From High Street blunders to charity wonders
Posted Thursday 6 September 2012
I am a charity shop convert and, after successfully avoiding the high street for a whole year, I decided to continue my new pursuit of raising awareness of charity fashion by setting up Fair Fashion Fair pop up charity shop.
The debut event will take place in support of the fantastic charity Mind on 8 and 9 September in London’s Notting Hill. All items which will be on sale over the weekend have been carefully selected from Mind shops.
Shoppers can expect to find anything from quirky fashion pieces to rare vintage items to weird and wonderful objects for the home. Come and support Mind and bag yourself some fashion treasure at the same time!
Here’s how it all began...
In 2011 I decided I needed a new challenge. After ruling out climbing Everest I decided that I needed to change the way I shopped and help the world in just a small way. I was partial to the odd shopping binge, which I hate to admit did usually occur during some sort of emotional life crisis, bad week at work, argument with a loved one or even just to cheer myself up on a rainy day. A few new tops and a pair of shoes may help lighten your day for a few hours but we all know it’s not a long term answer.
So with this in mind, 1 January 2011 was the start of me abstaining from the high street and only buying clothes from charity shops for an entire year. I wanted to help myself, charities and the world, albeit in a small way. I should mention that I did allow myself the luxury of buying new underwear - but that was it!
The year started off with ups, downs, and a few weak moments. It was difficult to walk past the array of shops on Oxford Street, packed to the rafters with the latest fashions and everything in-between. After a few weeks of cold turkey from the high street, I started to fish out the best charity shops and, to my delight, I found some real gems. From Gucci jackets to vintage evening dresses to handmade jewellery, charity shops have everything. I soon started to forget about the high street with my 'new' finds and I was even being complimented by friends and strangers alike when wearing my charity shop pieces.
On a few occasions though, I experienced puzzled looks and even an air of disgust when I revealed the origin of my clothes. This baffled me, especially as only moments before I revealed where they came from, people were gushing with compliments about the items I’d bought. In my charity shop year I really discovered how many people hold negative views towards charity shop shopping. Between dashing to charity shops in London and around the country, I then set out on a mission to convert just a few people to charity shop shopping, trying not to sound like a boring preaching friend with a new hobby!
I started with a close friend, who let’s just say likes new sparkly things in pristine wrapping, not second hand trinkets. It took a few visits to our local charity shop, with a degree of hand holding, but after opening up her eyes to the delights of charity shop shopping, she was a convert. Convincing her made me even more determined to spread the well kept secrets of fashion that charity shops have to offer.
My year of wearing clothes from charity shops only got better. I was picking up some amazing pieces, whilst giving money to good cause. At the same time, I was helping to reduce the cycle of unsustainable mass produced clothes and their negative impact on the environment. I would recommend trying a local charity shop to anyone, yes it's second hand, but then so is vintage and many people seem happy with buying and wearing that! Come along to my Fair Fashion Fair pop up charity shop and give it a go!
Join the fashion fair on Facebook for more charity shop shopping tips and a little hand holding if you need it!
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