8:30 PM September 21, 2022
For those of us who love shopping for fashion, there’s no doubt that buying a new top or a pair of shoes can be real a pick me up.
But, as we’re coming to realise, there are hidden costs to following the latest trends – from the environmental impact of the production process and the garments which are thrown away and sent to landfill, to the working conditions of the people employed in textile factories.
Many of us are trying to shop more sustainably and mindfully, and buying second-hand has shaken off its fusty image to become one of fashion’s hottest trends.
This month, Oxfam is running its Second-hand September campaign, fronted by celebrity ambassadors, TV presenter Miquita Oliver and actor Felicity Jones.
But it can be difficult to know where to start.
If you love the thought of charity shopping, but get a bit overwhelmed, sustainable stylist Karen James Welton, AKA Fabulous Miss K, is here to help guide you through the rails and shop pre-loved for any occasion.
Karen has worked as worked in the fashion industry for more than 30 years as a personal shopper and stylist in London, Paris and now in her home town of Norwich.
She is launching her new shopping and styling service at the NANSA charity shop on Magdalen Street in the city on September 22.
We find out more…
How did the new styling service come about?
I wanted to show people how you can shop second-hand and still get the trends and look great without having to shop fast fashion. I work part time in NANSA, so it seemed like a good place to start.
What was it that made you get into shopping second-hand and vintage?
I have always shopped this way from the age of about 14 when I got my first subscription to Vogue and wanted to buy all the pieces in the editorials but couldn’t afford them so found my own versions in vintage shops.
Another reason was that I didn’t want to look like anyone else, but have my own style.
What are the reasons for people to shop second-hand and vintage?
Fast fashion is destroying our planet. There are so many garments produced that end up in landfill. Choosing second-hand means you are using what has already been made and reducing the waste. You will also get an individual look that no-one else will have.
By shopping this way, you know you are doing your bit to save the planet.
In the current economic climate it also a much more affordable way to shop as you can pick up some great high-end pieces for a fraction of the retail cost.
If people want to start shopping second-hand and vintage and incorporating it into their wardrobe, where is a good place to start?
The next time you feel that you need something new, rather than head for the high street try a charity or vintage shop.
If you have a list of what pieces you are looking for, whenever you pass a charity shop pop in and see if you can find it in there.
Shopping this way takes more time and effort, but once you start you will be hooked and won’t go back.
When shopping for vintage remember that sizing was different then, so try everything on or know your measurements and carry a tape measure.
Some things may not have hanger appeal so don’t dismiss anything.
What are your all-time favourite second-hand fashion finds?
I have found many gems over the years – a YSL Le Smoking, a pair of Manolo Blahniks, some great Chanel-style jackets and the list goes on.
The reason I love shopping second-hand is the thrill of the hunt – you never know what you will find and I know that I will never look the same as everyone else.
Who are your style icons?
I have always loved the classic style of Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel, but then I love Sarah Jessica Parker and B Jones Style for their quirky style.
I am always finding new inspiration every day. I love Instagram to get inspired by sustainable fashionistas.
To launch the new service, Karen is hosting An Evening With Fabulous Miss K at NANSA’s store in Magdalen Street, Norwich, on September 22 from 7-9pm. She will be styling outfits from second-hand pieces and will have tips for dressing to suit your body shape.
Anyone who books a shopping trip with Karen on the night will get 10% off the usual appointment price of £45. To find out more visit fabulousmissk.co.uk or follow on Instagram @fabulousmissk