A friend introduced me to House of Beth via facebook, and although it seems to be an enterprise in its early stages I'm really intrigued. The idea of basing ethical clothing collections on the dress-sense of influential women is so quirky and visionary: Virginia Woolf and Audrey Hepburn have been the centrepiece for collections so far. The website also has a link to its facebook shop "diffusion range" which seems to be essentially an online charity shop with proceeds going to the anit-human trafficking charity Red Light Campaign.
In celebration and support of pre-loved clothes, I've fished out a picture of one of my favourite charity shop outfits. The jacket, originally from Villa, has become a wardrobe staple - smart but fun, with its brash, "brass" buttons that have anchors etched on them. I'm also becoming an increasingly devoted fan of the spaghetti-strapped maxi dress each time I wear it. Both were sourced on a particularly successful outing to a charity shop in Putney, London, and came in at less than £20. The mottled brown suede bag is an older wardrobe faithful found in the original Oxfam shop on Broad Street in Oxford.
But perhaps the feature I love most of all about this outfit is that it reminds of good times with wonderful people. The floaty texture of the dress has a way of making me feel like I'm on cloud nine when I walk in it (I inevitably find myself sauntering), especially when coupled with the fact that I'm almost always celebrating when I pull it out. Add to that the memory of finding the items whilst out and about with a close friend and it's pretty much threaded through with love.
Shopping can be so much more than knee-jerk consumerism. Whether it's a start-up boutique turning things on their head with innovative ideas or just a good old charity shop success story, it's nice to think that with a little bit of research and effort there are ways to have a different, deeper retail experience.
'Wardrobe Stories' are a string of posts helping me to appreciate the clothes and accessories I own in an atmosphere where it's easy to end up taking things for granted.