This is the thing about charity shops, they are so much more than the money they bring in and this is something that I am really passionate about. Charity shops make fashion affordable for everyone, they are a hub for the local community and they help combat environmental issues such as landfill and global warming. I get very animated on this, but at the end of the day the environment is the root of everything, if we don’t reverse global warming then nothing else is going to matter.

I’ve been shopping in charity shops since I was a kid, back when it wasn’t cool! You know back when we had these abstract t-shirts warning us off global warming that we really didn’t understand yet. But we do now. And behaviours that were driven in to me as a child of wearing hand-me-downs and giving everything a second life (I can make my own clothes) are important now more than ever. The only difference is that I am no longer trying to hide that I shop in charity shops, like when I was an awkward teenager scanning the street before I walked in.

Recent research from Ebay says that in 2020 one secondhand purchase is made every three seconds in the UK. That is incredible and we know that charity shops alone save 339,000 textiles from landfill every year. I see loads of our customers embark on projects to style up pre-loved purchases or create something cool from the materials they have bought. All of this is helping the environment.

Charity shops also have a role to play in slowing down “fast-fashion”, as not only are we built on sustainable principles we’re also providing clothes at prices people can afford, making us compeititon for “fast-fashion” outlets and ultimately giving people the option of choosing a more sustainable way to buy clothes.

The next step is we need to make the concept of “sustainable fashion” more accessible. We are using too many hipster words for it, which isn’t allowing us to normalise it. Or making it something that people are talking about at the pub. As a sector this is something that we need to tackle, along with educating people of the difference shopping in a charity shop has on the environment. Most people don’t realise and are really shocked when you tell them.

Gemma Cruttenden
Ecommerce and Communications Manager