Recently I was inspired by Love Your Clothes UK, how charity shops have not only been my main source to my wardrobe but also how this beautiful planet can benefit from your donations.
I'm not ashamed to say it, charity shops have been my main source to my wardrobe for years and also provided much needed last minute costumes on productions. Even as emergency clothing when I brought the wrong coat with me in the middle of winter (let's just say a felt coat and minus temperatures is not a good mix! Whoops!).
You can purchase some pretty cool stuff from charity shops. “What...a toby jug?" Bit more then a Toby Jug, but hey Toby Jugs are also pretty cool. In recent years I've purchased rare vinyl's - (David Bowie, Queen, Pink Floyd etc), brand new Doc Martens, ASOS clothing, Ted Baker perfume and it doesn't stop there!
As some who is unemployed, you have to find ways to make your money stretch as far as it will go; on food, clothing, travel and sometimes gifts. Which means you can't always go out and buy a £10 t-shirt.
But what can I buy?
Personally my favourite has been purchasing from 50p rails or the £1 bucket - Finding a brand new £45 David & Goliath jacket on a £1 rail was the best feeling ever. £2 converse all stars because they had a mark. And £3 M&S skirt which went for a original retail price of £25.
But what is it like to actually to work in a charity shop?
Pretty neat actually - sometimes you get first dips on a donation. I volunteered for eight months in a retail charity shop for Rainbows Hospice for Children & Young People - the shop didn't look like a charity shop, most of them don't, in fact most have been dressed to look like a boutique or your average high street shop.
I adored on a regular basis chatting to customers and people who have or currently use the charity.
What are the donations like?
Most used to be in pretty good condition, the highlight for any volunteer was at Christmas / January time because so much unwanted gifts were sent to us, such as; designer perfume (brand new and boxed), recently published books, recently released films and don't get me started on the heavenly donation piles of kids toys!
However if a sales assistant disapproved of the condition it went to someone who used to purchase unwanted goods and dispose of them correctly. Although I often loved rag, because it enabled me to purchase and repurpose jewellery to build my skills.
Which brings me on to why charity shops are better for the environment (sorry I'm going eco warrior on your butt) but it is so important:
Did you know that a charity shop are far more hygienic then your average high street retail? You see, before our products go out, they are cleaned and clothing is steamed. Charity shops have some pretty important regulations.
Did you know that more then 500,000 tonnes of textiles (clothing, bedding, towels - you name it) ends in landfill which means it takes years to degrade just like plastic (here comes the technical mathematical part which will make your brains go mushy).
Your average charity shop sells 95% of your donations and only 5% of is forwarded on to other charities or sent to be recycled!
From the 2016/2017 landfill tax at £84.4 per tonne of clothing - because of reusing and efficient recycling, charity shops saves landfill £27m per year!
And it doesn't stop there, on average, charity shops help reduce carbon emissions by about 6.8m tonnes per year! So you see, charity shops are pretty darn cool.
But recently something pretty awesome happened, I got to model to help promote clothing for Nottingham's specialist vintage and everything retro charity shop for Sue Ryder (on Goosegate, Hockley) and here are some of the amazing shots taken by photographer, Jake Howe at Hot Pink Bulb and stylist, Annasofie Moxon.
I'd love to know why you love charity shops? Or maybe you've been a previous volunteer with a charity - however charity shops have helped you or enabled your creativity - I'd love to hear them! Let me know down in the comments! And if you enjoyed this post, please free to share or leave a comment.