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High Street Giant Topshop are huge supporters of British and Worldwide manufacturing.
Topshop are undoubtedly one of the UK’s most famous fashion brands, that even has it’s own subculture ‘the Topshop Girl.’ They hold a place between designer and high street style, and their items are favoured by many celebrities.
Topshop are known for being British and being a representation of true British style, this helps them attract a huge international fan base that love what the brand stand for. With stores in Australia and America they even fly the flag for us Brits abroad.
The high street chain is also a big supporter of British manufacturing. Their Made in Britain collection has created many sell out pieces such as coloured midi dresses and they have also brought back 90s fashion with British made jelly shoes and knitted beanie hats. “As a British brand, we feel that it is important…
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Garment manufacturing is global. But the rules that protect workers are not, creating a race to the bottom amongst poor countries aiming to attract foreign investment with the lowest wages and flimsiest safety standards. In the wake of recent tragedies and protests in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Haiti, it’s time for a global minimum wage, argues Tansy E. Hoskins.
This week, Caleb Wheeler-Robinson looks at the perks of buying second hand….
“This week’s theme for the hockey club social is geriatrics and pharmacists? Let’s see what the charity shops have got.” We’ve all been there; faced with the task of making yourself look like an animal/celebrity/foodstuff we tend to go for two options: impressively realistic or downright ridiculous. The humble charity shop lends itself equally well to both approaches. But being the holy grail of fancy dress isn’t all charity shops are good for. There are also more ethical reasons to shop at your local Oxfam.
Let’s start with the most obvious of the beneficiaries: charities. The sector in the UK recently took £1 BN in a single financial year. That’s £250 million in net (and un-taxed) profit for UK charities alone. The shops form an essential income revenue for their parent charities, with organisations like the British Heart Foundation managing a yearly revenue of over £30M. It helps you appreciate your new-to-you vinyl, dog-eared book or salad servers knowing that the money you spent has gone on to help others. Clothes also tend to feel better when you wear them knowing you paid only £13 for a 100% wool double breasted jacket. Sure it was made in West Germany (dating it as pre-1990) but it still looks as smart as ever. Call it vintage if you must.
When Henry Ford started producing his famous Model T car in the early 20th Century, he made it that the workers in his factory could afford to buy more than before, to produce more than before and to travel further than before. With this social shift began the onset of mass consumerism and now we use more than ever. Fashions are changing faster and people are replacing their old clothes, books and possessions quicker than before. It is estimated that of the goods that flow through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use 6 months after sale.
The nature of production has also changed. Rather than producing a garment 30, 60, 80 or even 100 miles from where it will be bought, producers are turning to the cheap wages of Asia to cut costs, produce cheaper clothes and make it easier to replace what we already have. Each of these factors plays a role in driving up the carbon footprint of all goods, but clothes especially. When you buy that woolen cable-knit jumper from your local Cancer Research shop or that cotton shirt from Banardo’s, not only do you make a contribution to charity, but you also don’t buy something new. Less cotton has to be picked, fewer sheep have to be sheared (or even exist!), the clothes have to travel less distance. Each kilogramme of clothes donated to charity shops saves 4 kilogrammes of carbon emissions. Shopping in charity shops helps to keep these goods and materials in circulation, meaning lower emissions as well as a clear conscience.
So why do I choose to wear some dead bloke’s old clothes than brand spanking new ones? Sure, the ethical reasons play a significant part in my decision to buy in charity shops. And the super cheap prices help – where else can you get a Tommy Hilfiger tweed jacket for €12 (1/20th of the new price), or a sterling silver fountain pen for £5 (£200+ new), or pure silk ties, of the neck and bow varieties, for £3 a go? But the main reason I shop second hand is not to support charities or because of the super cheap prices, or even because my father used to send me and my siblings into town with a couple of quid to spend in charity shops (attention parents: a cheap way to entertain your kids for a few hours and to donate to charity). The main reason I choose to spend hours rummaging through old-man smelling coats, horrible shirts from the 90s (what were the designers thinking?!) and people’s old cutlery is because, as sad as it sounds, I enjoy the thrill of the chase. The chance that you could come across your next winter coat, a designer blazer, the perfect pair of cufflinks or just a really comfortable jumper keeps me returning to the same shops, hoping that special item will be there next time.
Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If Albert was right, then I’m crazy about charity shopping. Be it simply wanting to get that “vintage look”, reducing your carbon footprint, donating to charity or simply for the thrill of the chase, the reasons for including the charity shops in your next trip to the high street are manyfold, so go forth and rummage!