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Thrifty fashion blogger who only wears second-hand clothes will buy all her Christmas presents from charity shops

·6-min read

A thrifty fashion blogger is planning a second-hand Christmas by buying all her presents from charity shops – saving around £560 compared to the average spend as well as helping to save the planet.

While Iso Neville, 24, spends around £200 each year on festive gifts, the average spend per adult in the UK is £760, according to Atomik Research, and not only does she love rooting out preloved bargains, but she is delighted that her money is going to charity, too.

Head of social media for an art agency, Iso, of London Bridge, south east London, who has been hitting vintage stores since her school days, said: “As a teen, normal high street clothing shops were too far away for me, without getting a lift from my parents.”

Iso shares her tips on finding treasures in second-hand shops. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Iso shares her tips on finding treasures in second-hand shops. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “Instead, I would my browse the charity shops near home and quickly found there were plenty of treasures there for sale at a bargain price.

“Now that I’m older, I don’t see a need to shop at fast fashion stores when second-hand shops have such great quality items.”

Since going 100 per cent second-hand in 2019 – saving money, avoiding waste and helping the environment, as well as supporting charities – Iso has not looked back.

Iso went 100 percent second-hand in 2019. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Iso went 100 percent second-hand in 2019. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She said: “I was already buying a lot of things second-hand, but when I heard a shocking statistic – that we have enough clothes on earth right now to clothe the next six generations – that made me want to cut out new clothes for good.

“Sustainability is very important to me and there are very good quality clothes in charity shops, which outlive your average clothes in a fast fashion shop.”

Now Iso’s thrifty shopping ways have been applied to present buying.

  1. Search regularly - pop into your local shop twice a month or so as new stock is updated daily.

  2. Browse online - Barnardo's has a great website - and Thrift+ allows you to shop second-hand and choose which charity to donate the proceeds to.

  3. Find the premium section - most charity shops have a designated section for better quality items.

  4. Buy books - second-hand books are incredibly cheap and are just as good as their brand-new counterparts.

  5. Look closely - some items might be more jumbled than in fast fashion stores, so double check sections that aren’t your size. You might find a treasure that’s been hidden in the wrong place!

She said: “Friends and family know how much I believe in charity shops, so they now expect all the presents I buy to be second-hand.

“No one has ever complained to me, because it’s the thought that counts and, after all, you would never even know the items weren’t new!”

Frequently complimented on her amazing finds, she also hopes to lift the stigma attached to buying things second-hand.

Iso says the environment is also a major factor for her thrifty fashion. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Iso says the environment is also a major factor for her thrifty fashion. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She said: “There’s definitely a kind of taboo around second-hand shopping, but it’s just not true that preloved items are trash.

“Since lockdown, it seems a lot of people in the UK have been having a clear out, because there’s so much choice at the moment in charity shops.

“You can really find some amazing stuff and I’ve even been able to furnish my home with things I’ve bought at Barnardo’s.”

Iso regularly visits her local charity shops to browse their new stock. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Iso regularly visits her local charity shops to browse their new stock. (Collect/PA Real Life)

And this year, Iso intends to shop thriftily for the Christmas gifts.

She said: “I have a friend who recently got into tennis, so I found a pack of brand-new Wimbledon tennis balls and pins in a local charity shop, which I’ll give to her this Christmas.

“A good top tip for thrifty gift giving is to get a plant from the garden centre and buy a plant pot from a charity shop to go with it.”

Iso saves around £560 compared to the average spend on Christmas presents. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Iso saves around £560 compared to the average spend on Christmas presents. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “No one would ever know it’s second-hand and they often have very quirky and interesting plant pots for sale.

“On average, I save at least 50 per cent on a second-hand item compared to buying it brand new.”

According to a survey conducted by children’s charity Barnardo’s, in partnership with Atomik Research, two thirds of people in the UK say they will consider buying their Christmas presents from charity shops this year.

Iso says her family and friends now expect the presents she buys to be second-hand. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Iso says her family and friends now expect the presents she buys to be second-hand. (Collect/PA Real Life)

And four fifths of adults said thoughtfulness is the key to a perfect gift, while sustainability is also important for a quarter of people surveyed.

Iso said: “I’m very environmentally conscious and Christmas can be quite a wasteful time of year, but it doesn’t have to be.

“I use my social media to kind of spread that message and to make sure that if I’m posting a photo, people are aware that everything I’m wearing is second-hand.”

  1. Chloe logo sock boots - cost £90, originally £1400, saving her £1310

  2. Burberry trench coat - cost £150, originally around £1500, saving her £1350

  3. Louis Vuitton Noé handbag - cost £300, originally £1250, saving her £950

  4. Aquazzura Wild Thing sandals - cost £100, originally £510, saving her £410

  5. Saint Laurent Anja heels - cost £150, originally £520, saving her £370

She added: “A lot of people will have tighter purse strings this Christmas after the effects of the pandemic, so charity shopping is an excellent way to save some extra cash.”

Managing Director of Barnardo’s Trading, Roy Clark, said: “The Christmas period is always an exciting time and it’s great to see that so many people are looking to charity shops for inspiration.

“By shopping at Barnardo’s in a store or online you can find fantastic gifts for friends and family, and you will also be helping us to continue providing vital services to vulnerable children, young people, parents and carers at Christmas time and all year round.”

– Last year more than 358,000 children, young people, parents and carers were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 800 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes. For more information visit www.barnardos.org.uk

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