Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thrifters Around the World: Miss P from the UK, Part II

Thrifters Around The World is a new series where I interview passionate thrifters across the Globe. Today is part II of my interview with Miss P from The United Kingdom. (Read the first interview here.)

Are there many dumpster divers and curb-side shoppers in your area and beyond?

This is one practice where that famous “British reserve” kicks in I think. It’s not widespread yet here in the UK, and not something I’ve ever done myself. (Not that I wouldn’t. It’s just I’ve never come across a skip with anything interesting poking out of it!)

Is there a large thrift and craft culture in the UK?

The craft culture in the UK is very well established with some traditional crafts having been practiced for hundreds and hundreds of years. Upcycling and repurposing is emerging as a craft in it’s own right, and rightly so, as it combines many traditional crafts in new and inspiring ways. It’s an area that I’m increasingly interested in. Particularly upcycled fashion and furniture. Love it.

 What are thrift stores like in the UK?

Charity shops in the UK are as rich in their variety as they are in the stock they sell. Some are barely recognisable as selling donated secondhand goods for charity and are more like vintage boutiques. Some are like indoor flea markets where you have to really rummage to find treasure! It all depends on the size of the charity operating it. Whether it is part of a larger national chain of charity shops or a local independent charity.

In my experience the best bargains are to be found in the independents, especially in more rural locations. The larger chains tend to be savvy to emerging trends in fashion and collectables and this is reflected in national pricing strategies. Larger town centre shops have a higher footfall so competition for treasures is greater.

Where do people do their second-hand hunting in the UK?

Charity shops, church jumble sales, car boot sales, ebay, auction rooms and local groups like Freecycle (a personal favourite! People advertise their unwanted items free to collect to other members of their local groups via a group email) and Gumtree (people advertise their unwanted items for sale/free to collect in their local area).

Church jumble sales can be particularly hilarious. With usually reserved church going pensioners jostling and elbowing for best position at the rummaging tables. Some great bargains to be had though with things typically selling for around 20p-50p.

[Burnham Charity Thrift Shops Collage]

Where are your favorite places to thrift across the globe?

Brussels has a fantastic antiques quarter, regular flea markets and a couple of delicious vintage clothing shops. Frankfurt is also very good for reasonably priced vintage shops. The French have fantastic flea markets and antique markets all over.

I hear that Budapest is supposed to be brilliant for thrifting (and a beautiful city too) but have yet to go there. Also, a little closer to home, Edinburgh is supposed to be fantastic for charity shops and secondhand/vintage. So both of these are on my Citybreak wishlist!!

Final Words:

I guess for me, when it comes to thrifting, the skill and the fun, is in how we pick through the relative chaos of rummage sales, boot fayres and charity shops; to arrive the other side with a few carefully handpicked pieces that we love, that we will use, that will make us money or just bring us pleasure. That ultimately cost a fraction of the normal retail price, and (from an Eco perspective) literally didn't cost us the earth...

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Photos were edited and provided by Miss P. If you would like to be featured in Thrifters Around the World, shoot me an e-mail. I would love your feedback on this new segment, let me know what you think in the comments below. My next international interview will be online next week.
Past Thrifters Around The World Posts

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  1. Wonderful! I love your thrifters around the world posts. Always Inspiring.

  2. so excited to hear that there are great thrift shops in ediburgh as that's where i'll be visiting in september. this is such a great feature!

  3. awesome interview, can't wait to read the next ones.

  4. thrift shopper for peace: I'm glad it was helpful!

  5. Very cool series, Van! I can't wait to read more-- thrifting while living in the Caribbean was much better than anyone would expect, especially on a thirty-two square mile island. I look forward to hearing about others finds.

  6. What a great read! I'd love to hit up a night market in Taiwan. Shopping and eating until midnight? Count me in! And Ashleigh hit the nail on the head when it comes to Tokyo "thrifting." It's more of a novelty for teens with expendable incomes to buy funny foreign things. Very expensive. Still, I found it fun just to see what they were selling.


I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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