Thursday, 6 December 2007

The importance of Textile Recycling aka why I love buying vintage!

Recently I feel that 'vintage' has become a rather overused word in the UK fashion industry, so before I begin todays post, dear reader, please accept my apology for its prevelance!

I love to bag a 'vintage' bargain. My emphasise in this sentence (despite the deceptive inverted commas) is on the word bargain: which unfortunately means that I can't afford to shop in any of the specifically vintage boutiques popping up in towns and cities all over the UK. Enter then the humble charity shop. Cancer research, British heart foundation, Barnardos; nothing pleases me more than having a rummage through the bargain bins and digging out a 70s bangle, 80s leather shoulder bag (genuine!), or a rare 60s shift dress. And what's more, I never pay more than a fiver for anything. Well, a girl has her budgetary limits!

I didn't think Saturday mornings could get any better than an hour (or two) in the British Heart Foundation Store. Then I discovered TRAID. Yes, dotted all over our nations capital is a new kind of charity shop: Textile recycling for aid and International Development. Traid is a charity committed to protecting the environment and reducing world poverty by recycling and campaigning at home. Funds raised in the UK by TRAID through the collection and sale of reclaimed clothing and shoes help to divert waste from landfill and further sustainable development projects in some of the poorest regions of the world. For more information click here.

I love this store and I love this concept. Unlike other charity shops, the expert at TRAID scour through the donations they kindly receive and sort out the genuine designer or vintage jems and send them to the specific stores that deal with that merchandise. This means that at the same time as being an infinitely worthy cause, we fashionistas (aka poor students) get to pick up some expertly sorted beautiful vintage pieces at bargainalicious prices. And all without the guilt that we are killing the planet by generating more cotton, or that a Uzbeckistani child has worked 10 hours for 20p so that we can look good-Yes, i'm pointing the finger at you Arcadia group! (Click here for the relevant article) That's what I call a result!

And what's more (or yes, there's more!) some of the clothes you can pick up are truly amazing: infinitely more stylish and significantly cheaper than those you would pick up in a 'vintage' boutique. And if you need proof here it is; all the clothes in the following photos are taken from TRAID stores (moody pouts not included):

And yet further evidence just for you my humble reader is this photo duo of rather delicious treats I myself have picked up from TRAID, Kilburn branch (apologies for the hazy images-late night blogging does that to a girl!):

Exhibit a) Cream and brown leather shoulder bag

Exhibit b) Oversized paisley silk shirt with pussybow

So there you have it: vintage charity shopping ticks so many boxes it's untrue! You're saving money, contributing to a worthy cause, saving the environment by not creating more unneccesary waste, and looking original and unique. And there's nothing worse than that fresh from the Highstreet 'oh God she's wearing the same dress as me' moment. And that, friends, is why I love buying vintage. The End. x

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