I started working in CLAN Charity shop when I was fourteen. The shop was absolutely packed with clothes and other bits and pieces. I loved dressing the mannequins, organising the shelves and chatting to the customers about their finds. I became an expert in rifling through coat hangers and boxes – finding all the best treasures before they were snapped up. I worked with the loveliest group of women, with whom we would go diving through black bags of donations and sometimes we would have doughnuts as a treat. Karen Scott, who manages CLAN in Orkney, would often give me extra tasks, such as helping to make beauty kits for Pamper Nights and anything from folding up flyers to helping decorate the upstairs of the building. I was beginning to take photos and Karen spotted this, so she had me photographing charity fashion shows, ‘Stars in Your Eyes’ concerts and midnight walks. Anything fashion related, she had me there. Anything photography related, she had me there. This was long before I was considering doing anything fashion or photography related, it was all for fun, so I am really grateful to her for encouraging it.

While I was doing my degree in Fashion Communication, I decided that I didn’t want my project to be part of the current fast fashion system, so decided to source all the clothes for my photo shoots in charity shops and from my friends and family’s wardrobes – a large amount of the clothes were found in CLAN. It was for these reasons that I really wanted the first Teran workshop to be held in CLAN and although I had total faith in the event, I was completely blown away by how much fun it could be!

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The first workshop was a Creative Fashion Styling workshop, where we were given the keys to the charity shop and were set loose in there for the day. A group of sixteen people of all ages paired up took part in a series of dress-up challenges, styling each other and creating outfits to be photographed in the CLAN memory garden. We had jelly mould hats, fresh beetroot as earrings and wrist cuffs made from tiny lampshades to name just a few of the ideas.

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I am a believer that fashion can be created anywhere, by anyone and this day was proof. It was great to chat with everyone about their own involvement with fashion and was shown sketchbooks of amazing cartoons by a very talented young girl, who I’m already sure will go far. It was also lovely to have Karen talk about CLAN and the brilliant services they provide for those with cancer or anyone affected by cancer. Here are some of the photos from the day and feedback from some of the participants.

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“Orkney isn’t well-known for it’s fashion even though it’s a place with a surprisingly large creative community and quite a few local designers. So it was really rewarding to take part in a workshop that allowed me to explore fashion in a creative way. It’s something I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do in Orkney, which is a real shame as I love to dress up and have fun with what I wear.

The workshop was such a brilliant way to spend a Sunday and it was a great way to meet people with a like-minded passion for charity shops. I’m so glad I was able to participate.”

Rachael Batty, pictured above.

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“Thoroughly enjoyed Alannah’s workshop- apart from being great fun it made me look at all the clothes and accessories in a much wider way and really think about how we wear what we wear. It was a truly liberating afternoon and I’m sure it could be marketed as some sort of uplifting therapy!! I think we all reverted to childhood, rummaging in Granny’s dressing up box! And of course Alannah’s photography and choice of background make it all look amazing. Well done Alannah- can we do it again??”

Alice Cant, pictured above.

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“It was great to have taken part in such an interesting and challenging day, as well as having such a diverse group of people to do it with. Definitely a worthwhile experience that I hope we will all be able to enjoy again.”

Tomas Hermoso, pictured above.

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” I went along to the ‘Hand me Doon’ workshop run by Alannah and expected it to be an interesting way to pass a Sunday.  Oh my goodness, it was that and so much more.  Having the full run of the Clan charity shop to use as a dressing up box we very soon lost any shyness we had and were putting together hilarious outfits for each other.  The photographs speak for themselves, a day so full of fun with a great age range of lovely people attending.  Thank you Alannah.”

Helen Innes, pictured above right.

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“I had a great time at the workshop, I met some great people and it was great seeing everyone express their creativity in unusual ways.”

Eleanor Dean, pictured above.

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“I was so chuffed to be part of Alannah’s first Teran workshop in Orkney, it was such a fun experience dressing up in the Clan clothing in different styles followed by a relaxed fun photo shoot in the gardens with lots of laughs with a great bunch of people.”

Alison Harcus, pictured above.

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“Thoroughly enjoyed Hand Me Doons Workshop.  Made welcome by Alannah, who explained her Photography and Fashion course at Central Saint Martins. Then she explained about getting dressed up in various clothes in different themes, as most of us had no experience in fashion. Alannah helped and also took the photos, it was an eye opener and great fun to see everyones ideas. Prizes for winners and soup and sandwiches was provided.  Lots of money was raised for the charity shop. Alannah thanked every one for taking part and coming to support her workshop. A great fun day making new friends and learning about fashion. Thank you for a great day.”

Granny, pictured above.

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“Alannah’s workshop allowed me to be less constrained with my own creative ideas. The range of people with different experiences was so interesting and just sharing skills and ideas with people I have never met surprisingly made me feel quite comfortable.”

Kelly Marwick, pictured above.

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A huge thank you to everyone who took part, my mum for helping to organise it and to Karen at CLAN for helping me to organise the day, for making lovely soup and mini pizzas! We raised £145 which has been donated to CLAN.

If you want to find out more about CLAN then visit www.clanhouse.org/

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