Hope Bailey, 18, used to be ’embarrassed’ going into charity shops.
She hid if she spotted someone she knew while out browsing with her mum, hoping no one would see her relying on second-hand finds.
Fed up of the stigma, Hope decided to break it.
She not only began proudly buying pre-owned pieces, but sharing her wardrobe online, in the hopes of encouraging other people to give charity shopping a go.
The now-influencer wants to prove that charity shops aren’t the ‘smelly’ places think, and to show just how stylish you can be with sustainable options – as well as just how much money you can save.
Hope, from Castlefield, Manchester, said: ‘I first got into it because I didn’t want to wear the same outfit twice when I started going to sixth form and you could wear your own clothes.
‘I wanted to stand out and not wear the same things as everyone else so the only option that was affordable was charity shops.
‘From shopping at charity shops I just got more into sustainable shopping and realised how bad the fast fashion industry is.
‘Pretty much all of my clothes are from charity shops, I very rarely will shop at a fast fashion brand unless it’s something I need like underwear and pyjamas.
‘People are surprised when I tell them I shop in charity shops – a lot of girls message me on Instagram and ask me to send them the links to the clothes I’m wearing and I have to say sorry I don’t have a link it’s from a charity shop.
‘I’ve had a few comments on TikTok saying I’m going to buy the shops out but if you went into their storerooms you’d see they’re just overwhelmed with donations and they have to send it to the landfill if it doesn’t sell.’
The teenager visits charity shops every other day and heads to car boot sales twice a month to dig out the best treasures.
She notes that not only can you find great quality pre-owned classics, but that big retailers such as PrettyLittleThing and Zara sometimes make direct donations to charity stores – meaning you can get brand new trend-led items too (just at a lower cost).
Hope wants to keep the chain of rewearing going, so if she knows she won’t wear something again, she either donates the items to friends or to other charity shops for someone else to find and enjoy.
‘I think a lot of people still have the perception of charity shops 20 years ago, especially older generations,’ she says.
‘But they’re not like how they used to be – they won’t sell anything that’s damaged or got stains on so it’s all really good quality.’
Despite bagging good quality designer items, including vintage Burberry and Coach bags and purses, a Dior T-shirt and Mulberry belt, the student claims to have saved hundreds of pounds a month by shopping second hand.
Swapping fast fashion for vintage has also meant that Hope can buy more clothes while spending less and extending the life of worn clothes, which could otherwise be heading to a landfill.
Hope said: ‘When I was in high school I would buy eight things from an online fast fashion business for about £200 and now I can get 50 if not more things for about £40 from charity shops, so I’m saving hundreds a month.
‘I’m quite passionate about my outfits so I buy quite a bit but it could be even cheaper for other people.
‘I would encourage more people to shop in charity shops especially if you want to dress outside of the box because when you see people in the same pattern or style, that’s not their own style, that’s just a fast fashion microtrend.
‘If you want to have your own style it’s better to shop somewhere where everyone won’t have the item.’
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