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Using fashion to make positive change

15 February 2021, Retail

Meet the fashionistas fighting for the future of our planet 

Behind our incredible Save Op Shops team is a skilled volunteer group - our eco-styling team. This passionate team of sustainability experts bring their skillsets and life experience to support our retail network on photoshoots, merchandising concepts, events and other creative projects. 

Natalie Shehata 

Photo: Save the Children team member


Natalie is the founder and editor of tommie magazine - the destination for creative Women with a Conscience – an online and real-life community she says she started in 2012, “to elevate the diverse voices that make up our country, and to also demonstrate the naturally, intuitive and sustainable ways of living”. 

“I grew up in Public Housing and I didn’t see myself represented in fashion or media - those who were less privileged didn’t have access to the elite fashion world, so I wanted to be an instrumental part of changing that for younger generations.” 

Along with being an eco-stylist, speaker, founder, community advocate and writer, Natalie also works at ‘The Social Outfit’, working directly with female youth from the refugee and new migrant communities, to train them in skills they need to attain their first Australian jobs in the retail space.

As Save the Children’s first ever National Volunteer Eco-stylist, Natalie says she “always wanted to be of service to young people, to offer them a sense of community and a role model to look to for guidance". Through her work she hopes that people “can see that shopping second hand is an investment into the betterment of the lives of young people.”

Australians are throwing away 6,000kgs of clothing every 10 minutes. We are at important intersection for change, let’s be part of the solution, not the problem. Your purchase empowers people, so let’s all choose second hand first!

Natalie Shehata

Natalie’s top tips: 

There are no rules

Op-shopping is a one stop destination to choose from many decades of clothing; different fabric compositions, different shapes and silhouettes. Style should be fun, give something new a go! 

Plan ahead 

I always say op-shopping starts at home in your wardrobe. Know what’s in your wardrobe and what gaps you need to fill, so you are aware before you head out what’s going to work with your other pieces.

Ana Covarrubias 

Photo: Penelope Morgan Photography


Ana Fernanda Covarrubias, is a Mexican Eco-Fashion Designer and stylist who came to Australia four years ago, under the Skilled Worker VISA scheme. 

Ana explains her passion: “I come from a working-class family. I grew up surrounded by sewing machines and fabrics, as one of my aunties was a seamstress. When I was young, I already knew that fashion was my passion, I couldn't see myself doing anything else.” 

After graduating from the Fashion School, Ana worked in different clothing factories. Ana soon discovered the inequality for workers in these factories and her journey as a human rights and sustainable fashion advocate began.

Ana founded The Second Runway blog, where she promotes sustainable fashion and slow fashion styling. Ana also runs Upcycling workshops for refugee women in Geelong, Victoria, as well as her own clothing brand, centred around Upcycled and deadstock materials.

I strongly believe that supporting children and … educating current and future generations are crucial to a sustainable future. When shopping preloved in Save The Children Op Shops you can be sure that you are having a positive impact, not only on our environment, but also on vulnerable children around the world.

Ana Covarrubias

Ana’s top tips: 

Make friends with your local tailor

Quite often it’s worth buying a piece that needs some simple modifications - you won’t regret having a piece altered to fit your body shape!

Try everything on

Things can look very different on the rack; once you’ve tried an item on, you’ll be able to determine whether it fits right and whether you can see yourself wearing it.

Our Save Op Shops team are always looking for new volunteers. 

Stay up to date on how Save the Children is creating a world where every child has a safe and happy childhood