charity shop

A Charity Shop for the Lazy, Sustainable Fashionista

Or, A Rare Tale of When Instagram Was Actually Helpful

There is something taking up an inordinate amount of space in my flat. I personally took the time and care to create this objectionable object and its contents are too important to drop in a bin. Yet there it sits, mocking me every Saturday morning…

an Ikea bag full of old clothes.

an Ikea bag full of old clothes for the charity shop

These clothes have done nothing wrong they’re just not my style anymore, or they don’t fit, or I was tired of keeping in the other Ikea bag full of clothes and I’m selling on Depop. My flat is tiny and space is precious but still I move this bag back and forth at the foot of my bed on a weekly basis to make room for the clothes drying rack. These clothes are good clothes that deserve good and loving homes, they do not need to contribute to our embarrassingly full landfills.  

Thankfully a solution presented itself when I was casually scrolling through Instagram, which is quite a miracle since social media scrolling usually just makes me feel depressed and anxious. One of my favourite follows posted a photo of a pink bag that matches her pink hair and in her caption – I always read her captions – I learned the bag was full of her old clothes to be sent to a new online charity shop called Re-Fashion.

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Just spent a very enjoyable few hours having breakfast with the lovely people from @refashionuk. They are changing up charity shops as we know them, carefully curating a selection of clothes we actually want to buy. And ensuring endless piles of unwanted items don’t end up in landfill. I also handed over a couple of my old pieces, including a French Connection denim jacket that I never wear but have been reluctant to get rid of for some reason. I actually feel a little lighter now. I am such a hoarder at heart, but get stressed at the endless piles of stuff at home. I had some great chats about learning to love the clothes we already have by changing them up if there is something bugging us about the design. I recently got a leather jacket shortened into a cropped version, so now I love and wear it much more than I used to. I took it into my local dry cleaners, it cost me around £40 but isn’t that so much better than getting rid of it and replacing it with a new one? Have you ever reinvented something to make it perfect for you? Lovely to meet @n4mummy and @convertedcloset. And can we just take a moment to appreciate the handbag vase of flowers? Genius refashioning 💕 now back to the @ohcomelymag office as lots to do before our midwinter issue goes to the printers… . . . . . . . #refashion #refashionuk #charityshop #ethicalfashion #changeitup #fashion #ohcomely #ohcomelymag #editorlife #editor #journo #pressbreakfast #press #sustainablefashion #fashionrevolution #thinkbeforeyoubuy #londonlife #meetings #modernpantry

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A Fresh Way to Charity Shop

Re-Fashion is a new kind of online charity shop that actually earns more money for they charities they work with than a traditional charity shop. They’re currently donating to Breast Cancer Care. To participate you simply request a bag, they send one, you fill up the bag, and post it back to them using the pre-paid postage sticker. The whole process is very effortless which is amazing for a lazy lady like myself! So, of course I ordered my bag straight away.

When I received my bag a few days later and I was quite surprised by just how big it is! I actually needed to pick out a few more items including a large sweater and a pair of jeans. Re-Fashion is a bit picky about the brands they accept as they want to keep their online shop classy and they send you a guide to the brands they most need. As their donation guidelines materials say, higher-quality brands make more money for the charity. And as a second-hand shopper myself, I really appreciate this kind of quality control.

Recently it seems like my favourite online second-hand shop is bursting with teenagers trying to sell their Primark stuff, or new “independent” shops supplying poorly made Kardash*an knock-offs. Thrifting online and off is always more time consuming that simply popping into Zara, but my hunt for a new-to-me winter coat has been plagued with nice thumbnail photos disguising terrible fabric blends and ultra-cheap brands. 

Quality Sustainability

Following along with the Re-Fashion mission of quality over quantity I turned my editing eye onto the clothing I plucked from the Ikea bag. I wasn’t simply checking the labels of the clothes, but also their worn condition to make sure I’m sending the best of what I’ve got. I could have fit about 30% more into the super-cute bag, but a project like this needs good participants to be beneficial to both the sellers and buyers.

Despite my curated efforts in filling the Re-Fashion bag my Ikea bag is still fairly full and still taking up space. And I still had to move it whilst doing laundry yesterday. But now it is much lighter and I’ll be able to walk it down to my local RSPCA without clenching my teeth and asking my husband for help. That kind of self-self-sufficieny is my favourite kind of sustainability.