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  • Stefan Howarth

Tips to help us Shop Smarter

For the last year or so I have really tried to shop in a more sustainable and responsible way, passing on cheaply made fast fashion, and choosing to carefully curate a wardrobe of ethically sourced quality pieces. It’s all about shopping smart for the future, not just for our bank balance, but also for a sustainable fashion industry protecting jobs and our homegrown businesses, to protect our environment and to safeguard the exploitation of human kind, all impacted by our cheap fast fashion and wasteful ways. I have written this blog post to pass on some hints and tips to help you make better fashion choices, save on how much you spend on clothing as well as helping you bag some amazing pieces that you will love and treasure forever.

Local Charity Shops

I think this is an obvious and commonly given tip, but for some reason charity shop shopping still has a stigma attached to it. Instead of shopping the global brands that sell cheaply at bulk, I often hit my local charity shops, especially on a leisurely afternoon when I have time to stroll around and enjoy the process f hunting for a fashion gem. Not only is this a fun and relaxing thing to do, you can often find some high quality clothes at bargain prices. You also get the knowledge that you are recycling these items into a new life which is saving on landfill waste all while donating small sums of money to local charities that in this COVID19 world really need every penny they can get.


A️sos Marketplace This is a new find for me, and also the reason I have more vintage Christian Dior jackets now than I had 3 weeks ago. Asos Marketplace was launched in 2010 with just 20 sellers and since then have become the leading online platform for independent brands and vintage boutiques. Having scoured the globe for hot new labels, today they're proud to represent over 800 boutiques from all four corners of the globe – Belarus to Bulgaria, Australia to Austria. Our offering will only continue to grow as we explore emerging markets. One of my favourite boutiques on the platform is Royal Trinity Hospice London. An online store selling preloved items to help funds for the charity. It was from here I sourced my recent Dior Haul and I am forever thankful. Fantastic quality items curated and sold at amazing prices that aids an impressive charity. I get a bargain and items I will treasure, the charity raises money and we stop quality items going to landfill, its all about shopping smarter and in a more careful and sustainable way.

Designer Exchange

My trusty old favourite, Designer Exchange has been hooking me up for years. All those Christian Dior saddle bags you have seen and coveted on my Instagram? From Designer Exchange. Those Louis Vuitton Pochette's in the Multicolour print that I adore and treasure? You guessed it, sourced from Designer Exchange, they really have opened up a new world of luxury to me and helped me build a wardrobe of pieces I will love & adore forever.


Designer Exchange combines a love of designer fashion and awareness of environmental issues without compromising the luxury client experience. Inspired by their desires to slow fashion down and promote sustainability, the team behind Designer Exchange has successfully built a platform where it’s safe, quick and easy to buy, sell or exchange designer clothing, shoes and accessories, supporting sustainability and forgetting fast fashion.

The Designer Exchange model is unique due to the vast collection of desirable items waiting to be re-loved. In-store and online you’ll find more than 5,000 unique and authentic designer items from over 100 different brands ranging from designers such as Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton to everyday fashion house favourites from Prada, Celine and Gucci. Some items can be found with up to 85% off the retail - so why pay more? Buy preloved, make a difference to the planet and save some money.

Designer exchange can also help you sell items you no longer love, they are the only company to always offer instant and upfront payment for your items and you can sleep happy that your item will go to a good home. A brand I would definitely recommend.


eBay

When I have spoke to friends I have found that some people love an eBay find, and some just do not enjoy the process. However, I am definitely an eBay fan. Not only do I use it myself to sell pieces that are not right for me, giving them a new lease of life, but I scroll the site as a past time to hunt for hidden treasure, and yes you really can get some bargains still, from designer pieces to high-street favourites. The key to buying designer pieces is being able to authenticate items yourself, so a little knowledge is needed.

Shush at the Wellington, London

Shush at the Wellington is a store I found through word of mouth on Instagram, and they have become a brand that I check almost weekly in the hope of bagging a pre-loved or vintage gem. They are one of London's top luxury consignment stores with a shop at The Wellington in London, and a website for online shopping. They buy and sell a huge range of authentic designer goods and I have previously used them to sell an 80's Chanel jacket for me, and I have purchased a few goodies online to add to my collection. They offer some really good finds from the big names in luxury fashion at great prices, and they also offer options for payment at checkout to help spread the cost of more pricey items which I love. I have always enjoyed dealing with them and I would definitely recommend following them on Instagram as they always post their new in items. Be warned, it may cause you to make a fabulous new purchase, but I am sure you will thank me later!


Pre-Loved Kilo

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with PreLoved Kilo, and not only have I written several blog posts about them previously, I’ve also featured them heavily on my social media, constantly wearing looks that I managed to find at their sales. Why? Because they source the most amazing stock and sell it at an equally amazing price, in short, they simply are amazing!


The Pre-loved Kilo Sale is an event that travels across the county, hosting at two different locations every weekend! The concept of the sale is simple, they supply racks upon racks of pre-loved or vintage clothing and you simply pay for what you have chosen by weight, at £15 per kilo. You get given a clear bag as you enter to fill up with whatever items you fancy. The atmosphere is usually buzzed with people happily hunting for hidden treasure around the room. I am always amazed at the amount of stock they have available, from denim to dresses, lots of menswear as well as women’s wear, plus accessories such as jewellery, sunglasses and bags are available. In our pre-covid days hordes of people attended so the stock soon depleted, however the friendly staff were on hand restocking the racks with fresh garments throughout the day, and one day after we kick covid, I hope those days return.

You may have been to vintage fairs, or clothing sales before, but I’m sure you’ve never experienced anything like the fun and fashionable PreLoved Kilo sale. The first reason these sales standout amongst others is due to the variety of stock they have available. They literally hold pieces for every style, from every genre of fashion for every size of person, so no matter who you are, your style or size you will be able to find something to love. They’re also super friendly and fun, with staff happily gossiping as they replenish the stock and helping find any specific pieces of clothing you’re looking for. PreLoved Kilo also offer a place to try your finds on to make sure they’re just right for you, with mirrors on hand around the room. I also want to note that despite some of the items being vintage, all the pieces are in fantastic condition, and before they get sold PreLoved Kilo ensure they’re of high quality, that they’re unique, and they get laundered so they’re fresh for purchase. Follow them on Instagram for more details and information on when they will return to our cities for some fashion fun and happy hunting.


Vestiaire Collective

This is a brand that I bring to you with caution, so I will keep it brief. Vestiaire Collective is an online luxury resale site that has gown into a global operation, think of it as the eBay for Chanel. You can buy and sell on the platform, and once an item is purchased it goes to be authenticated before it reaches the customer. I have shopped on the site once and my experience was good, they have hundreds of thousands of items in all price points and conditions. The reason I say shop with caution is that I have heard stories of unhappy customers, poor quality items and bad customer service, now are these to be listened to or are they an urban myth? Well my one experience was good, and I have since carried on looking at the site for that new killer item to add to my much loved and curated collection. So for you, it maybe worth a look, but I will say, as I have a very cautious eye, some of if the items do look in poor condition, so like eBay, do your research, attempt to authenticate yourself before you buy, ask questions and simply just shop smart!


Farfetch

Farfetch is a global platform for luxury fashion, connecting creators, curators and consumers. They have an online store selling the usual new season designer goodies at their usual high prices, however, they also stock a huge selection of preowned designer goodies from all the major fashion houses. They're a good little tip if you are browsing for something special on a Sunday afternoon, however one comment I must stress is some of the designer resale items are vastly overpriced! So please do your research and shop carefully, as the site does have some amazing gems and amazing prices ready to be bagged!

Now after giving you the places I shop and moaning that we all need to stop buying things we do not need, and to stop letting high-street chains take advantage of us, and exploiting workers and our planets precious resources, I have to be honest: Sometimes, like we all do, we circum back to the high-street and purchase the odd thing we can't resist. For me, its usually a killer sky-high heel that's on sale or a cheaply made accessory that I suddenly "cannot live without". It happens, we are all human, but if we take some steps to reduce this happening and simply THINK about where we are shopping, what we are buying, and the impact the garment you want may have had on the industry, we will be a step closer to a better world, and also a better closet!

Remember, it’s 2021 and it’s time we shopped smart!



© 2014 to present by Stefan Howarth for HOWSTE, unless otherwise stated. This site also adheres to the GDPR regulations.

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