Resale Therapy: Charities Reinvent Old Topshop to Take on Depop and eBay | Retail business

Jhere’s a DJ playing funky tunes, colorful ice creams and even more colorful outfits, from animal print coats to a sequin jumpsuit at the latest opening in north London’s Brent Cross shopping centre.

The former Topshop store, empty since the chain closed two years ago, has been filled not with another fast fashion name, but with second-hand clothes sold to raise money for charities such as Shelter, Barnardo’s, Cancer Research UK, Emmaüs and Traid.

Ten charities have come together to create the new concept: Charity.Super.Mkt is a pre-loved department store, tapping into the vintage fashion trend and aiming to fight well-funded business competition.

They recycled shop fittings, hangers and even some of the plastic bags left behind by Sir Philip Green’s former fashion empire when he took office in 2020, to create the vibrant pop-up.

The store, which will be open for at least a month, aims to help change the perception of charity shopping as the rise of shopping sites such as Depop and Vinted inspires young people to look beyond fast fashion.

Interest in more sustainable ways of dressing and the rising cost of living have fueled a boom in commerce for charities and online sellers.

Charity Super.Mkt co-founders Wayne Hemingway and Maria Chenoweth.
Charity Super.Mkt’s co-founders Wayne Hemingway and Maria Chenoweth. Photography: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian

“It’s a huge market and we’re doing it because it’s what we believe in,” says Wayne Hemingway, the former Red or Dead designer who helped bring the project to fruition.

“We believe in the circular economy and the good book. If you spend here, it won’t go to someone who will make a profit and take it abroad tax-free.

Maria Chenoweth, Managing Director of Traid who co-founded the project, says: “This is the first time that charities have come together at this level. It needs to be a new way of doing business and… be a major competitor against people doing bad things.

Chenoweth and Hemingway persuaded charities to work together to grab a bigger share of the second-hand market, which powers shopping sites such as eBay and Depop (owned by the craft retail group Etsy) and is considered by traditional retailers, Primark and Asda.

Shoppers browse goods at Charity.Super.Mkt at Brent Cross shopping center in North West London
Shoppers browse goods from Charity.Super.Mkt at Brent Cross shopping center in London. Photography: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian

In the UK, the clothing resale market grew by 149% between 2016 and 2022 and is expected to grow by 67.5% between 2022 and 2026, with menswear being the fastest growing sector, according to analysts from GlobalData.

Charity shops saw an 11 per cent rise in sales in the three months to the end of September, according to the Charity Retail Association, while Oxfam said sales soared 40 per cent as Christmas approached. that shoppers were turning to their local high street for enduring gifts.

Charity.Super.Mkt at Brent Cross shopping center in North West London
Charity.Super.Mkt at Brent Cross shopping center in London. Photography: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian

A household name for many years now, eBay has recently stepped up its marketing with sponsorship of ITV reality show Love Island, a slot previously dominated by fast fashion brands such as I Saw It First. Entrants wore second-hand outfits, chosen by celebrity designers, and in the winter series, they will be able to wear eBay-authenticated second-hand sneakers. Next month, the brand will sponsor an Oxfam show during London Fashion Week.

Kirsty Keoghan, global head of fashion at eBay, says the partnership with Love Island has resulted in a 1,600% increase in searches for pre-loved fashion on the site. “People are trying to make more conscious decisions about how they consume,” she says.

The trend has been spurred by new ideas — such as coach cleaning and brand verification services — and the cost-of-living crisis straining available cash, Keoghan says, as people have realized that they could get ‘high quality items at a great price’.

Local councils are often keen to drive charity shops off their main streets, Hemingway says, seeing them as a mark of failure. She added: “They are in the land of peekaboo clouds. They should want more because it’s the right direction in how people consume.

Shelter is one of 10 charities teaming up to launch Charity.Super.Mkt pop-ups.
Shelter is one of 10 charities teaming up to launch Charity.Super.Mkt pop-ups. Photography: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian

He says rent-free space in a large, well-known shopping center such as Brent Cross could help “change hearts and minds” as it would bring new shoppers to the center and give existing visitors something different to browse.

The group has attracted interest from across the country, as owners look for ways to fill empty department stores, and Hemingway says the group is considering whether they could open permanent outlets together or something more. like a “rock tour” with big flashy pop-ups. appearing in cities to create a big event.

Back in Brent Cross, as social media influencers roam the tracks of Charity.Super.Mkt, snapping photos amid the throngs of opening night visitors, Cancer Research UK’s Nick Mountain looks very pleased. “Sustainability is the last thing on the high street,” he says. “We’re big on social media and we’ve seen it grow and grow, and the customers are getting younger and younger.”


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button