The best charity shops for finding fashion gems

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  • Practicing circular fashion has never been so high on the agenda, with more and more people turning to clothing rental stores (even for their wedding dresses) in a bit to save money and be more sustainable.

    Another great option if you’re strapped for cash are charity shops. While they used to have a bid of a bad rep for old clothes, you can often find some barely used designer or high end clothes at a fraction of the cost, so it’s well worth a trip to your local, or some of them even have a small selection to shop online.

    With many shops having closed during lockdown and therefore not able to accept donations, chances are they will have had a big drop off of clothes, so now’s a good time to shop.

    Plus, you’re donating money to a great cause, whether that’s Cancer Research or the British Heart Foundation. With that in mind, here is a guide to the best fashion charity shops, and don’t forget to read our charity shopping hacks guide for some great pointers on how to bag the best fashion bargains.

    TRAID Westbourne Grove

    Where: 61 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 4UA (020 7221 5448) and online on Depop

    What: Although there are TRAID shops all around London, the Westbourne Grove brand is known for the designer and high rend cast-offs of its well-heeled clientèle, so it’s definitely worth a rummage. They also have a Depop store for those who can’t travel. TRAID aims to put a stop to throwaway fashion by diverting clothes from landfill to stores, and proceeds go to global projects improving conditions and working practices in the textile industry.

    The British Heart Foundation

    Where: In stores nationwide and online on its eBay store

    What: Although there are many great British Heart Foundation stores, such as Reigate, Balham and Oxford where you can find some high end fashion and furniture, the online shop has some great rare gems too, including (at time of writing) a Burberry blazer for £25, a Barbour jacket for £39 and a Jenny Packham N.1 dress for £12. Proceeds go towards funding research cures and treatments for heart and circulatory diseases.

    Oxfam

    Where: Oxfam online

    What: There are so many great finds on the Oxfam online store, and they’ve got a huge sale on at the moment meaning you can grab even more of a bargain. It’s great for high street finds you might have missed from Zara and Topshop, but also for more affordable styles from JOSEPH, Whistles, Jigsaw, Ted Baker and REISS. If you’re getting married, there are also plenty of wedding dresses, from vintage styles to new ones with tags still on. Proceeds go towards ending poverty worldwide.

    Mary’s Living and Giving Primrose Hill

    Where: 109 Regents Park Road, NW1 8UR (020 7586 9966) – temporarily closed due to COVID

    What: Statement fashion pieces and high end finds, donated by the Primrose Hill crew. The East Dulwich and Bristol stores are also said to be great for high end bargains. Proceeds go to Save The Children around the world.

    Retromania London

    Where: 6 Upper Tachbrook Street Victoria, SW1V 1SH (020 7630 7406)

    What:  Part of the FARA Charity (which helps vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people in Romania), this speciality shop focuses on everything a vintage lover might want, including hats, bags, scarves, dresses, menswear and memorabilia as well as iconic designer items.

    Cancer Research UK

    Where: In 600 stores worldwide, as well as in its online stores on eBay, Depop and Vestiaire Collective.

    What: Depending on what you’re after, all three online stores are well stocked. The eBay one is great for high street finds from the likes of Whistles, Ghost and Karen Millen, while the Depop and Vestiaire shops are a treasure trove of designer items. Currently on Vestiaire are a lustworthy Celine bag, Manolo Blahnik heels and a Dolce & Gabbana jacket. Proceeds go towards funding research to beat cancer.

    Barnardo’s

    Where: Online on eBay

    What: Although you can shop literally anything on its eBay store, from homeware to electricals and toys, the clothing is where it’s at. There are Dr Marten’s boots, Cos and Calvin Klein coats and an L.K.Bennett dress amongst the hundreds of items you can shop online now. Proceeds go towards helping vulnerable children, young people and families in the UK.

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