Ellen Corrigan checks out how two popular charity shops are not just surviving but thriving in these challenging times
IT COULD be argued that charity shops were once overlooked as places for castoff clothing, throwaway toys and general bric-a-brac.
However, recent times have seen a major revival in second-hand stores as the concept of vintage and retro style grows more popular. Loud abstract shirts, shell jackets and poodle skirts have crept back into modern fashion and charity shops are eager to meet the demand.
Additionally, issues regarding fast-fashion and sustainability have only strengthened the resurrection of such stores. According to World Vision Ireland and the Irish Environmental Network, textiles are the fourth largest cause of environmental pressure, with 73 per cent of all textiles being dumped in landfill or going to incineration. Now, more than ever, people want affordable fashion without the added carbon footprint.
The founder of the To Children With Love charity, Debbie Deegan, runs two charity shops in Fairview and Portmarnock along with a dedicated team of volunteers. The With Love stores sell a mixture of pre-loved designer and high-street clothes and accessories, with labels ranging from Zara and Karen Millen to Alexander McQueen and Moschino. The store holds a treasure trove of items worthy of a catwalk.
Debbie explains that attitudes towards buying second-hand have vastly changed as people have realised the economic and environmental benefits, highlighting how “serious gems” can be found in charity shops.
“We are very lucky in that people like Mary Kennedy, RTÉ presenters and other glamorous celebrities pass us their pre-loved clothes, so everything we sell is a certain standard,” Debbie explains.
“We put huge effort into making our shops among the prettiest charity shops in the country, our stock is painstakingly chosen, and our customers appreciate that.”
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