Browsing Tag

oxfam boutique

Clothing

International Women’s Day celebrations

March 13, 2012

Last week, I attended the Oxfam Boutique’s fashion show which they held in celebration of International Women’s Day. As part of it, they held an auction to raise some funds for the cause, with a dress donated by Alex Jones from the One Show, as well as holding a raffle with prizes donated by local companies. There was entertainment from local poet/comedian Mab Jones, who, I must say, was incredibly talented, as well as music from Ellie Makes Music, not to mention the fashion show itself. Students from Coleg Morgannwg were given unsaleable clothing from the shop to transform into wearable items, which are now once again on sale in the shop. The ultimate in recycled clothing.

Here are a few photos from the evening:

Singer Ellie Makes Music

Singer Ellie Makes Music

Poet and comedian Mab Jones

Poet and comedian Mab Jones

Decorations (which I helped make) in celebration of International Women's Day

A dress, donated by Alex Jones, for the auction at the Oxfam Boutique

And, just to remind ourselves why we’re celebrating and campaigning for equality for women, here’s a lovely video:

 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf_WlLsqs8E&w=560&h=315]

Clothing

Independent fashion shops in Cardiff

January 3, 2012

As the Christmas break has sadly finished and we’re all eager to spend our leftover cash in the sales, I thought I would give you a list of the independent fashion shops in Cardiff.

During my few months in the city, I’ve discovered quite a selection of great shops for those of us who don’t always want to buy from the high street.  Individuality is rife in Cardiff and sometimes there is no better way to dress than by following your own style.  After all, what is style?  It doesn’t have to be about following the crowd, but is about wearing something completely unique and suited to yourself.

1. Barker Cardiff, Castle Arcade

One of the oldest fashion retailers in Cardiff, Barker caters for both men and women

2. I Claudius, Castle Arcade

Often thought of as just a fancy dress shop, I Claudius sells retro items at a very low cost.

3. @Fab, Wellfield Road

@Fab caters for women of all ages.

4. Hobos, High Street Arcade

A vintage shop which specialises in clothing of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

5. Prefab Clothing, Albany Road

Prefab is a charity which reconditions old clothes to give them a new life.

6. A Vintage Affair, Morgan Arcade

Another vintage shop in the heart of the city, with an array of accessories and even a few vintage patterns.

7. Oxfam Boutique, St Mary’s Street

A charity shop with a difference, the Oxfam Boutique offers designer clothes at a low price.

8. The Pumping Station, Penarth Road

This was once a Victorian pumping station, but it now houses a variety of items, including antique clothes and jewellery.

 [googlemaps http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=201657668230317027555.0004b3bc351d8b5ba7027&hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=m&vpsrc=6&ll=51.48288,-3.174877&spn=0.037416,0.072956&z=13&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

Crafting ideas

Get crafting in the recession

December 15, 2011

Has the recession seen an increase in people taking up crafting?

The weather is cold outside, but a warm welcome awaits inside the Oxfam boutique in Cardiff, where a selection of knitting needles are lined up, on a glass table, awaiting eager knitters to pick them up.

The Oxfam Boutique, Cardiff, home of 'Stitch 'n Bitch'

This is the ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’ knitting event, held at the shop every Thursday night. It represents the growing number of people in the UK who make their own clothes.

With a sharp increase in crafting in the current economic climate, people are more likely than ever to pick up a new skill. The Oxfam Boutique is one of the many places to have opened in the last few years, offering crafting opportunities for people in the recession.

Becky Mann, manager of the shop, says that attendance at the event fluctuates quite a lot. She says that ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’, which has been running for the past two years, has had as many as 20 people turn up.

‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’ was originally set up by Debbie Stoller in New York, but the phrase has been used for knitting groups since World War Two. The craze grew so popular that the rest of the world soon joined in.

Knitting needles and wool lined up for the eager crafters at 'Stitch 'n Bitch'

The events teach people the basics of knitting, sewing and crocheting, all good skills to have in the recession. The Oxfam Boutique ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’ is currently knitting mug cosies in the run-up to Christmas and they aim to teach people crafting in the hope that participants can feel they have accomplished something new.

Brooches, created at the 'Stitch 'n Bitch' event, are then sold to raise money for Oxfam

Becky says, “The participants take their newly-learnt skills home with them and we sell the items for the shop.”

On the other side of Cardiff is the Calon Yarns Craft Studios. Lynne Seymour, owner of the Canton-based studio, says they run a variety of courses, such as their dressmaking course, aimed at people who want to know the basics of sewing. It has proven to be so popular that Calon Yarns have had to add a second course.

The interior of Calon Yarns Craft Studios, in Canton, Cardiff

Lynne Seymour, owner of the Calon Yarns Craft Studios, in Canton, Cardiff

The age ranges vary from students to older people who have come back to the craft and even people who remember their parents having sewed.

Lynne agrees that the recession is the reason for people taking up crafting, but says that it isn’t necessarily cheaper to make your own clothes, as fabric can be expensive. Instead, she thinks, it’s more to do with reasons of sustainability.

She says, “I think people are interested in where their clothes come from and being more economically sensible.”

Calling this the ‘Make do and Mend’ thought process, this relates back to the beliefs of the Second World War, when money was scarce and people were fixing things, rather than buying new. Lynne believes that people today have just the same values and those who attend the course are equally as interested in learning how to make things.
Lynne adds that people, in the recession, are also going to evening classes rather than going to the pub, spending money on crafting as they believe it is money better spent.

Balls of wool on show at the Calon Yarns Craft Studios, ready for the crafting workshops.

Lynne Seymour, owner of the Calon Yarns Craft Studios in Canton, Cardiff, talks about the dressmaking course they run:

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/30605095″]

Lynne talks about the people who attend the courses:

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/30605450″]

Eager sewer Rhyannan Hall, from Cardiff, agrees with Lynne’s view that making your own clothes isn’t the cheaper option, but she argues that it is better for the environment.

Rhyannan found that all the clothes she used to buy from the high street were badly or cheaply made. That made her want to make her own and her strong ethical values about where her clothes come from made her want to boycott the high street.

She says, “I don’t think clothes should be regarded as disposable commodities.”

Hanna Leimio, one of the crafters at the 'Stitch 'n Bitch' event, often makes her own clothes

Crafter Hanna Leimio, from Cardiff, also holds this belief. A weekly attendee at ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’, she is a sewing enthusiast and often makes and customises her own clothes. She does this, she says, because she doesn’t always want to buy new things, due to the throwaway culture of this and the contribution it causes to the wasteland.

She says, “Quite often I buy old clothes from flea markets and add something.”

What is clear though, at ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’, is the effort that crafters put into what they make. Hanna’s creations are well-made and sewing certainly gives both her and Rhyannan great satisfaction in a period when times are hard. This seems to reflect the thoughts of the country as a whole and it goes to show that crafting is more important than ever.

However, whatever the reasons for people coming back to sewing and crafting, they are picking up skills that are transferable and longstanding.

As a new batch of crafters are embarking on a crafting journey at ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’, Hanna excitedly shows off her creations, adorning her wonderfully knitted mug cosy with ribbons and a button, in order to sell it for the shop, whilst helping the other crafters to cast off.

The locations of Oxfam Boutique and Calon Yarns Craft Studios:

[googlemaps http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=201657668230317027555.0004b4152d7b7a5af5dd9&hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=m&vpsrc=0&ll=51.480314,-3.196077&spn=0.025658,0.054932&z=14&output=embed&w=640&h=480]

Clothing, Crafting ideas

Oxfam Boutique, Cardiff

December 2, 2011

The Oxfam sign, created out of records

Last night, I went to the Oxfam Boutique on St Mary’s Street, where I attended their weekly Stitch and Bitch event.  Although not many people turned up, I had a great time and even got to learn a new craft.  Last night’s event concentrated on knitting for beginners, which some people argue is an important skill at this time.

The purpose of going along to the event will be unveiled in my soon to be posted feature, but it’s a great way to contribute to society, whilst creating something that you can be proud of.  So, if you’re ever at a loose end on a Thursday night, head down to the Oxfam Boutique and pick up a new skill.
[googlemaps http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=oxfam+boutique+cardiff&aq=&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=13.857722,28.256836&vpsrc=6&ie=UTF8&hq=oxfam+boutique&hnear=Cardiff,+United+Kingdom&ll=51.478066,-3.17741&spn=0.00713,0.006793&t=m&output=embed&w=425&h=350]