A charity ‘department store’ opened in a North London shopping center is the first in the UK to have donated clothing supplied by 10 different organisations.
The UK’s first multi-charity store, Charity Super.Mkt, has opened at Brent Cross Shopping Centre.
The North London pop-up shop will be open for a month until February 27 as the nation calls for cheaper and more sustainable shopping amid the cost of living crisis.
The shop sells donated second-hand clothes from 10 well-known UK charities, such as Cancer Research and Barnardo’s.
The UK’s first multi-charity store, Charity Super.Mkt, has opened at Brent Cross Shopping Center in North London
The first pop-up store of its kind will be open to shoppers for a month until February 27
The other charities offering their donations include Age UK, All Aboard, Emmaus, Havens Hospice, SCT, Marie Curie, TRAID and Shelter.
The idea behind the store was born Wayne Hemingway, founder of the fashion brand Red or Dead, and Maria Chenoweth, the CEO of TRAID (Textile Reuse and International Development).
Mrs. Chenoweth told the BBC the pair were motivated to set up the project because charity shops “didn’t get the recognition they deserved.”
The CEO believed this was because sustainable second-hand clothing was being ‘hijacked’ by more established companies to attract socially conscious shoppers.
Mr Hemingway believes the rise in popularity in thrift stores is due to younger generations wanting to ‘supplement their income’
Mr Hemingway added that another inclination to open the pop-up shop was to combat the ‘old-fashioned’ mentality that High Street thrift shops were a ‘sign of decline’.
“If you look at the demographics of people who shop at thrift stores, it’s the people who are at the forefront of thinking,” he said.
Both Ms Chenoweth and Mr Hemingway encouraged the idea that the assumptions about charity shopping should be rejected – this is because 65% of people in the UK wear second-hand clothes at least once a week.
Ms Chenoweth argued that thrift stores are starting to become the norm for shoppers these days as she says some thrift store businesses have seen a 20 percent increase in sales post-pandemic.
Her co-founder added that this increase was due to younger generations looking for it ‘supplement their income’, as many buy to resell online, becoming a useful ‘sideline’ for ‘enterprising’ young Londoners.
He thinks this is a win-win situation for young people who work to pay the rent and the charities they buy from.
Charity stores are starting to become the norm for shoppers these days as people discover the beautiful clothes on offer
However, his business partner claimed that the rising demand for sustainable fashion was not just a result of the current economy, but ‘primarily driven’ by shoppers’ concerns about the environment.
Two enthusiastic shoppers, Isaac, 24, and Lauren, 22, told the BBC this was their main incentive to visit charity shops.
The couple agreed that buying previously used clothes feels better because they can give back to charity and find high-quality clothes at the same time.
Another customer, Anita, was interested in visiting the store while shopping in Brent Cross as it offered something different from the everyday high street thrift stores.
Shoppers shared how they enjoy shopping at thrift stores because it gives them a chance to give back to those in need
The co-founders hope to see Charity Super.Mkt in cities across the UK
Fabia from Brighton, a big fan of sustainable clothing and dressed head-to-toe in clothes from thrift shops, loved the new pop-up shop because ‘there’s more choice’.
Fabia added that with the closure of larger clothing brands on local high streets, there has been a gap in the market for these types of stores.
Opened in a former Topshop store, the space has been vacant for two years until now.
The shop has recycled accessories and some pendants and plastic bags left behind by Sir Philip Green’s former fashion empire.
Ms. Chenoweth and Mr. Hemingway have announced that they have big ambitions for Charity Super.Mkt and hope to enter the store cities in the United Kingdom.