Best charity shops around Roman Road
The Roman’s diversity makes for charity shops with an exciting array of vintage clothing, classic books and idiosyncratic homeware. We pick the best for you.
Decluttering our homes can be a chore and in the rush to clear out many of us end up throwing away treasures. For the vintage hunters and thrifters and among us, this is a dream. Our local charity shops are packed with gems just waiting to be unearthed.
It’s a common misconception that sustainable fashion has a big price tag, with so many wonderful charity shops around Roman Road there is no excuse to contribute to the world’s second-largest polluter, by buying fast fashion.
Below is a list of our favourite, local spots that cover everything from clothes and shoes to books and vinyl, so you can get your retail therapy responsibly.
BEST FOR: JOYFUL BARGAINS
Ayoka is a Nigerian name that means “one who causes joy” and joy is exactly what you will feel after visiting St Margaret’s House’s charity shop. Despite not being directly on the high street, Ayoka is sure to catch your eye on Old Ford Road, due to their visually striking and regularly updated window displays. St Margaret’s House is dedicated to creating positive social change and opportunities for the local community, so every penny spent on clothes, shoes, accessories, homeware or vinyl in Ayoka is giving back to East London.
With enough donations to fill a yoga studio, store manager Nigel and his team are keen to usher customers in to browse their bespoke wares. At Ayoka, you are guaranteed to find a bargain on the rails and if you are lucky, Nigel will even pop the kettle on for a warm cuppa.
Find Ayoka at 23 Old Ford Road, E2 9PJ
BEST FOR: VINTAGE CLASSICS
Found on one of the prettiest streets in Bethnal Green, it may come as a shock to first-time visitors that Jambala is a second-hand book store, such is the pristine condition of its shopfront and its wares. You will regularly find a new release in their window, proving the generosity of Jambala’s donors, which even extends to rare books. Jambala is the perfect spot for gift shopping too, boasting a fine collection of plant-based candles and essential oils.
Owned by the nearby London Buddhist Centre, shopping at Jambala means contributing to their dedicated work, and helping to get the peaceful teachings of the Buddha out into the local community through a variety of well-being events and activities.
Find Jambala at 247 Globe Road, E2 0JD
BEST FOR: SMART & SERENE OUTFITS
Like Jambala, Lama’s Pyjamas is owned by the London Buddhist Centre, so you know the money spent there will go to a good cause. Where some second-hand shops can feel overwhelmingly busy, Lama’s Pyjamas maintains a peaceful energy, making shopping there the relaxing experience that it should be.
With a newly renovated interior, it is mostly filled with clothing, while also offering a selection of bric-a-brac and accessories. Lama’s Pyjamas is well known on Roman Road for having some exceptional bargains, with frequent designer labels available. This is the perfect place to shop for a stylish outfit that causes less of a strain on the wallet and the planet.
Find Lama’s Pyjamas at 83 Roman Road, E2 0QN
Oxfam Victoria Park
BEST FOR: THRIFTY GEMS
Oxfam, in Victoria Park Village, urges customers to ‘set the trend with second hand’. They make it easy to do so with their impressive collection of clothes, books, artwork and kids toys. For such a small space, shop managers Kris and Berta work hard to fit in so many gems. Their friendly banter warms the shop on even the coldest of days.
The impressive global work of Oxfam goes without saying, so you can shop here knowing a few quid here and there will contribute to alleviating poverty. Spots like this are why East London is known for its charity and second-hand shops. People travel from all over for the thrill of finding remarkable individual pieces at a low cost. Art lovers should also make sure to keep their eyes on this store as it is no stranger to a high-valued painting, while sticking to Oxfam’s fair price policy.
Find Oxfam Victoria Park at 89 Lauriston Road, E9 7HJ
Spitalfields Crypt Trust
BEST FOR: FASHION THAT CARES
The work of Spitalfields Crypt Trust towards supporting people recovering from addiction and homelessness is crucial to our local community and undoubtedly transforms lives. Shopping at one of their eight charity shops, such as the one on Roman Road high street, will bag yourself a fashion bargain while contributing to an organisation that truly cares.
The Roman Road shop’s carefully curated displays provide for an intriguing shopping experience. The trust has even gone online by creating a Depop store, @sctdepop, so you can shop second-hand from the comfort of your bedroom.
Find the Spitalfields Crypt Trust at 589 Roman Road, E3 5EL
Gina’s Closet and East End Thrift Store
BEST FOR: BARGAIN BAGS
While Gina’s Closet and East End Thrift Store are not charity shops, they are worth an honourable mention for those looking to increase their second-hand fashion purchases. Both shops will keep you on-trend while putting a halt to the negative impacts of fast fashion, such as waste. Look out for East End Thrift Stores’ unbelievable sales, especially their ‘fill-a-bag’ offers.
Find Gina’s Closet at 371 Roman Road E3 5QR and East End Thrift Store at 4 Assembly Passage, Stepney Green, E1 4UT
Coffee + Fripes
BEST FOR: A LATTE GIFT
Last-minute gift shopping on your lunch break for a trendy friend? Look no further than Coffee + Fripes which offers excellent coffee and casual, eye-catching clothes. The modest cafe is spacious and plays a selection of relaxing tunes for those who want to sit in and study, or just fancy a mill around the store.
Coffee + Fripes boasts a variety of vegan pastries, notably a delicious almond croissant, perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Sitting next to Roman Road Market nearby G Kelly pie and mash, Coffee + Fripes may not be the traditional East End caff, but it is the place to go if you fancy a midweek treat. For the adventurous among you, Coffee + Fripes does vegan takes on East End classics such as a beef pastrami sandwich with entirely plant-based ingredients.
Find Coffee + Fripes at 512 Roman Rd, Bow, London E3 5ES
BEST FOR: ESOTERIC ANTIQUES
Greek statue heads, a golden birdcage, classic books and vintage shirts. Bohemia’s unpredictable array of items typifies any good, local second-hand shop. Sat on the Roman just a short hop from the Ecology Pavilion in Mile End Park, Bohemia’s intimate space generates a welcoming and homely atmosphere.
Stumble in after a walk down Roman Road’s bustling market for a carefree gander. If you have recently moved into Bow or are looking to spruce up your home, Bohemia’s art collection will allow you to impress guests without dropping a fortune on modern pieces. Likewise, if you want to save some money but love a delicious cup of coffee, they have a french press on sale and a traditional tankard for lovers of antique beer mugs.
Bohemia can be found at 359 Roman Road, Bow, E3 5QR
If you enjoyed this, you might like our interview with Roman Road’s mother hen, Gina of Gina’s Closet
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