One thing I’ve always loved to do is visiting thrift shops, flea markets and vintage boutiques to collect the most beautiful pearls. Meanwhile, I could had a department store filled with clothing, accessories and furniture. In retrospect, I sometimes think that I should have done that, because I’ve always dreamed of having my own shop. Even since I was a kid I already pretended that my room was a store by hanging clothes on hangers on the wall and changing the interior weekly.
On the other hand, I also really enjoyed the periods later when I bought certain items, wore it a couple of times (or not) and then passed it on to friends or family. It still gives me a really good feeling if I can make another person happy with a unique item of good quality. And on the other hand, for new treasures found, I had to make space as well. And in order to invest in vintage and second-hand clothing, I also regularly sold items online. Something I continued after our move to London. You can call it a sustainable circular process.
The first time I saw the many charity thrift shops that are strikingly present in London’s range of shops, I immediately became enthusiastic. Even in Chiswick in West London where I live, there are already eight of these shops in one street. You can imagine that it’s very tempting to enter a thrift shop on the way to the supermarket. Who knows, you will walk outside with a pick of the day. Luckily I don’t need hours to dig through the racks. Born with the sensors, trained over the years.
You can say that London is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to shop for charity. Perhaps because of a declining disposable income or because of the increasing opposition of fast fashion, the popularity of charity stores is greater than ever. Every day, hundreds of people visit these stores with the same goal: to score an item at a reasonable price. Which not only makes you happy, but also another, since part of the turnover goes to a good charity. But where do you go for the best bargains? And in which stores do you most likely find designer and vintage treasures? In order to help you fish out the unique but also good quality items, I have listed the best thrift shops in Chiswick.
I take you by the hand, where we start at Mind, an initiative that looks for people with mental health problems who deserve support and respect and need the right care. The foundation campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. The shop is a bit small and the racks are very close together, so sometimes it can cause a bit of a stuffy situation. Not necessarily decorated for the real vintage lover, although they do have a little rack with some selected vintage and designer pieces, but to be honest, I think the most clothes are a bit rubbish. But if you have a good search you can still find a nice blouse or sweater from Uniqlo or Cos for just £6. A nice shop with friendly staff.
Where to find: 392a Chiswick High Road
Opening times: Mon till Sat 10am – 6pm / Sun 10am – 5pm
Right next door you’ll find the famous London thrift shop Cancer Research (1), as the name says, this foundation is committed to the research on cancer. Chiswick has two branches, both are very different from each other. The one next to Mind is very focused on vintage. The lady with strikingly purple hair, a body warmer of fur and big pink glasses on her nose exudes what the range has to offer. A walking mannequin, and that is meant to be positive. You can see that she does it with a lot of care and love. Walk in especially if you love vintage treasures and classic items from designers such as Louboutin, Dior, Burberry and Miu Miu. The second branch (2) just down the street supports the same charity, but has a different product range. More street-fashion with clothes from H&M, Zara and M&S with occasional a lost vintage pearl. Suitable for a broad target group.
Where to find: 1) 392 Chiswick High Road 2) 278 Chiswick High Road
Open: 1) Mon till Sat 9am – 5:30pm / Sun 9am – 5pm / 2) Mon, Tue, Wed & Sat 9:30am – 6pm / Thur & Fri 9:30 am – 7pm / Sun 11am – 5pm
A recently opened thrift shop (1) in Chiswick is the Royal Trinity Hospice, the shops of Trinity are not only known for their quality products, but also for the modern decoration and presentation of the store. Where most of the thrift shops often look a bit dusty and messy, the Trinity shop seems to have come straight across from a magazine. The store has vintage accessories, women’s and men’s clothing and top designer brands such as Moschino, Prada, Alexander McQueen and Gucci. Meanwhile, Chiswick has also opened a second branch on the Turnham Green Terrace (2)
Where to find: 1) 318 Chiswick High Road 2) 25 Turnham Green Terrace
Open: 1&2) Mon till Sat 10am – 6pm / Sun 11am – 5pm
A bit further behind a big glass facade, you’ll find the thrift shop Octavia. This foundation supports people affected by poor health, social isolation, low income or unemployment in central and west London. At Octavia you will find a variety of top pieces, from designer items to vintage classics, but also high street fashion. Along the walls you’ll find antiques, accessories and a select number of shoes. The store is spacious and well organized, a pleasant environment to sniff around.
Where to find: 294 Chiswick High Road
Opening hours: Mon till Sat 10am – 5pm / Sun 12pm
In a side street of the Chiswick High Road, the Devonshire Road, you’ll find Shooting Star Chase. A charity that supports families with sick babies and young people up to 21 years of age. With a range of nurses, they offer practical, emotional and medical care during the process from diagnosis to the end of life and mourning. The store is a bit hidden, but still worth to browse through the rails. No exclusive brands and high end fashion, but good quality clothing for men, women and children. You’ll also find a large selection of toys, curiosities and books here.
Where to find: 1a Devonshire Road
Opening times: Tue till Sat 10am – 6pm / Mon & Sun closed
Halfway the Chiswick High Road you can visit the small thrift shop of Oxfam. A well-known foundation that contributes to people being able to drink clean water and have decent sanitation. They help people get food and the essential things they need to survive and ensure that the most vulnerable are safely protected from harm. The Oxfam shop on the High Road (1) may not be very noticeable, but it’s certainly worth it to walk inside. They offer a mix of high street fashion, sporadically some designer items and vintage finds and a small selection of children’s clothing, toys and curiosities. I think that the mannequins in the shop window always carry the best items. I always keep an eye on them when I pass by. A second store of Oxfam is just around the corner, at the Turnham Green Terrace (2) just in front of the metro station, here you can only find books.
Where to find: 1) 190 Chiswick High Road 2) 90 Turnham Green Terrace
Open: 1) Mon till Sat 10am – 6pm / Sun 12pm – 4pm / 2) Mon till Sat 10am – 6pm / Sun 12pm – 5pm
The last one we visit on the Chiswick High Road is the Mary’s Living and Giving Shop. A store where retail expert Mary Portas collaborates with Save the Children on a number of high-end charity stores in London to promote an ethical, luxurious experience for bargain hunters. When you enter the Mary’s Living & Giving Shop for Save the Children, you walk to one of the more expensive second-hand boutiques. It’s a pleasant shopping experience with striking decorations and a composite collection of clothing from top brands to high street fashion.
Where to find: 152 Chiswick High Road
Opening times: Mon & Sun 12pm – 4pm / Tue till Sat 10am – 6pm
At the Turnham Green Terrace, where you can find the Oxfam book shop and the Royal Trinity Hospice Turnham Green, as mentioned earlier, there are also a number of other charity stores that certainly shouldn’t be miss in the list. For example Fara Kids, where even my daughter of three always likes to have a look inside. This charity shop offers affordable options for parents who are looking for clothes, books and toys for children of all ages. The proceeds are intended for vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people in Romania. Mostly I donate clothing, instead of buying them here. By donating stuff you automatically contribute, read more about it here.
Where to find: 40 Turnham Green Terrace
Open: Mon till Sun 10am – 6pm
In the same street is a second Fara Charity Shop, but focused on clothing for men and women. The proceeds go to the same charity as Fara Kids: helping vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people in Romania. The store is nicely decorated, not as trendy as the Royal Trinity Hospice perhaps, but with the right appearance as a boutique. Clearly arranged, on color, selected designer pieces high in view on the wall, enough walking space and spacious fitting rooms. The rails are not be packed with high-end fashion and unique designer pieces, but you can score a well maintained item from Zara, COS or & Other Stories just between £6 and £8.
Where to find: 78 Turnham Green Terrace
Open: mon till fri 10 am – 7pm / sun 10am – 6pm
At the end of the street you’ll find Shelter, an initiative that works for millions of people who struggle every year with poor housing or homelessness. The foundation offers advice, support and legal services and campaigns to ensure that as few people as possible become dependent on the help they provide. All Shelter charity stores have a wide range of second-hand clothes for men, women and children, including one-off vintage items, as well as books, CDs, DVDs toys. A single location offers furniture. The quality of the clothing is good, the shops are also beautifully decorated, the price is adjusted accordingly.
Where to find: 82 Turnham Green Terrace
Open: Mon 10am – Sat 6pm / Sun 11am – 5pm
Sometimes you’re lucky and you walk back home with two bags full of treasures of clothing and you’ve contributed to a few nice charities. But there are also days you might find nothing at all. It happens to me regularly. It’s the art of second-hand treasure hunting. It’s not a desperate search, not a must, but a hobby and a form of relaxation.
Between the many clothes that is replenished daily, there is something for everyone. It’s nice to see that all these stores are also super accessible to a wide audience and that so many people are visiting them. Whether you’re a vintage enthusiast, treasure hunter, or having a tight in cash. By buying clothes at the London charity shops, we not only feel happy with some new items but also by contributing to a better sustainable world.
For more information about the London Charities, click here.
1. Mind Charity Shop
2. Cancer Research Shop (1)
3. Cancer Research Shop (2)
4. Royal Trinity Hospice Chiswick
5. Octavia Foundation
6. Shooting Star Chase
8. Mary’s Living & Giving Shop
9. Royal Trinity Hospice Turnham green
10. Fara Kids
11. Fara Charity Shop
12. Oxfam Book Shop