Once upon a time if you bought your clothes from a charity shop you kept it very quiet. Today people openly talk about it, even opening Instagram accounts to show as many people as possible their buys.
Once upon a time if you bought your clothes from a charity shop it was out of financial necessity. Today people from all income brackets buy from charity shops and for a variety of reasons. Some are looking for designer bargains, some like the thrill of the chase for that perfect piece and others are buying not to wear the clothes themselves but to use them for business, reselling via various means.
Yes, the world of the charity shop has certainly changed over time. Now, many of the larger ones are run like any other retailers with budgets and weekly targets to meet. Some have looked to become more ‘boutique’, others have remained as they were. There are specialist off shoots of solely vintage or wedding dresses and I have not yet mentioned the rise of charity shopping via the internet. Oxfam has its online hub not far from where I live and they even have a runway show at London Fashion Week. This last point in itself a major indication of just how far charity shopping has moved on to become mainstream.
Moving away from its ‘dead peoples clothes’ stigma there is an increasing interest and ‘coolness’ about charity shop finds. The need to find alternatives to the detrimental fast fashion industry has influenced this along with a growing desire to move away from the identikit style of the high street.
I have volunteered in a local charity shop for the last four years. Starting off at two hours and eventually becoming just about full time! I recently left to pursue my own enterprise.
Consequently I have an insight into the workings of a charity shop from ‘behind the door’ so to speak. I loved my time there, worked with some lovely ladies who are now true friends and met some lovely customers. We used to joke that you could write a book about what went on and that you could not make it up if you tried!
In these blog posts I will be focusing on all aspects of the ever changing world of charity shopping, and maybe, just maybe I will tell you some of the stories from ‘behind the door’.