Used clothes make for magnificent textile cut offs.

In the throes of mid-winter, they also make wonderful components for blankets, towels – as well as larger versions of the aforementioned objects.

oxfamWhen living an alternative lifestyle, such as myself, it’s important to take advantage of absolute advantage of anything the streets throw at you. You never know what wonders are lurking around the next corner.

During winter, whilst rummaging through bags outside Oxfam, I made one of the biggest finds of my treasure hunting career thus far. All I was hoping to find was maybe a woollen cardigan, or perhaps some blanketing materials. What I discovered would go on to change my perspective on the fashion and art world in a  very real way…and would also provide me with some blanketing materials.

pile-of-bagsHunting through bins might seem like dirty work to some, but there’s really a knack to it that many don’t understand.

Once you’ve opened up as many bins as I have, you’ll understand that, within the myriad patterns of creases and folds, there is a language. A language that tells us just what is inside that bag and whether or not it’s worth cutting open or not.

donations-clothesSoft bulges indicate clothing, a sure thing. Where as peaks and deep troughs in the polyethylene usually suggest glass, or cardboard – things that should be generally avoided unless you’re looking to create a mixed-medium project.

On a recent hunting trip, I was hitting up the charity shops on an early Monday morning.

Most people drop their unwanted clothes off on Sunday afternoon, although the majority of well meaning philanthropists are a little too late, so they end up dropping big bin bags of lovely stuff on the front doors of these shops. If you get to these establishments before the staff arrive at around half 8, then you can peruse the bags at your leisure and take the best items for yourself.

This particular morning, I hit the jackpot.

Three massive, doughy looking sacks were waiting for me when I got to Oxfam. Stuffing the rest of the Steak Bake into my mouth, I eagerly started cutting open the sacks, to see what goodies I had earned. The contents were initially puzzling. Tiny versions of expensive looking things filled the bags – brand names tugged and pulled at my eyes.

BOSS. Kenzo. Billybandit. Karl Lagerfield. Oilily. Ermanno Scervino. Little Marc Jacobs. Timberland.

All these names jumped out at me. As I started to run my fingers through all the tiny outfits, I was overcome with a giddy sense of accomplishment. These were the finest materials I’d had my hands on for a very long time. My mind boggled at the possibilities of blanket designs that I could realise with this stash of goodies. I quickly gathered the mass of clothes in my arms and scurried back to the studio to begin my work.bin-liners

When I got home and hung out all the tiny dinner jackets, parkers, baby-grows and blazers – a pang of guilt somehow made it’s way into my heart.

These clothes were beautiful, they didn’t deserve to be hacked up to create my bedding. They deserved to be worn by kids who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them. I almost took them back, before I considered consulting the Internet. After logging in at the Library, I discovered that not only were high-end children’s clothes flooding the market – but children were better dressed today than they had ever been.

col-kidsFrom an online version of Oxfam’s used clothes store, to an entire online shop dedicated to childrens designer wear, kids have never had more options as far as clothes go. Of course, the price of the goods were more than any child would reasonably afford, but that’s what parents are for, right?

After assuaging my guilt, reminding myself that my warmth and security is probably more important than some child’s street cred, I happily tore every single outfit to shreds and spent the next two week stitching together an unholy brand-aware Frankenstein of a blanket.

I sleep in it every night and I’ve never felt more fashionable.

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