Festival throws out challenge for fast fashion aficionados

Caring about what you wear does not have to harm the planet according to the organiser of the annual Oxglam fashion show at the Festival of Thrift.

Rachel Parry, Oxfam’s Darlington Store Manager, who pulls together the event’s sustainable fashion show spectacular, says that the dire environmental consequences caused by the love of fast fashion highlight the urgent need for a change in attitudes to how we buy and use clothes.

Industrial pollution

Commenting on the throwaway clothes culture she said: “Fast fashion is one of the leading causes of industrial pollution, second only to oil.

“Our desire to wear on-trend clothing means manufacturers are churning out countless tonnes of clothes which will be worn only a handful of times before they fall out of favour, and end up either donated to a charity shop or in landfill.”

Encouraging people to move to a more sustainable wardrobe is one of the key messages behind the Festival of Thrift’s fashion event.


Rachel added: “Hopefully, the show, as well as everything else that goes on at the festival, encourages people to see the potential in upcycling their existing clothes rather than buying new.

“We are often guilty of chucking out perfectly good clothes just because we want to change up our wardrobe, and the fashion show shows you that unwanted items can be turned into something new and unique.”

The show presents a range of cleverly created and often outrageous outfits to reflect each year’s Festival themes.

“We do take it to the extreme for the show – but the underlying principle is sound,” she notes. “I think in general there are a growing number of people who are more concerned about the impact their lifestyle choices have on our planet.

“Our Oxfam shop in Darlington has an extremely varied customer base, from children through to retirement, and it includes a lot of people who shop with us because they don’t want to buy in to fast fashion, and want to do what they can to protect the environment.

“The number of customers who have had their eyes opened to the perils of fast fashion is growing, and I see this reflected in conversations with them, and in the interest in our store’s upcycling and sewing class.”


This year’s Oxglam show at the Festival of Thrift, which returns to Kirleatham, near Redcar on 14 and 15 September, will be based around the 2019 Festival themes of clean air and a commemoration of the Moon landing.

Festival of Thrift director Stella Hall said: “Oxglam has been helping us to spread the message about reusing and re-wearing quality clothes for the past six years. It’s very encouraging that the very real issue of the environmental harm caused by casting-off clothes after a single wear is finally getting more recognition.

“We’re about to mark the annual Earth Day, which has been putting a global focus on the urgent action that is needed to protect our planet since 1970 and re-thinking our throwaway attitude to clothes has to be a key priority today.

“The Oxglam show is a fantastic achievement and a real festival highlight that is wonderful fun. Hats off to Rachel and her team, I can’t wait to see what will be strutted on the catwalk this year.”

The Oxglam event relies on a wide range of volunteers to source, sew and create outfits as well as working back-stage and modelling for ladies, mens and childrenswear.

More information

To find out more about getting involved,  email oxfamshopf0417@oxfam.org.uk , call the shop on 01325 382415, or pop in to the shop at 24 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7NW and ask to speak to the manager.

To read an interview with Rachel all about Oxglam, visit the the Festival of Thrift website.

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