Posts Tagged ‘upcycling’

How to wear a bit of history down the aisle:

We don’t all have a cartier tiara to borrow from the grooms Granny, but a piece of reworked or vintage jewellery will be full of past and memories and can make just as grand a satatement.

Elizabeth from Made-New has found a way of reworking tired, forgotten or broken jewellery into decadent pieces – necklaces, bracelets and acessories.

“Jewels with a history, a life of intrigue, with love’s memories or sad regrets, carelessly cast aside, sleeping at the bottom of a tired drawer,  discarded, forgotten, pieces of life’s metal, are twisted and woven, beautifully created, sole links are partnered again, and made-new, to please and to charm, give hope and experience, reborn and released in to a brand new creation …”

Have a rummage in your jewellery box or accessories drawer, and get your mum to do the same… If you find some tired or broken chains, pendants, brooches or watches that you want to be reborn into stunning wedding acessories then contact Elizabeth so she can work her magic. Then you will not only have a new piece of jewellery, but it will be full of your own memories too.


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Charity shops may not have been at the forefront of your mind when deciding where to get some new lingerie, but Mary Portas’ Living & Giving shops in London will be distributers of certain lines of luxury designer underwear Rigby & Peller.

At exclusive evening events on Thursday 10th February at the Westborne Grove and Primrose Hill Living & Giving stores, Rigby & Peller will be donating designer samples and end-of-line pieces to the stores to be sold to raise funds for Save the Children. Also available are one-off made-to-meaure items as well as pieces worn by A-list celebrities at photoshoots around the world.

Mary Portas came up with the initial concept for the Living & Giving stores during her TV series reinventing the charity shop to encourage people who hadn’t previously to donate clothes they have become bored with rather than throw them out, giving them a new lease of life, including designer lables and high end goods. The concept has gone from strength to strength with a pop-up store at Westfields London last year and two boutiques opening in fashionable West London districts and another in Edinburgh.

So not only can you own designer luxury lingerie, but know that the price you paid has gone stright to charity – double bonus!

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Retail guru, Mary Portas, a.k.a. Mary Queen of Shops, has a point. With the rise of huge supermarkets the great British high-street is suffering. Smaller independent shops are going out of business. Mary tells us that 5,000 small shops closed last year – We’ll miss our neighbourhood shops when they’ve gone…

It’s not just greengrocers and corner shops that we have at hand. Next Monday (28th June) Mary will be revamping a homewares business in Kingston. Do we really want to be left with only massive retail parks miles from our homes so that we have to journey out in the car to buy a unique gift for a friend’s birthday or browse for accessories to spruce up a tired outfit or items for your home.

Not only are there are benefits to using local wedding service providers, such as caterers using local produce, or locally grown flowers in your displays, that will cut down on air miles and also benefit the local economy; but you can also think about how you incorporate local into your new home when compiling your gift list. Using the wedding list service of a huge department store may be convenient, but do they offer the unique items that will make your home reflect your personal style? Can you incorporate one-off items made by independent designers?

An independent gift list, on which you can request items from a number of retailers whether they are online based, high street or local, will give your home a unique flavour rather than copy-cat style. Set yourself up with a free independent list manager on Wedding Notebook

Are there local designer makers that you adore, or smaller retailers that you can support who offer great quality alternatives to mass-produced items? You may even have friends who are self-employed designer-makers who you’d love to include on your list.

It is hard for me to suggest local stores to add to your list as I can’t tell where you live. Here are a few online stores with local at heart:

Warren Evans beds
Handmade in their London workshops, these beds are made from FSC wood and when delivered are put together for you – all part of the service for hardly any more money that you would buy flat-pack elsewhere. If you need to move the bed then they are easy to take apart and reassemble, and should one part of the bed be damaged you can get a replacement section rather than having to buy a whole new bed. They have won awards for Best Ethical Retailer and Best Green Company – so you can rest assured… and whatever else newly-weds get up to under the sheets…
Tip: Ask them to add a couple of inches to the legs for loads of storage underneath for homes that need to maximise on space

The ultimate department website of purely home-made and independently made homewares, accessories and gifts. The only downside is that the prices are shown in dollars and you have to look carefully to see if the seller is UK based. Other smaller UK based versions of etsy include Make It Sell It, Dream Aid, Ugly Be Gone & NotMassProduced

Florence & Florence
Re-loved homewares – these lovely ladies have scoured the country for second-hand items and restored them to their original beauty. Old wool becomes a chunky hand-crocheted cushion cover; an old vase is lovingly brought back to its former glory. They just need homes to be loved in.

Next Monday (28th June) Mary will be revamping a homewares business in Kingston as part of her Queen of Shops series on the BBC, and there must be lots of similar stores up and down the country. So why not take a walk round your local area with your partner on a Saturday and see if there is anything you can add to your independent wedding list. You will enjoy dreaming up a new look for your home and your guests will appreciate being able to buy your wedding gift so locally.

Whether you think Mary Portas is brash and rude, or that she really is breathing life into the local and charity retail sectors – take a leaf out of her book and pop along to your local shops to encourage them – Tell them what you love about them, or even let them know how they could improve to make you shop there more often. You’ll feel the benefits when they are providing just what you need, just where you need it – locally.

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I love the glamour of the next few weeks with all the film awards ceremonies and to-die-for dresses. Last year we were wowed by the white red-carpet dresses which inspired many hollywood-style weddings.

Livia in her upcycled couture wedding dressWith a twist on this, at the Golden Globes this week Livia Firth, actor Colin Firths wife, wore a vintage Christian Couture wedding dress with a contrast black sash, wowing the press. What makes it more exciting, is that this dress was the first in a challenge that Livia has set herself to only wear ethical and sustainable fashion for the entire awards season, blogging about it on Vogue.com. (Photographs by Caroline Schiff.)

Sustainable fashion has come on in leaps and bounds in recent times, but has never before made it onto the red carpet. Livia, co-founder of Eco-Age, an eco homewares store in West London (take a trip for some inspiration for your wedding gift list) has set herself the challenge to wear sustainable, eco or ethical rags to all the events she goes to, accompanying her husband on his own quest to scoop awards that he really deserves.

With all the a-listers in couture dresses it could be really tempting to get new dresses made for all these events, but Livia has really stuck with her passion for sustainnability in all aspects of her life, not compromising on these, or style, for anything. With the Golden Globes already under her belt, and the Screen Actors Guild tonight, there are more opportunities for Livia to fly the flag for gorgeous sustainable fashion.

Livia says on the Vogue.com blog The re-purposed Christiana Couture wedding dress was a HUGE success in the sense that I don’t think I’ve ever had so many compliments for a dress in one night. But people here do not seem to understand the concept of ethical fashion – they loved the dress but when I revealed the origin they sort of switch off as if it’s not cool anymore because it was once a wedding dress. It’s made me realise that althought repurposing and vintage are great, we need to go one step further and make a really strong ethical fashion statement.’

Oh, and she kissed George Clooney on the cheek…

The great news is that it has just been announced that Colin is up for ‘Best Actor’ at the BAFTAs so we we will be seeing Livia’s response to the challenge much closer to home on 21st February.

I would really love to see her champion British design on the red (or green) carpet here – my wish list would be CRED jewellery, Beyond Skin shoes (already a favourite of Natalie Portman), clutch from fashion conscience and maybe even a gown made from recycled suits or shirts from Junky Styling

If you were Lupe Castro, ethical stylist to the stars, how would you style Livia Firth for the BAFTAs?

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