Slow fashion is a movement that is steadily growing in momentum in an era where fast fashion is the norm and planned obsolescence is a trademark of high-street brands. I have always been intrigued by this idea, as well as infuriated by how clothes from brands like Primark fall apart, and as a fan of vintage stores and unique pieces, I certainly agree that it’s the way forward. However, aside from online stores and quaint vintage boutiques, there are also many other routes to making more ethical fashion choices; in fact, seeking out new clothes elsewhere may prove to be far cheaper.
Usually when you hear the words ‘charity shop’, images are conjured of a musty little shop filled with moth-eaten clothes that nobody would dare lay a finger on, but this stigma is far from accurate- in fact, I would advise you ignore the snobbery and not let it deter you. Yes, there are plenty of grandma-worthy pieces, but with a little patience you can find something that it not only an absolute bargain but also unique too. As well as the financial benefit (in my local Barnardos all products are £2.99 and below), you can often find hidden treasures as well as benefiting a worthy cause.
One tip I have is to take a piece out of context- remember to envisage the look as a whole, as well as trying it on; something that may look lacklustre on a hanger may fit perfectly, or coordinate with pieces already in your wardrobe. Just think- is it something that you would buy if you saw a perfectly styled photograph of it on ASOS or in a ‘proper’ vintage store, or if it was worn by your favourite blogger? Of course none of us are perfect when it comes to making more ethical or sustainable choices, and we are all guilty of buying clothes that we’ve only worn on a handful of occasions, but we can all take small steps, as well as encouraging the brands we know and love to take a more socially responsible approach. Alternatively, if you’re not compelled to find something to wear from a thrift store or charity shop, donate!
Another piece of advice is to check back regularly. I know from personal experience the frustration of scouring the rails at a vintage store and not being able to find anything, but you would be surprised just how regularly the stock in charity shops is replaced and put on to the shop floor. It is sometimes a matter of patience and more often luck, but if you are persistent the searching is definitely worth it. Now, for those of you who may find yourselves in Northampton, here are my recommendations for the best places to shop:
Most Marvellous Emporium
Situated on the Kettering Road not far from Northampton’s town centre, Most Marvellous is without a doubt my favourite place to search for vintage or pre-loved finds. Filled with vintage clothes from sellers such as Nutshell Vintage, as well as hundreds upon hundreds of other thrifty finds from clothing to crockery, I always visit as often as I can. One of my past finds was a gorgeous vintage camera, and I really recommend you take a visit and have a root around!
The Vintage Retreat Northampton
I’ve yet to pay a visit to the Vintage Retreat, but I am definitely eager to do so! This store also isn’t far from the town centre and is just off St. Andrew’s Road, and it’s really a hidden treasure. They sell a real eclectic mix of products, from antiques and trinkets to clothing and gifts, and there’s also a tea-room to visit while you’re looking. They also hold a lot of events, such as the Midsummer Vintage Fair coming up on the 8th of July from 10am.
I’ve just recently started volunteering as a retail assistant at the Weston Favell Barnardo’s store, and that has admittedly served as the inspiration for writing this post- really going to absolutely any charity shop is an ideal opportunity to score some cheap and surprisingly beautiful pieces, as well as benefiting a worthy cause. You could even consider volunteering yourself, or making a donation.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy yourself searching for those hidden gems!