• Frockery eco-fashion challenge winners 2017

    March 12, 2017

    frockery challenge

    A big thank you to all who took part in our seventh Frockery eco-fashion challenge. A lot of frocks have passed through the shop since our first eco-fest in 2011, which was prompted by our being knee deep in snow, with an non-mobile frockmobile  and severely disrupted postal services. Although February 2017 was a great deal  milder weather wise, the lingering financial hangover from the festive season has always been an incentive for most of us  to embark on an economy drive. And what better way to  save money and the planet than vaunting the vintage, rocking the retro, celebrating the second hand and paying homage to the hand made?

    As ever this year, there was a stunning array of stylish outfits, creativity and storytelling on display throughout our month-long challenge as our eco-fashionistas strutted their selfies on our Facebook group, and we all enjoyed hearing about everyone's bargain buys and the stories behind their awesome ensembles.

    Although Judge Janice had to stand down from active duty this year due to other commitments, she has still been keeping an eye on us! The unenviable task meanwhile fell to our two remaining judges, who said they had really struggled to come to a final decision. But after much chivvying, the chief frocker has at last been passed the results (which have been double checked in order to avoid any Oscars-style faux pas!) Each of the winners will receive £50 of frockery of their choice from our catalogue, so please just drop us an email with your selections.

    So this year’s winners are....

    Vintage category: Catherine Low

    It was a privilege to see several unique vintage pieces made by a lady called Alberta grace our virtual catwalk, courtesy of their new owner Catherine, who also shared a host of  quirky and colourful looks and some incredible bargain buys. She explained: "When we bought an old house in Stromness, which was full of very old boatbuilder and blacksmithing jumble, I found in the bottom of a wardrobe a carefully packed box full of dresses.It turns out the sister (Alberta) of the former owner of the house had a tragic love story and became a recluse, never leaving the house until she died. She had a love of dressmaking and most of the dresses we're hand made. They all fit me really well, so will feature in a few more eco challenge pics, no doubt. I loved washing the dresses and hanging them out and I love wearing them - I feel Alberta would be pleased."

    vintage winner

    “I think the dress in the pic is from 1940s? I have a red rose and brown shoes ( the rose is another 10p goody from the local Ballater Clan shop and the shoes were a Christmas present last year from my second son."

    vintage winner

    "Another of Alberta's frocks. This one is made from raw silk and again is hand made. Early 50s? I also have black Ted Baker heels on from Red Cross Ballater."

    vintage winner

    "I buy a bright green dress and on the way out of the shop catch sight of an orange pashmina and still have change from a fiver. Looking a bit like the flag of India here - Namaste!"

    Preloved category: Suki Fitzgerald

    Suki showcased a selection of stunning outfits during the challenge, mixing charity shop bargains with hand-me-downs and customised Star Wars creations.

    preloved winner

    Ooh la la! "Dress and bolero were bought in a second hand shop in Paris for €2 each. Vintage necklace was a 21st birthday present (sadly a good few years ago now!)"

    preloved winner

    "My charity shop dress, £5. Necklace was charity shop too, £3. Secondhand cardigan, £1."

    preloved winner

    "Star Wars Comic-con outfits. Not exactly fashion, but they were eco - I made my hooded poncho out of our old duvet cover, and all other clothing was sourced from charity shops (total around £15) and then adapted/altered. I stitched everything by hand as I have no sewing machine -it took ages!"

    Hand made category: Ali Thomson

    Ali was inspired to learn to sew for the Frockery challenge and shared her progress and the results of her first project with us. Bravo! She said: "I got lots of lovely material from the Freecycle website and decided to take up sewing. I took a 6 week course at my local Arts Centre in East Kilbride and learned the basics. The Frockery challenge brought out my creative side and here are the results. I have thoroughly enjoyed making this dress, except for the neck line which was probably a bit ambitious for a beginner. But I'm delighted with the result. My 22 year old daughter has asked me to make her one – just not in that dodgy pattern! Thanks Frockery, it might be my first clothing project but it certainly won't be my last."

    hand made winner

    hand made winner

    The cutting room floor

    hand made winner's helper

    Canine helper sporting a stylish knitted coat

    hand made winner

    Ta da! The finished reult.

    Special award: Annick Breugelmans

    In addition, a special award, in the form  of a vintage brooch, goes to the lovely Annick, who impressed with her versatile style, colour combinations and accessories. We even learned about 'Larp' ( live action roleplay) events, where participants dress up and act out a character in prewritten scenarios (which gave the chief frocker an idea for a future challenge!) Although Annick is not UK-based, we decided to bend our own rules on this occasion.

    special award

    "Handmade jewelry. Red top - uniform from a folk dance festival that we got to keep. Dress from the bargain bin (-75%) because of some loose seams ( easily mended). Tights bought by my sister as a touch of colour for a certain outfit, but passed along to me without wearing because she found them too colourful. Shoes were a birthday gift 2 years ago."

    special award

    "Skirt bought in a closing sale about at half price about 10 years ago. Tights and long sleeve newly bought. Earrings bought on an outlet and flash sales website. Shrug passed down from a colleague along with some other clothes. Boots as seen before."

    Everyone is of course a winner and we'll look forward to doing it all again next year!


  • The Frockery's Top 10 Eco-Fashion Re-Solutions

    January 1, 2017
    Why not adopt some or all of our Top 10 fashion ‘RE-solutions’ this new year and help save the planet and your wallet in style?
  • Grand designs on zero waste

    August 31, 2015

    zero waste love your clothes

    As part of its campaign to ‘show consumers the true value of their discarded clothing’, Zero Waste Scotland, in partnership with the Salvation Army Trading Company Limited, is offering two exciting 12 week paid internship opportunities for a fashion designer and a textile designer to create new collections from post-consumer, donated clothing.

    Zero Waste Scotland’s textiles manager Lynn Wilson said:

    “This exciting new project with the Salvation Army Trading Company aims to show Scots the true value of their clothes and how, with a little love and attention, the item they may intend to throw out could in fact be turned in to something more valuable for the current or new owner. It’s also a terrific opportunity for designers based in Scotland, so please send us your applications now.”

    The Salvation Army Trading Company has 52 charity shops in Scotland as well as thousands of recycling banks. Each year they receive around 30,000 tonnes of donated textiles in the UK, which helps raise vital funds for the charity’s work.

    Forming part of the Love Your Clothes campaign, the two selected designers will have to choose 150kg of fabric from the 5 tonne selection of unwanted clothing. Once the internships are complete, each new collection will be individually and independently valued to demonstrate how much revenue could be created and saved through a closed loop circular economy.

    Further information can be found on the Zero Waste Scotland website.


  • Upcycling inspiration at Tayside Re-Users

    June 20, 2014

    tayside reusers

    The chief frocker recently joined the board of Tayside Re-Users (formerly Tayside Recyclers) which is a registered charity and social enterprise based in a former Dundee jute mill. Founded in 1995, TR promotes re-use and recycling and offers employment, volunteering and training opportunities to people who wish to find a route back into work.

    The charity actively encourages and inspires people to find alternative uses for goods they might otherwise throw away. Collections of quality used household and office furniture, white goods, bric a brac, and all kinds of DIY goods are carried out daily, and the items are assessed, refurbished, cleaned and sold at The Emporium.

    As a Revolve approved organisation, customers can be confident that whatever they purchase at TR meets rigorous quality standards. Second hand does not mean second best and a quality item can last a lifetime, although it might sometimes need a bit of TLC to bring it back into circulation.

    revolve badge

    With imagination and creativity, unwanted items can be given a substantial second life. This not only benefits those looking for affordable goods of all descriptions, but also helps to improve the environment. What could be better than saving the planet as well as the wallet?  

    And remember, when it comes to textiles, you'll find the Frockery's Top 10 eco-fashion ‘RE’ action tips in our focus article, Landfill fashion: what a waste.

    Meanwhile, take a look at this beautiful upcycled work of art gifted to TR by Naomi D'Cruz, an art student at Dundee University's Duncan of Jordanstone college, who created a stunning chandelier out of old bike parts. It is currently on display in The Emporium and although it is not for sale, it will remain on view as an inspiring example what can be achieved by reusing and upcycling (literally!).

    upcycled chandelier

     Upcycled chandelier made from old bike parts by Naomi D'Cruz, currently on display at Tayside ReUsers


  • Cor Kirstie, that's really free!

    August 7, 2013

    So who else has been watching Kirstie Allsopp's Fill Your House for Free series on Channel 4?

    "Kirstie and her team will demonstrate how to upcycle and restore old furniture, as well as showing viewers where to go and how to salvage their own treasures while spending as little as possible on doing up their homes."

    The programme is right up our street as we've been freecycling, flea marketing, car booting and house clearing for years and have all the free, cheap and stylish (we think!) stuff to prove it! When we lived in Germany, householders used to leave unwanted items out on a specified day every month so that people could help themselves to 'treasures' before they were cleared by the council for recycling. Compare that to stories of  individuals in the UK being fined for 'stealing' stuff destined for, or actually deposited in, skips and council tips!

    Since we are planning to downsize in the fairly near future, we have already started selling and giving away some of our surplus items, which is proving quite therapeutic and has the added benefit of  helping someone else out who needs what is taking up space in our home. Our recent giveaways have included a vintage Sega megadrive with games which went to a family with five foster children, two sofas and a TV / video combo with freeview box which was snapped up in minutes after posting on the local freegle group.

    We have also enjoyed some fantastic freebies over the years, including an Apple Mac computer (the model with the innards on show!), which Kirstin Frocker used for her designs, and 'Christine', one of our frockery mannequins who was looking for a new home when her owner moved away after finishing her art degree.

    christine frocker

    As some readers already know, the chief frocker used to work in a previous life for a Member of the Scottish Parliament, during which time she enjoyed responsibility for the waste portfolio as well as education and children (the two complemented each other remarkably well!)  One local charity we had regular contact with then, and of which Johnny Frocker is currently a director, is the Tayside Re-Use Centre (formerly Tayside Recyclers) which occupies a  large former jute mill building and collects, repairs and re-homes all sorts of goods, from bric a brac, clothing and soft furnishings to small electricals, domestic and office furniture and white goods. The Emporium is well worth a visit if you are ever in the Dundee area and the Skill Share project, which is also based there, provides a myriad of learning opportunities to support and enable more sustainable living.

    tayside reuse centre

     tayside reuse centre

    tayside reuse centre

    There isn't a lot of spare money around in most households these days, so it makes sound financial and sustainable sense to source and re-use items that might otherwise end up in landfill. What you no longer need or want will undoubtedly enjoy a new lease of life with another owner, and take it from us, giving stuff away is entirely painless; indeed it engenders a positive feelgood factor!

    Just as vintage clothing used to be sneered at by fussy fashionistas who have since begun to embrace it enthusiastically, second hand furniture, fittings and household eclectica have had an entirely undeserved Cinderella-like image for far too long. Having never really understood the appeal of  'brand new', our own house is crammed full of vintage finds, antique pieces and other hand-me-downs that we have acquired over the years - and we also have far too many vintage tea sets and kitchenalia stuffed into too many drawers and cupboards! It's just as well that older  furniture is generously sized to accommodate the acquistive tendencies of the frockers, who are unashamed hoarders of old crockery, cameras, clothes and collectables (various).

    So it's full marks to Kirstie for championing the recycling and upcycling cause and bringing it to more mainstream attention. We're sure that really free and nearly free stuff is going to catch on in a big way, and not before time.

  • Waste not want not, fill bellies not bins

    November 7, 2011

    Christmas may come but once a year, but the run-up to the so-called season of goodwill seems to go on forever.  We make a point of ignoring the subject until the clocks change, after which there seems to be no avoiding it as the shops fill with festive related food, frockery and gifts guaranteed to tempt even the most Scrooge like into spending, and consequently wasting, too much.

    As our regular readers are aware, we are confirmed frugalistas, preferring to live life in the slow lane generally, and the slow fashion lane in particular. We love to cook meals from scratch and hate waste, which means leftovers are nearly always recycled into a new dish and surplus is shared among friends, neighbours and sometimes the local ducks! Similarly, our wardrobe is full of vintage, second hand, recycled and home made clothes, with any outgrowns being donated to charity shops or recycled in textile banks.

    Yet the pressure on even the greenest of meanies to overspend and over consume rears its ugly head every year without fail and is a very persuasive force, judging by the heaving high streets and astronomical levels of spending in supermarkets. Collective insanity seems to prevail pre-Christmas and drives a spending frenzy that is inevitably regretted in the new year as the credit card bills roll in.

    It was therefore heartening to hear about the food waste busting mission of one of our newest Twitter followers, @Feeding5K. On 18th November 2011, they will be living up to their name and feeding 5000 people in London's Trafalgar Square on food that would otherwise have been wasted. "Fill Bellies, Not Bins" is their motto and you can sign a pledge to reduce your food waste on their website.

    free lunch

    Then on 26th November it's Buy Nothing Day 2011, which challenges us all to switch off from shopping for one day as an antidote to the toxicity of rampant consumerism.

    buy nothing day 2011

    Buy Nothing Day proponents maintain, like us, that it’s not shopping in itself that is harmful, but what we buy. They remind us all that:

    "Only 20% of the world population are consuming over 80% of the earth’s natural resources, causing a disproportionate level of environmental damage and unfair distribution of wealth. As consumers, we should question the products we buy and the companies who produce them.

    The idea is to make people stop and think about what and how much they buy affects the environment and developing countries. Increasingly large companies use labour in developing countries to produce goods because its cheap and there aren’t the systems to protect workers like there are in the west."

     So let's bear these sentiments in mind in this coming season of goodwill: waste not want not, fill bellies not bins, and moderation in all things (although we may just make a small exception for red wine!)