started and now American Apparel are leading the search for normal, everyday women in their advertising campaigns. Recently Hugo Boss opened up their facebook group to find new citizen models and now desgners around the world are following suit.

Forget citizen journalists, the newest strand of the everyday person becoming a professional over night is citizen models.

Shattering the perfected illusions of photoshopping the brand, along with Benetton and L.e.i jeans (Walmart’s own), have all announced new citizen model ad campaigns.

American Apparel does not conform to regular standards and in keeping with its ultra sexual ethos, it is holding search for the best bottom in the world. The brand are looking for the new ‘face’ of their intimates and briefs lines and potential models across the globe can email in pictures of their behinds, but be warned these will be rated and commented on by visitors of the brand’s website.

Winners will then be flown to LA for a photo shoot and will appear in an online campaign and receive $300 in AA’s clothes (which will probably just stretch to one of their ultra-scene body con sculpture dress).

Benetton’s It’s my Time campaign takes a slightly more routine route. The autumn/winter campaign will include real models who are able to submit videos and photos to the website until March. This move by the Italian designer aims to match personal style with personality to create models who will ultimately sell more clothes.

And the last company jumping on this online-real-model-bandwagon is L.e.i jeans. Who? exactly. This brand is available to US fashionistas only and is searching for three model citizens to star in its next campaign. As with the other brands, L.e.i is searching for real models to upload pictures which will then be voted on by a panel of judges including Chanel Iman and Teen Vogue editor-in-chief, Amy Astley.

By launching these three similar campaigns the designers are showing they are prepared to feature real women in their campaigns but also tapping into a huge money making scheme. People are tired of over air brushed models and these citizen model searches can cut the cost of a PR agency and also encourage more people to shop.

It is unclear if this fashion phenomenon is due to financial constraints or the increasingly criticism over size zero models, the fact is clear that most labels are increasingly relying on social media and active participation to boost revenue.


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