The vintage and ‘thrifting’ phase may be massive but I wonder how many people in the UK actually step foot inside the doors of the UK and Republic of Ireland’s 9,000 charity shops? In my opinion, not enough. To me, it seems like there’s still an ‘idea’ attached to charity shops – that they’re for poor people, that the clothes are dirty or that you’ll only find ‘grandma-ish’ garments in there. Wrong. With the ‘thrifting’ boom in the US, second-hand clothes are cool and more widely appreciated. The UK should also embrace this by advertising and highlighting the need to buy second hand sometimes – we can’t keep living in a World where we throw away the old to make space for the new. That’s not a long term strategy.
Not only is it important to SHOP in charity shops but it’s also important to actively donate good quality used items. I think this is the UK’s strength as I feel like many people find it normal and would consider donating old bits and bobs to charity shops, I know I have. The public donating factor is extremely important as around 87% of the goods in sale come from donations to the shop.
The last point I wanted to touch on before going deeper into the fashion aspect is volunteers. Wow, do we rely on volunteers a lot in this country. Most British charity shops are staffed with volunteers with a paid manager. I find that absolutely staggering and amazing how charity shops around the country manage to keep open on the basis of other peoples good will and donation of their time. Charity shops are always happy to have another hand on deck, so if you do have some free time I’d recommend getting some hours in there and doing your bit for the community!
Overall, to me, charity shops are something we have to be talking about more, more people need to be shopping there and donating. With not only the global economy but landfill problems, etc, it seems like one of mankind’s only options.
And let’s not forget- you can nab yourself some pretty interesting pieces at charity shops around the country. I’d always suggest looking for statement pieces with unusual or quirky details such as an old/vintage varsity jacket or a patterned top. If you’re feeling really ‘thrifty’ I would definitely check out some charity shops in North/West London etc because they’re likely to have slightly more up market stuff considering their location and who may be donating!
I thought I should end this post by talking about the differences between charity and vintage. I love them both dearly but if you’re looking for a true ‘bargain’ as such that will probably be found in a charity shop. Vintage shops tend to have very specific pieces which look retro and suited to a specific time where they were popular. Vintage shops have also seen a boom in recent years and their popularity has really made the prices of the clothes soar upwards! Still they’re probably a good introduction into the world of second hand clothes for any newbies.
If you’re interested in seeing some of my recent charity shop and vintage purchases then I’ll happily do a post about that in the future!
I hope this post has made you want to go out and hunt in a charity shop…