Environment Fashion

The Search for Second-hand Clothes

Inspired by the lovely Liv (@theendofthenew) I decided 2012 would be the start of me buying as few new clothes as possible. Women in the UK waste £1.6 billion on clothes they’ll never wear and 1.2 million tonnes of this goes to landfill. Not so good for wallets or the environment.

In my bid to not buy new, I’ve spent a lot of time pounding the pavement trying to find good places to shop.

Decent charity shops are sometimes hard to come by. You either find ones with prices too high (yes even though it’s for charity, it’s hard to reconcile paying more for something used than you would for it new) or ones that tend to have not so stellar stock or ones that are brilliant but far away (case in point: Whitstable – amazing but too far to travel for clothes on a regular basis) So I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favs.

Oxfam, Dalston Junction.

  • This shop is big. And it works on a coloured label tag (ie: yellow labels, all £1). Plenty of bargains and a sizable homewares section. Best purchase here? A bright yellow leather clutch.

Save the Children Shop, Clapham.

  • Located on a road with plenty other charity shops and good for an afternoon adventure, loves this massive shop. It’s the kind of place to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. Although chaotic there are loads of bargains and plenty from my personal favourite decade, the 80s.

RSPCA, Stoke Newington. (aka The new kid on the block)

  • For moments when you’re considering popping in to the high road to buy a staple wardrobe item (black cardigan, white vest top, you know, those things) this is the place to go. They’ve got lots of stock and a good amount of ‘work clothes’. There’s also a Mind shop close by that’s also quite good. I bagged myself some Kurt Geiger pumps for a fiver last week. Score.

Salvation Army, Mare Street, Hackney.

  • If you’re after vintage but don’t want to pay the premium for something from past decades, this is your shop. The store is relatively new and has some usual but lovely clothes. Especially dresses. And shoes.

Lama’s Pyjama’s, Roman Road.

  • Lama’s is particularly good for accessories like belts, shoes and costume jewellery.

YMCA, Goodge Street.

  • This used to be my favourite place to go on lunch breaks with @jocorrall when I was at Do The Green Thing. It’s full of good (random) t-shirts and has lots of nice coats.

If you can think of any others I should add, please do share. I’m a bit biased to North-East London but that can change!


Swap Shop

Nice jeans, eh? I inherited them last week at a clothes swap at Green Thing HQ. Inspired by The End of The New, a fashion conscious experiment in not buying new clothes, I thought it would be fun to get a bunch of friends and colleagues in the same room with bags of old clothes and swap around. And that’s exactly what happened last Wednesday evening.

I also managed to bag this lovely yellow terrycloth Lacoste dress. Perfect for the beach.

It was amazing sharing experiences of our wardrobes and stories about just how much stuff we all owned but either never wore, wore until it went out of fashion or wore it thin. I think most people walked away pleased with their ‘new’ items of clothing and hopefully we will all think a bit more before we buy throwaway fashion. Even though it’s cheap and accessible, I’ve found that clothes that have a history and have been loved are the best. With swap parties because everything is valued the same, you end up coming away with things you may have never worn before and you become a bit more creative about what you wear and how you wear it.

There are plenty of places to swap clothes with people online, like The Big Wardrobe and Posh Swaps. And, if you’re really keen just organise one of your own. No experience necessary!