African Women Voices

The Busy Girl Buys Beauty

Coming from a small town near Rome, my idea of second-hand shop is quite different from the shops in the UK.

In my memories, a second-hand clothes shop is more like a storage room – with no windows, stuffed with worn out sweaters and faded jeans. Items are sold at one or two euro, if only clothes weren’t that trashed.

So far in the UK it is all a different story, for charity shops come with few characteristics I started to appreciate:


Clothes come from every fashion season. A 2009-winter sweater can be as appalling as an 2010-autumn. This avoids to be stuck in the sucking world of fashion tendencies. Yes, the shops are nothing like huge lightened shopping malls but the range of choice compensate that loss. You spend more time looking for the right size of a unique blouse than for the perfect colour of the old-‘70s-dated leggings.


Charity shops are as cheap as only Primark can be. Just with one difference: money goes out for good causes. Only in Cardiff, on one street, are parked: British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research, Shaw Trust and Oxfam.


Industries produce, we buy and consume. More production is related to an increase of material exploited. And our consumption leads to overfilled closets, under filled wallets and unsustainable behaviour. Buying second-hand prevents that from happening. As you are actually recycling.

As obvious as it might sound, spending money is not essential. For one it is possible to buy the same or a better skirt/jumper/trousers, for less. Secondly, we might realise we don’t need everything we buy.

I’m happy to share a trick I’ve been using in the last couple of years to fight the awful phenomenon of closet over filling. For every clothe bought one has to go. It might go on charity or just in the bin. In the end, I don’t (shouldn’t) have more than I need. In alternative to the bin, you can arm yourself with needle, thread and fantasy and get into the eco-fashion.

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