Have you noticed that a lot of charity shops are now allocating a good portion of their display space to stocking vintage items? I’ve been in many charity shops recently that have dedicated a whole ‘department’ to vintage clothing, accessories and even retro homewares. Some shops that I’ve visited recently have looked more like dedicated vintage shops than a ‘normal’ charity shop! I’m really pleased that these stores are now making the most of the older items that they receive, realising the potential of an ancient wardrobe and getting a good price for items that would have previously been chucked straight in the rag bin.
I used to work in a charity shop (about 9 years ago), and in those days there wasn’t as much call for vintage clothing, especially in the small village where I worked. The older items weren’t in demand and anything that was too old to be resold was sent to be used in clothing projects abroad, or if it was in really poor condition, it was recycled as rags. Over the past few years, I’ve seen specialist vintage charity shops spring up (such as Oxfam Vintage) – stores dedicated to selling only vintage items and all of the other Oxfam stores would send their older donations to the one specialist charity shop. This was a great idea as it encouraged people who might not necessarily be charity shoppers to rummage through the vintage selection, and the shops were definitely styled as a fashion store rather than a charity shop. Although alongside this the prices of the second-hand goods went up too – not a bad thing for the charities, and it certainly makes sense to get the best price possible for a rare item – but not the best for a poor student (as I was at the time) being priced out shopping in these stores.
So now, I’m pleased to see that most of the charity shops I visit have a dedicated rail, or even whole section, of vintage items and I love rummaging through vintage homewares too because most of my kitchen is full of hand-me-downs from grandparents that I’m trying to match new items to. And as you know if you’ve seen my previous interiors blog posts, my living room is a retro haven and I’ve been searching the charity shops for vintage accessories. It’s very rare that I would go on a charity shopping trip and not come home with something special. For me, it’s especially nice to see previously unwanted items being sold on so that they can be appreciated by a new generation, make some money for charity and essentially, be kept out of landfill.