For my last two Oxfam Fashion posts I’ve looked at the range of reasons for why we might choose to buy clothes second-hand rather than new. It sounds simple enough, but often there is more than one reason for walking into a charity shop. Historically, cost has been a big factor. Charity shops were seen not only as a way to generate income for the charity concerned, but also as a way of providing low cost goods to local communities. As I wrote about back in July, many of us are motivated by getting a bargain!
Last month I wrote about the second key reason cited for buying stuff second-hand – politics and ethics (based on studies conducted to date). In today’s society where we are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability, the desire to reuse and recycle has become paramount to some. What’s more, tax dodging scandals and horrific sweatshop stories has made some consumers keen to
avoid the big players of the fashion industry all together.
The third key reason for engaging in second-hand consumption is pretty simple, it’s just fun! Whether you have your fingers crossed for a late night eBay bargain, you spot a designer skirt in great nic at a charity shop, or a morning traipsing around a car boot suddenly all becomes worth it when you spot a cute bag at a silly price. Second-hand shopping is fun because there is an element of treasure hunting aligned to it and who doesn’t enjoy a treasure hunt?
Going into a charity shop is totally different to going into a high street retailer because you don’t know what you’re going to find. You’re taking a punt and sometimes you’ll leave with a smile on your face, and sometimes you won’t. Things like car boot sales and swishing parties are also really social. You can chat to people about their stuff – there’s no better ice-breaker than sharing anecdotes about unwanted gifts from an ex/Grandma/neighbour!
There’s also an element of fancy dress about the whole thing. Charity shops are relaxed environments and they want you to rummage! You can have great fun doing a round of the local charity shops with your friends. I’d recommend checking out the toys, books and erm, video cassettes for lots of ‘I used to have that!’ giggles. And the sales assistants in charity shops are brilliant aren’t they?! Much nicer than snooty sales assistants in regular shops. Yes, second-hand shopping is super fun.