New St Luke's Hospice mega charity shop opens at The Moor Sheffield bringing pre-loved, vintage and AW23 fashion trends
Sign of the times it surely is, but the charity shop is no longer the humble maiden aunt of the mainstream fashion and retail sector. Find a great charity shop and, as all ages of UK shopper are finding, it will quickly become THE place to go for new season trends, classic pieces, vintage treasures, and for those little shopping moments of joy that happen when we alight on something that we did not set out to buy, but fall in love with anyway.
The sector is on a high as increasing numbers of shoppers turn to charity shops for economical, ethical and sustainable ways of buying what they need and want. During the last three months of 2022, there was a 9.1 per increase in the average number of transactions per day in charity shops compared to the same period in 2021, according to research from the Charity Retail Association, a trend that looks set to continue.
The modern charity shop doesn’t even look like a charity shop. Earlier this month, St Luke’s Hospice opened a “concept store” at The Moor in the city centre. Its cool and contemporary design ensures it looks right at home alongside neighbouring brands including Glass Onion, H&M, Monki and Urban Outfitters.
It has been fitted out using reclaimed, donated, recycled and upcycled materials and everything has been created to appeal to younger shoppers looking for pre-loved and retro items, as well as to climate-conscious and cash-savvy shoppers of all ages, with video walls, personal shoppers and especially curated collections.
St Luke’s supports people aged 18 and above with terminal illnesses, and their families and loved ones, with medical and holistic care from diagnosis and beyond. Faye Wagstaffe (@charity_shop_gal), who witnessed the charity’s work first-hand, cut the new shop ribbon.
Sustainability champion Faye worked as an architect until she took over the children’s nursery run by her mother, Lynne, who sadly died five years ago. “St Luke’s is a charity that has always been very close to my heart,” she says.
“I am a Sheffield girl. My Mum was in St Luke’s when she passed away. I can’t do set volunteering as I have young children but this is a way I can promote St Luke’s in my own way.
“I have been shopping sustainably and not buying new things for five years now. When I started buying secondhand clothes, it was to be more environmental, after watching documentaries on the fast fashion industry being huge polluters, about garment workers and the way they are treated. I didn’t want to be part of that culture any more. I wanted my money to go on something that I would enjoy wearing but also the end point was that it would go towards helping other people.”
Faye began by challenging herself to a year of not buying new - and never went back. “The best finds have been vintage pieces, also designer - I bought a beautiful pair of Coach sunglasses in a charity shop. But the pieces I cherish the most are the vintage pieces because they have so much history behind them and you do tend to think, who owned this before me, where did they take this bag?
Faye’s charity fashion shopping tips include:
“Keep going back. You are not going to find everything you want in a single visit, but the charity shops have such a big turnover and are replenishing their stock all the time, so keep searching. It does take a little bit of extra time and effort but when you do find those gems, it makes it all the better.
“Shop all the sections - don’t just look in the women’s section or your specific sizes. Shop in the men’s section.
“For children, I suggest clothes swaps. People tend to do them to replenish their own wardrobe. But in charity shops, you do tend to find some pretty dresses that have probably only been worn once for a special occasion
“Rather than trends, shopping in charity shops is more about finding your unique style. Experiment and focus on the clothes that you like rather than trying to find things that are on-trend.”
For those who are in search of on-trend looks, shop manager Barley Taylor says there are oversized men’s suits, co-ords, denim, and ‘90s sportswear, preppy-styles and boho-chic all currently in-store, adding: “If you see something you like, don’t deliberate, as that item is unlikely to be there when you come back - if you like it someone else will too.” Read more Yorkshire charity shopping tips here.
Marie Egerton, head of retail at St Luke’s, says that the rise of the environmentally-conscious shopper, and a greater awareness of fast fashion, have driven people to seek out one-of-a-kind pre-loved items. “By the very nature of the charity shop concept of turning pre-loved items into new loved items, St Luke’s is able to support the eco-fashion conscious, while generating income to support the community of Sheffield,” she says.
“St Luke’s has always known that charity shop shopping is the best kind of shopping, and a great way to support a great cause. As the rise in demand for St Luke’s services has increased, supporting 1,800 patients and their families every year, the cost of providing this support increases. A great way to do this is via our retail chain, and the new shop on The Moor will be a great addition in helping St Luke’s achieve the £9m a year it needs to generate to continue providing this crucial care.
“The shop on The Moor is a completely new type of concept shop and its location in the city centre really lends itself to offering a wide range of diversity in products compared to the traditional type of charity shop.”
Everyone can help by donating stock, donating time and by shopping: As Faye says: “Charity shops are an absolute treasure trove so you will find something that you love.”
See @stlukesthemoor on Instagram and TikTok.