I’ve always had a penchant for vintage clothes as opposed to their high street counterparts as I feel vintage clothing is more soulful, better-made and comes with a sense of mystery and intrigue… My journey to sustainable fashion happened by chance; I always gravitated towards vintage, but as time went on I realised that by second hand shopping allowed me to make a massive difference and greatly reduce my carbon footprint.
Setting myself sustainable challenges
From that revelation onwards I started to set myself “sustainable challenges” i.e: buying a whole outfit for an upcoming wedding second hand. Working in Rathmines provided me with the perfect stomping ground to master the art of charity shopping. Rathmines is bursting with soul. A melting pot of all types of people, full of vibrancy and character. The same can be said for the local charity shops, of which there are plenty.
My favourites are NCBI (not because I’m a brand ambassador, I swear!) and Oxfam. NCBI has a large selection of vintage pieces for next to nothing, literally… I’m talking chicken fillet roll type change for gorgeous authentic leather fringed waistcoats from the 70’s. Divine!
Bursting with amazing one-off pieces perfect for people with a strong sense of style not afraid to make a splash; NCBI is the one. The team of volunteers always make me feel welcome and don’t mind me trying on nearly every single item in the shop on… daily.
Oxfam feels like a glamorous unisex boutique. Under the helm of Store Manager Barth Bialek (Rathmines most stylish man, IMO) Oxfam recently packed up and moved down the road to the new number of 232 Rathmines Road Lower. The new space feels bright and spacious and beautifully merchandised. If you’re looking for designer menswear, Oxfam is your man.
I’ve been extremely lucky to cop some INSANE bargains when it comes to designer gear in Oxfam Rathmines. If you’re climbing the corporate ladder and wish to do so in a stylish yet sustainable way, Oxfam always has a massive range of designer suits for next to nothing.
VDP & Enable Ireland
Georges St is also home to some fabulous charity shops, with my particular favourites being VDP and Enable Ireland. Vincent’s always have a great selection of vintage pieces, slightly pricier than what you might find further out of town yet pale in comparison with actual vintage stores.
People always ask me “What’s your secret?” when it comes to charity shopping, and the truth is there really is none and while I have my favourites, there is no ‘best charity shop’. Luck plays a massive part which in my opinion only adds to the fun! If I had to compile a list of top tips they would be as follows:
1) Consistency is key
Never walk by a charity shop without a browse. You may leave empty handed but you may also leave with the item of your dreams. Are you willing to take that chance?
2) Labels AREN’T for clothes
Particularly when it comes to vintage pieces in charity shops, I’ve found some of my most beloved pieces in the ‘womens’ section. If you feel good in it, own it!
3) Try before you buy
Sizing isn’t always accurate. If you pick up an item, fall in love with it only to discover it says ‘M’ on the tag and you usually wear an ‘XL’, try it on – it could be perfect!
4) HAVE FUN!
Simple as. High Street fast fashion retail experiences can often seem so clinical and boring. Copy-and-paste displays of this week’s ‘trendy’ garms can often lead to a mindless shopping experience. Compare this to charity shops which are fun, colourful, eclectic, and alway keep you on your toes.
Enjoy the experience as much as you can and relish the chance to style yourself with pieces old and new, full of soul and stories! With charity shopping you can rest assured that you’re doing your bit for mother earth, while having fun and looking gorgeous!
So don’t delay, get on your way, and oh behbeh, sustainably slayyyyyy