Barnardo’s is a charity shop that is very dear to my heart. It was the inspiration to start a pre-loved account on Instagram, dedicated to my love of charity shopping for pretty much everything in life! In fact, at the time of writing this, I have my newly adopted cat ‘Rainbow’ at my side, grooming herself, which is a comforting sign that she is getting less nervous in her new home. Whilst Rainbow was adopted via the RSPCA (another fantastic charity and shop), Barnardo’s has an equally worthy aim: to help vulnerable children in need.
My own love of charity shopping started as a teenager, some twenty years ago (time really is fleeting!). I was a lover of alternative music, and the world back then wasn’t set-up to provide an abundance of ‘fits’ for those who liked a more eclectic look. There was still ‘fast fashion’, albeit at a slower pace than the world of present day. Charity shops such as Barnardo’s provided “rock kids” like me an opportunity to put together outfits that were more counter-culture, less uniformed and less expensive than the high street (Primark had not quite entered our lives during this time).
Fast forward twenty years (and many style changes later), and in the past five years since relocating back to the UK from the south of Spain, I was thrust back into a world of endless opportunity when it came to putting my morals where my money is.
Barnardo’s became my ‘go to’ charity shop many times before or after work, as the Manchester location is stone’s throw from Piccadilly Train Station. I bought such a range of items from the store and noticed that it’s a great place to shop if you are a lover of popular brands such as Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing. With their headquarters being close by I believe, there were plenty of their samples passed on and in store.
Some of the ‘stand out’ items that I purchased were high quality kitchen wear from Marks and Spencer, which has lasted me until present day (over three years), Garnier Face Masks (these I did use a little quicker!), a stunning faux fur coat that gets complimented quite often, and a gorgeous jump-suit that can be worn daytime, or dressed up for the evening as I did recently.
It was on a more recent trip to Barnardo’s in Glossop, Derbyshire, that I left with bargains such as a linen jacket, also from Marks and Spencer, which cost me the pricey sum of £1! I also picked up some lovely summer hats, a unique-looking Armani Exchange jacket and a humorous trinket which perfectly displays my love-hate relationship with cooking! (I’m learning to love it more these days). Since recently relocating to South Manchester, I am very much looking forward to visiting my new local Barnardo’s store.
What I appreciate about charity finds more as an adult is not just the ‘hunt’ for a unique and one-of-a-kind item, although that’s always a driver; it’s knowing that I’m engaging in a small act of conscious behaviour that I hope benefits the world, as well as myself. Fast fashion might be fun fashion, but it’s not often fair fashion. Whilst I do still buy certain items new, I am mindful of keeping such purchases to a minimum.
In comparison, when you enter a store like Barnardo’s, whist you don’t know what you are going to find, what you should know is that in choosing to shop #secondhand you are helping to co-create a movement and a mindset. Your act of shopping this way showcases loud and proud the message that we all deserve #secondchances in life, and that one person’s ‘trash’ really is another’s treasure!
If you wish to follow my new account online, the handle is @charity_case_couture.
Want to share your top Barnardo’s finds with us and feature on The-Thrift? Comment below and we’ll get in touch.