There are many excellent reasons to enjoy second-hand clothes shopping! It’s much cheaper than buying new clothes and you can find amazing bargains and really high quality pieces.
It is also a great way to tackle clothes waste - by buying pieces that have already had a life before and may have one again once you are finished with them. We currently we dispose of 110,000 tonnes of waste every year in Ireland. You can also give your money to worthwhile charities instead of companies who often have questionable (at best!) environmental and labour practices.
While second-hand clothes shopping won’t solve the systemic unsustainability of the fashion industry, it can be a fun and creative way to disengage personally from it. Consider it a moment of mindfulness - opting out of supporting an exploitative industry and gathering your strength to take on the system (in some decent, comfy clothes!).
My top tips (from someone with zero fashion credentials so please ignore at will!):
- Avoid the very fast fashion brands. Second-hand clothes made with low quality materials may already be out of shape before they come to you or will go out of shape quickly!
- Shops that categorise by clothes size are the best. They save you finding pieces you really like only to find you can’t fit a single thigh into them!
- Wash as soon as you get home - that may seem obvious but sometimes the slightly musty smell can be a little off-putting but you will feel much better in them when fresh!
- Good quality pieces are always welcome in the thrift cycle. So you can wear a piece a couple of times and donate back to the shop for someone else to find. So long as it has kept its quality, it will be of service to someone else.
- Wash your clothes before donating - the best way to ensure they find a good and appreciative home in the future is to present them at their best.
- Don’t donate pieces that are really worn, out of shape and ragged - you are just putting the responsibility to dispose of them on someone else instead of doing it yourself!
- Don’t justify buying new fast fashion on the grounds you will donate it afterwards - those pieces depreciate in quality so quickly that they will still end up in landfill very soon! This isn’t to shame anyone for buying cheap fast fashion - there are a lot of reasons (price, convenience, dress codes etc!) why we do but brands telling us its sustainable if we donate afterwards is just untrue!
The North Inner City has some great charity/second hand shops. Check out the map here to find your nearest one: https://maps.app.goo.gl/bhny1cvvK7kgpd9o8 (I included some bonus ones in Phibsboro too!)
The full list (that I know of!) is below. My favs tend to be the Vincent’s shops - both on Sean McDermott Street and Dorset Street. I find them enjoyable to browse, they have decent changing rooms and they tend to sort things by size and I have picked up some nice bits there. All round 10/10 shopping experiences!
- Vincent’s Sean McDermott Street, SVP House, Sean Mac Dermott Street Lower
- SVP Vincent’s Shop Dorset St, 59 Dorset Street Lower
- Irish Cancer Society charity shop, 156 Capel St
- NCBI Capel Street, 161 Capel St
- Casa Charity Shop, 26 Capel St
- Enable Ireland Charity Shop, 25 Capel St
- Five Lamps Charity Shop - Sue Ryder Ireland, 5 N Strand Rd
- Oxfam Talbot Street, 6 Talbot St
- Macro Charity Shop, 8 King St N (Supporting the Marco Community Resource Centre)
- Down Syndrome Ireland Charity Shop, GPO Arcade, 27 Henry St
- Re:Newed for NCBI, 51 Henry Street
- Ritzy Rags Charity Shop, 25 Bolton St (supporting Friends of the Elderly)
Am I missing any? Let me know! Got any better tips for shoppers? Hit me up!