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Shopping sustainably: Bristol's go-to second-hand gems

Lara discusses the dangers of fast fashion and the ethics of charity shopping while introducing us to some of Bristol's best second-hand clothing stores.

By Lara Lippin

The Croft// Lara discusses the dangers of fast fashion and the ethics of charity shopping while introducing us to some of Bristol's best second-hand clothing stores.  

Sustainability is crucial in protecting the planet and the workers who make the clothes we wear and love. The term ‘sustainable fashion’ has been growing in popularity over recent years due to the increased awareness of the fashion industry’s contributing role in global warming.

Daniety Rodgers, a journalist for Dazed Magazine, recently reported that a clothing dumpsite comprised of 60,000 tonnes of wasted clothing in the Atacama Desert can now be seen from space. Many ‘Fast Fashion’ brands, such as Zara and Shein, mass produce cheap clothing to keep up with the ever-changing trends we see spreading across social media. The rapid rate of these passing trends results in consumers buying something they will only wear a few times until the next best thing comes along. Alongside mass production, many of these brands tend to underpay their workers to maintain a profit, subjecting them to inhumane working conditions.

Although ‘Fast Fashion’ is extremely harmful to the planet, it is important to remember that you can still overconsume sustainable fashion. Overconsuming sustainable fashion simply because it is trendy, leads to the gentrification of charity shops and online sites such as Depop. Depop has been targeted by sellers looking to make a profit, who will buy lots of cheap items in bulk and then sell these items for quadruple the price, defeating the point of shopping sustainably. By making sustainable fashion unaffordable for lower-income consumers, more people are forced to buy from fast fashion brands as it's within their budget. It is important to remember that shopping second-hand is the only way that many people can afford to get new and necessary items, especially during the cost-of-living crisis. The next time you see that t-shirt you’re unsure about, consider whether you would wear it more than 30 times. If not, leave it for a better home!

©Georg Lovric

Although sustainability and the ethics around it can be tricky to navigate, by shopping sustainably we can support our local communities. Here are a few of my favourite sustainable hidden gems around Bristol that do just that…

  • Treasure Stokes Croft is full of affordable second-hand clothing and handmade items created by the women who work and volunteer at the shop. Their website explains that the money they raise goes into a ‘Treasure Chest Fund’. People and projects in the Stokes Croft area can apply for the fund, feeding resources into the local community. They also have a weekly women’s support group that meets for tea on Thursdays from 2-4 p.m. each week!
  • Clifton Village is the place to go if you are seeking more designer pieces. The Oxfam on Regent Street has lots of good quality clothing and homewear items. Although it can be slightly more expensive than other second-hand shops, the quality of their items tends to give you more wear in the long run, saving you from buying twice!
  • Brandon Trust Charity Shop on Cotham Hill is another great place to visit. They support children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and autism.
  • Just up the road is Mind, a charity shop that raises awareness and funds for mental health.
©Georg Lovric

Featured image: Georg Lovric

Copy Editor: Honey Ryder

How will you shop sustainably in Bristol?