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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 have the best pick of local stores for you to rummage through.

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, stumbling across these treasures is a dream. As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

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, which sell everything from clothes and shoes to books and vinyl, so you can get your retail therapy responsibly.

Ayoka

BEST FOR: JOYFUL BARGAINS

Ayoka Charity Shop, Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green.

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 its 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

Jambala

BEST FOR: VINTAGE CLASSICS

The blue-painted shopfront of Jambala Bookshop, Globe Road, Roman Road, Bethnal Green.
Jambala bookstore, run by the London Buddhist Centre

Found on one of the prettiest streets in Bethnal Green, it may shock first-time visitors that Jambala is a second-hand bookstore; such is the pristine condition of its shopfront and 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, 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 spread the peaceful teachings of the Buddha to the local community through a variety of well-being events and activities.

Find Jambala at 247 Globe Road, E2 0JD

Lama’s Pyjamas

BEST FOR: SMART & SERENE OUTFITS

Lamas Pyjamas charity shop in the Budhist centre, Bethnal Green, East London
Lamas Pyjamas charity shop. Credit Lamas Pyjamas

Lama’s Pyjamas has been serving the Roman Road community since 2010; it’s the place to go for everything from designer clothes at affordable prices to household basics to kit out a new home. Some particularly devoted customers visit the shop nearly every day – the best way to find the best bargains – and you definitely get the sense of Lama’s as a community hub, with staff and customers enjoying catching up with each other while checking out the latest donations.

Like Jambala, Lama’s is part of the London Buddhist Centre. The money raised enables the Centre to offer meditation classes on a donation basis rather than charging a fee, meaning people can attend regardless of income (so why not drop in and try out a class after you’ve done your shopping?)

Find Lama’s Pyjamas at 83 Roman Road, E2 0QN

Oxfam Victoria Park

BEST FOR: THRIFTY GEMS

Oxfam Charity Shop, Victoria Park Village, Hackney.

Oxfam, in Victoria Park Village, urges customers to ‘set the trend with secondhand’. 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 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

Spitalfields Crypt Charity Shop, Roman Road, Bow.

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 an intriguing shopping experience. The trust has even gone online by creating a Depop store, @sctdepop so that you can shop second-hand from the comfort of your bedroom.

Find the Spitalfields Crypt Trust at 589 Roman Road, E3 5EL

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

Bohemia

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 want 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

Our members

Delan Jewellers

The Bath House

Dennington’s Florist

Gina’s Closet vintage emporium

Lux Studio

Fleshformers


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