Hannah and I met while working in Kings Cross. Although she now works for another charity, we still spend lots of our spare time together and apart rummaging through charity shops in every corner of London, as well as getting creative with photoshoots – though she is much more photogenic than I am! She has such a cool and unique style that’s mostly sustainably sourced, so I’ve nabbed a bit of her time to share her top tips and inspiration with you!
Hey Han, I know you’re a big advocate for shopping second-hand. Is this something that you’ve always been into and why if so?
Yes, I have always been into charity shopping. Well to be honest, I don’t know if you’d say ‘into it’ – more a necessity. When I was young my family were quite poor, so we’d always shop in charity shops. I guess it’s ingrained in me now to find a good bargain.
I have noticed the older I’ve got the reason to shop in charity shops has slightly changed for me, it went from finding a bargain to caring more about the environmental impact that fast fashion has on the planet; you’re reducing the need for fast fashion, you can find unique pieces and you can grab a great bargain. What’s not to like about that?!
Having worked at 2 charity shops, what advice would you give to people who are new to shopping there?
- Don’t always look at clothing that is your size, vintage sizing is very different to nowadays sizing, so what might say a size 16 is probably more of a size 12/14.
- I love ‘menswear’ so always check out every section in a charity shop, you never know what you might find!
- I find a lot of the time shoppers only look where their eyeline is, but I always look up on the high shelves or sometimes stuff is really lowdown, you don’t know what you might miss.
Those are great tips! You have such a cool and unique style – where do you get your inspiration?
Ahh thanks! I like to dress a bit differently. I definitely get a lot of inspiration from streetwear, but I try to mix it up with a bit of grunge and a bit of minimalism. When I was in college me and my friends always wore chunky boots/trainers, it was ‘our thing’ and I still do this, it’s kind of weirdly nostalgic to me. Pinterest, Instagram and magazines are definitely where I go for a bit of inspo. Honestly, I think if you like something you should just wear it, you don’t have to stick to a certain style, mix it up and be a bit unique. I recently bought a short really puffy dress, if you know me you know I don’t wear dresses that often, but I’ll accessorise something to make it more ‘me’.
What is your favourite second-hand outfit?
Ooh this is tricky! Because being in lockdown and all I still need my second-hand fix so I’ve spent hours scouring eBay. Recently I bought an amazing two piece, with eyes and flowers on it. It’s vintage and I’ve never heard of the brand, but something drew me to it. It also says it’s a size 14 and I’m normally a 10/12 but it fits me perfectly! I can’t wait for the better weather to come so I can actually wear it, with a crossbody bag and chunky black boots of course! Also, it was only a fiver!
That’s such a bargain; I’m still on the lookout for the perfect two-piece! Have you ever regretted giving away/donating anything?
Hmmm I guess I probably have but nothing I can remember; I always believe that there’s so many amazing pieces out there that you’re always going to find something else great! And if you don’t wear/use something then it’s better off with someone that’ll really love it!
Totally agree! I know you’re also great at sewing and mending things – how did you learn?
Honestly, I just taught myself, I’ve struggled a lot to find clothes that fit my body so I’ve always had to buy a bigger size and take in the waist, or take down the hem. I guess I had to learn to get clothes to fit me. I also always see things and think this would be great as something else or if I slightly changed it, it would look better. I guess I like to add my own take on things and make them more unique, more ‘me’.
Are there any sustainable fashion advocates that you’d recommend following on Instagram?
There are so many great slow fashion advocates out there! I have definitely seen a massive surge in them recently, because everyone seems to be a bit more conscious about what they’re buying. It’s great working in charity shops because a lot of the time you get to meet them and build good relationships with them. I would recommend following: @mia.or.mimi @becksturneruk and @annyahdeanna.
Which are your favourite charity shops/locations for charity shopping to visit in London?
Oh, in London there are so many! We are lucky really. I really like doing the Crouch End, Muswell Hill charity shops, they seem to get some great donations! I also really like the Camden ones and Second Chance in Archway is really good and the prices are still decent! Queen is my charity shopping buddy, she’s great because she makes you question if you really need something, which I think everyone needs to do more of.
North London really has such a great selection! Besides charity shops, where else would you recommend for shopping sustainably?
I think Instagram is a great way of finding independent businesses nowadays, as well as following sustainable influencers, they’re always recommending small businesses. I’d also recommend Etsy and of course good ol’ eBay, you have got to do a good search but that’s what I love about it, makes you feel like you’ve earned your purchase. A lot of people like Depop but I’m not as keen on it because I think sometimes people charge so much for things on there!
I’m a big fan of Etsy too! Finally, as we’re in the third lockdown, how are you keeping yourself busy?
Honestly this has definitely been the hardest lockdown for me, and I think for a lot of people tbh. I’ve struggled with my health and I guess with it being winter you can’t just go and sit in a park for hours like the first lockdown. But to get through it I’ve been going for a lot of walks, chilling with my cats, doing some artwork, chatting to my friends even if it’s not irl and I’ve been cooking a lot. I love to cook and bake and when I was working, I almost forgot this as I was too busy. I think a good thing to come out of lockdown is that it makes you really appreciate having time to do the simple things that you enjoy, and I’m definitely going to try and carry this on when I go back to work. You’ve got to always make time for the things you enjoy and make time for yourself!
A big thank you to Hannah for sharing her tips and inspo on shopping secondhand!
Go and give her a follow on Instagram (@ _bushbabyyy_) – her grid is so aesthetically pleasing 😉