Charity shopping is about as sustainable and ethical as it gets. However some may be put off by the mothball ragged appearance of a lot of them. Emma Waight guides us through the best of the bunch in London.
I always say charity shops offer the ultimate in guilt free shopping. They fill an environmental need to recycle and reuse, an ethical desire to help others by raising money for the charity. They also fulfil a financial necessity for the shopper to save pennies.
Having said that, you do have to invest a bit of time in them to gain the best rewards. London has something to offer everyone as a shopping destination and the charity shopping is no exception. Why not make a day of it and go on a treasure hunt? You might be amazed with what you find.
Top 5 London charity shops:
- British Red Cross, Victoria (85 Ebury Street). Got some time to kill while you wait for your train? Go and find this small but perfectly formed gem at the back of Victoria station. This store is packed with designer labels. Last time I was there they had bright red Louis Vuitton trainers and a black Dolce & Gabbana dress for sale.
- Octavia Foundation, South Kensington (211 Brompton Road). This is a large store with separate designer and high street sections. Many pieces look barely worn, but be careful of the pricing. Last time I popped in they had a basic Primark dress ticketed at £20! One for book lovers too, wander downstairs to find a room full of second-hand and vintage reads.
- Fara, Kensington (26 Gloucester Road). Fara stores are dotted all over London. This branch has a particularly gorgeous boutique feel and is very well merchandised. Full of clothes, bags, shoes and jewellery, it’s a real treasure trove. I had to tear myself away from a Chloe black playsuit, priced at around £120 (£700 new).
- Oxfam, Notting Hill (245 Westbourne Grove). Oxfam were quick to make the vintage fashion trend work for them, and this store makes use of donations from its wealthy local residents. Why not combine a visit with a trip to Portobello Market?
- Traid, Camden (154 Camden High Street). Traid differ from other charity shops in that the sale of second-hand clothes is their main source of funding and fundamental element of the charity, therefore they really make it count. Traid Camden is their flagship branch, offering Traid second-hand, Traid vintage and Traidremade – their very own upcycled ethical fashion label.