Charity begins at home …

Cupar’s charity stores are re-opening. A younger member of CuparNow’s team (Martha Baldwin) took time out to visit three of the six with a mission to find new summer outfits with a budget of just £20. She is one of a growing number of teenagers who are turning their backs on ‘fast fashion’ from the big, online stores – and searching local charity stores to discover pre-loved clothing and accessories.  The following is an excerpt from her own Blog …

“Dad and I parked in the long stay (and free car park) in Cupar knowing we’d be a while in town. Both of us were quite hungry and we saw that Milly’s Kitchen was open! (By Boots in the middle of town) This was my first meal sitting inside a cafe in over 4 months which was so exciting.

I had a delicious pesto, mozzarella and tomato sandwich and dad enjoyed a bacon roll and we both had a coffee before we headed out to begin our ‘mission’.

So what is that mission? Well, I set myself a challenge to buy a £20 summer outfit where each item of the outfit came from a different charity shop.

Over the course of lockdown many people have been online shopping to prepare themselves for after the pandemic and also out of boredom. I’m not going to deny that I have also been doing the same thing but what I came to realise is that I don’t need to.

Many online shops are fast fashion stores which is the second most polluting industry on Earth. Fast fashion includes the use of cheap, toxic and textile dyes and the second largest polluter of clean water globally after agriculture.

Most fast fashion stores are online or have huge stores and chains around the country. Soon high street shopping won’t be a thing and local clothing stores will empty and close because they won’t have the money to keep up with the big, cheap, ‘fashionable’ stores. And I’m sure we’ve all heard the news about a recent fashion brand’s scandal … Anyway who wants to then spend 4 quid on shipping? Certainly not me!!!

There is however always a solution. I am 14 years old and of course want to keep up in the ‘fashion world’ especially in the summer months but I don’t have a spare £60 to spend.

I am on TikTok which is where a lot of fashion inspo comes from at the moment and I have noticed many people my age and older are beginning to buy thrifted clothing. There are a great many videos of girls (or boys) heading out with friends into charity shops of thrift shops and finding some gorgeous pieces of clothing. There are lots of videos of people explaining why fast fashion is bad and people are becoming to realise the damage of this so-called ‘globalisation solution’.

In the UK we are lucky enough to to have many a charity shop. In Cupar we are even luckier to have six of them which is where I set my challenge. I was looking for pieces of clothing that would make an outfit or two fit for a Scottish summer. I wanted to show what you can also do for only £20!

We began at Barnados where they have about 6 racks of clothing. With our masks on and sanitised hands, we began looking. Dad spotted a men’s shirt which included browns, blues and a white base colour which would go with jeans with a top underneath. We also saw a necklace and bracelet on the jewellery wall. Both of us agreed it would be sensible to put the items aside whilst we browse the other shops and were kindly allowed to leave them at the back of the shop.

Wearing the shirt and jewellery!
Details on the ‘beach’ shirt!

I was feeling happy and buzzing to continue. I had already found THREE things in the first shop.

Next we headed across the street to the Salvation Army where I have shopped before back in January. The Salvation Army has lots of different clothing items. The back of the shop has books, toys, kids clothes and accessories but the front is filled with racks of thrifted clothes. Dad and I decided we were now hunting for a pair of trousers/shorts/skirt and maybe a top of some sort to go underneath the shirt we had left aside at Barnados.

*I have officially decided to only buy jeans from charity shops now after that day.*

The top and jeans I bought from the Salvation Army!

They had a whole rack of wonderful jeans. Some very worn, some hardly worn and all very fashionable and affordable. I picked out two pairs. One was dark, flared and had glints of sparkle running through, as if someone had been wearing them in an art class. The pair I decided to go for were light blue, bootcut/flared and low waisted jeans. Very summery. Not to mention they were Dorothy Perkins jeans for £3.50! From the women’s rack of vest tops I spotted at pink patterned top which is incredibly ‘IN’ right now. The top is originally from Gap and I have seen similar styles worn by famous people so you can imagine my excitement. All in all I spent £5 at the Salvation Army and it most definitely won’t be the last time I shop there.

Before our last stop we went into Barnados to purchase the items we’d chosen on our first visit. Altogether the shirt and two pieces of jewellery were £9 so I had £6 left to spend and ALREADY had completed the challenge. I had a oversized shirt which can be worn on its own or with a vest top underneath, I had a new pair of jeans, a stylish new vest top and two new pieces of jewellery as the accessory.

After discussion with dad we decided to try and add one more thing and headed to the British Red Cross which looked like it had lots of clothing to look at. (Before I carry on the staff in all the charity shops we visited were incredibly friendly)

We spent quite a lot of time browsing in the Red Cross and without really knowing what we were looking for ended up buying another oversized shirt for £7. I had gone £1 over budget but it did not really matter as I had already completed the mission. Let me also mention that it was a Ralph Lauren shirt, in incredibly good condition and was in their top range of clothing!

The three ways I/you can choose to wear the Ralph Loren shirt!

Dad also bought something for himself. He loves loud shirts and the women working in the BRC asked if we liked bright tops and from the back brought out two brilliant ones. Dad straight away pointed at the red, flowery one and said: “I’ll be having that”.

So if you ever need the Cupar Now man, he’s the one walking round talking to all the businesses in a very loud, bright shirt! So that was the end of my summer clothing challenge. I completed it, much more easily than I thought I would. It made me realise how wonderful charity shops are and how many amazing items of clothing are right on my doorstep which I do not need to pay postage for. I love buying worn clothes as they have more of a meaning to them.

I hope I have opened your eyes to a new way of clothes shopping and how easy it is to walk into your local town, find the charity shops, buy an outfit for under £20, save the environment, support local businesses and STILL look stylish.

I just would like to let you know that previously mentioned that Cupar has 6 charity shops. I however only shopped in 3 this time around.

The British Heart Foundation reopens on the 27th of July and we just missed Caring for Cupar’s opening times. Next time I visit (for I plan to do the same thing in the autumn) I will shop at both!”

 

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