Students Turn Rags to Riches for Hospice Fashion Show

Living Magazines Green with Envy Fashion Show February 1st 2023 HOSF

Oaklands College fashion students recently made clothing and shoes out of charity shop donations for the Hospice of St Francis’s fashion show on 1 February. The students used items that were too damaged to be sold and upcycled them into everything from ball gowns to miniskirts.

The fashion show, held at Shendish Manor in Hemel Hempstead, aimed to inspire people to shop sustainably by showing how charity shop clothing can be styled to look catwalk-worthy.

Oaklands College design lecturer, Natalie Sturman, described her students’ collaboration with the Hospice. ‘Most of them had never made a garment before, but they all loved working with second-hand clothes. We had lots of conversations around the Hospice’s work, and why it’s so important.’

The Hospice raised a whopping £6,000 at the event, which will go towards funding the free care it provides every year to 2,000 local people facing serious illnesses.

One student, Papillon, 18, created a pair of patchwork trousers and a handmade hoodie by cutting up two shirts. ‘I find all my hidden gems in charity shops,’ the budding designer explained.

Besides showcasing student designs, the show featured clothing for sale from the Hospice’s shops. Twenty-two Hospice employees and volunteers modelled everything from sportswear to wedding attire, strutting the catwalk in front of three hundred cheering audience members.

‘The future looks bright with so many young people embracing sustainable fashion,’ Sarah Coles, Director of Sustainable Trading at the Hospice of St Francis said. ‘With the cost of living crisis, charity shops offer high quality items at accessible prices. It’s the ultimate guilt-free shopping. It saves on landfill, it helps the planet, and you can feel good about supporting a local cause.’

At the end of the night, audience members purchased many of the items they’d seen modelled on the runway with the average price below ten pounds. ‘It’s fantastic,’ one audience member commented. ‘It makes you see the clothes in a new way.’

If you would like to locate your nearest Hospice shop to shop and donate, please visit the Hospice website: