In a poll conducted by waste management agency, BusinessWaste.co.uk it was found that consumers are increasingly turning towards second-hand clothing, with conscientious buyers set to make pre-loved items a bigger market than so-called ‘fast fashion’ by 2029. This mirrors other studies that show that the second-hand clothing market was set to double in the next five years – and overtake the fast fashion movement in the next decade. Such great news.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved a bit of vintage. Whether it be to add something unique to a fashion shoot or admire from afar there has always been something mysterious about vintage clothing. Who wore it previously, what was their life like, where did they wear that special piece? But charity shops were another thing completely and I tended to shy away from them. Maybe it was the 3 years I spent as a student In Manchester but I always had a thing (and not a good thing I may add) for that smell when you walked into a second hand store. But let me start by saying you can forget any of that. I was so impressed by each and every one of Mary’s Living and Giving stores I visited recently whilst researching for my latest challenge. I felt like I was walking into a unique boutique every time. The staff are super attentive, they know their stock, are passionate about their job and genuinely seem interested in you as a customer. Take Richmond for example, Joanna, the store manager is so cool, she was rocking a denim boiler suit on the day I visited, belted with a fabulous leather belt, a super cool pair of boots and a blonde crop that would put Emma Willis to shame. This woman knows a thing or two about fashion and it shows in her store. Kate in the Barnes store has worked there for 7 years and was the most wonderful friendly woman that made me think I would like to live south of the river if everyone is as friendly as you. And then there was Ealing, a store designed by Royal College of Art (RCA) interior design students Naomi Grieve and Flett Bertram that won an award for best interior designed charity shop.
Part of this process was to see if I could dress in clothes just bought from charity shops for two weeks. It follows on from my no shopping challenge in January which was set by my husband so he then had this great idea. We get so caught up in the newest, the latest, the must have, the insta famous this or that that sometimes it feels like I’m a hamster spinning on a wheel just to keep up and more to the point, current. I’m pretty much a full time stylist, I love my job but it now comes with an element of having new outfits all the time and that doesn’t sit well with me. I have 3 kids after all and my wardrobe is not my priority. Yes I love clothes but as I get older I invest in it rather than buy fast fashion all the time. Of course there is the odd piece from Zara but it’s still considered and not a ‘wear once toss aside’ piece.
So you can see from my images, I had great success and can honestly say my perception has completely changed. For example I have always wanted a rails shirt but never bought one because I thought £150 was extortionate for a tartan shirt. The Islington shop had one for £15! If I had a black tie event to go to I would have 100% bought the navy Roksanda evening dress for £80 from the Richmond store. And so it goes on. A black pair of Gucci trousers from the portobello store are an absolute bargain as are the navy Mcqueen ones for £70.
All of these items pictured here are available for sale. I have added the link to the website here but feel free to DM me if there is something you are interested in or want to know more about.
So i urge you to pop in to your local shop next time you’re passing. You just never know what you may find. Oh and the best bit, your money goes to the wonderful charity Save the children. Win win all round.
Click the following link to shop the collection! https://shop.savethechildren.org.uk/product-category/gayle-rinkoff/