At Oranges and Apples, Edinburgh-based Franca shares her colourful and eclectic style with readers, as well as crafty endeavours; thoughts on fashion, society, parenthood; and more. If you live in or near Edinburgh then you’ll love her guide to Edinburgh vintage and charity shops – it’s a veritable gold mine of useful information!
Franca made this skirt and cowl, and her jumper came from a charity shop
Franca, Oranges & Apples is a firm favourite of mine, but can you share with Moral Fibres readers and me three facts about you that they might not know:
1. I’m a German person but I’ve never lived in Germany (I grew up in Luxembourg). I went to a European school where I had some lessons in English and French. My accent is essentially unplaceable!
2. I really really like tea. I drink litres of it every day and try to stick to mostly herbal, but my favourites are earl grey and Darjeeling.
3. I’m a bit of a homebody but I love city trips. We like to stay in an apartment and spend our time mostly wandering around and having coffee and food and sort of pretending we live there. We went to Copenhagen in June and it was awesome!
Where are your favourite places to shop for ethical clothing?
I used to be a big charity shopper, so if you’d have asked me a couple of years ago that’s what I would have said. But since then, possibly brought on by becoming a parent, I’m not really into the quantity over quality thing anymore. And while you can find quality stuff in charity shops, most of it is pretty worn out and a lot of it is fast fashion cast-offs and I am making a serious effort to achieve a smaller wardrobe where everything is in good condition. It’s a work in progress.
Franca made this beautiful dress
What’s the last ethical item that you bought?
I’m not sure as it’s been a while: I think it was a secondhand Cos dress off of eBay. Or a Superdry shirt in a charity shop, I’m not sure which!
Is there anything ethical or second-hand that you are lusting over at the moment?
I’m planning on buying a slouchy cardigan from Earth Kind Originals at some point soon.
Do you have a top tip for shopping ethically?
It depends on what kind of shopping I guess! For charity shopping, my tip is to build up a good understanding of what your size is and what will fit then ignore the labels in the clothes. I own everything from a size 8 to a 16. Also to look at the fabric and finishing and not be blinded by labels.
Is there anything you find difficult about shopping ethically?
It’s a lot better than it used to be, but I still struggle to find brightly coloured neutrals from ethical shops. A lot of the stuff tends to be ‘natural’ colours.
Vintage dress, shoes with naturally tanned and dyed leather
Where do you get your style inspiration from?
Mainly style and sewing blogs, and people I see out and about. I don’t particularly follow fashion trends and I rarely buy magazines.
What is your best second-hand or ethical find ever?
I have a lovely really well-made 1950s day dress I bought in a local vintage shop for £40 years ago. That kind of quality is difficult to find nowadays!
What would be your ultimate thrifted find?
I would love to find a cotton 1950s dress with sleeves!
Finally, Franca, can you share three ethical style tips with us:
1. Layer! You get a lot more interest out of the same clothes if you combine them together in various ways.
2. Learn to do basic clothes alterations like taking up hems to make second-hand or vintage clothes as you want them. Alternatively, make friends with your tailor: it’s cheaper than you might think!
3. Accessorise! I love scarves and brooches in particular, and they’re easy to find in charity and vintage shops. I could wear plain black clothes for the rest of my life and still have something interesting to wear.
Franca made this blouse; the vintage skirt is from a charity shop