The Roman’s diverse population makes for charity shops with a varied offering of bargain homeware, one-off vintage clothing, second-hand books in mint condition and even Depop-worthy wavy garms. We pick the best for you.
One of the most positive outcomes of the past months spent in lockdown, is that many of us have used this time to declutter. And what does this mean for the vintage hunters and thrifters and among us? Our local charity shops are packed with goodies just waiting to be found.
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 treasure troves covering everything from clothes and shoes to books and vinyl, so you can get your retail therapy responsibly.
Ayoka is a Nigerian name which means “one who causes Joy” and joy is exactly how you’ll feel after visiting St Margaret’s House’s charity shop. Despite not being situated directly on the high street, Ayoka is sure to catch your eye on Old Ford Road due to their 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, vinyl or DVD’s in Ayoka is giving back to East London.
With enough lockdown donations to fill a yoga studio (literally) Nigel, who manages the shop and his team of volunteers are excited to welcome customers back post-lockdown. At Ayoka, you are guaranteed to find a bargain on the rails and if you are lucky, Nigel will even pop the kettle on!
Find Ayoka at 23 Old Ford Road, E2 9PJ
Found on arguably the prettiest street in Bethnal Green, it may come as a shock to first-time visitors that Jambala is a second-hand book such is the pristine condition of its shopfront and many of its books. You will regularly find a new release in their window, proving the generosity of Jambala’s donors, which even extends to Antiquarian books. Jambala is the perfect spot for gift shopping too, with their 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 events and activities.
Find Jambala at 247 Globe Road, E2 0JD
Like Jambala, Llamas Pyjamas is owned by the London Buddhist Centre, so you know spending in this pandora’s box is going to a good cause. Where some second-hand shops can feel overwhelmingly busy, Llamas Pyjamas maintains peaceful energy, making shopping here the relaxing experience that retail therapy should be.
With a newly renovated interior, it is mostly filled with clothing, whilst also offering a selection of bric-a-brac and accessories. Llama 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 costs less for your wallet and the planet.
Find Lama’s Pyjamas at 83 Roman Road, E2 0QN
Oxfam Victoria Park
Oxfam, in Victoria Park Village, urges customers to ‘set the trend with second hand’ and with their extensive collection of items, from clothing to books and artwork to kids toys, they make it easy. 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 what better place to spend your hard-earned money than towards ending poverty. It is no surprise that the most popular section of the shop is women’s clothing, with East London being known for its unique fashion style, one of the benefits of shopping second-hand, is of course, the individual pieces. Art lovers should make sure to keep their eyes on this store as it is no stranger to a high-valued painting, whilst sticking to Oxfam’s fair price policy.
Find Oxfam Victoria Park at 89 Lauriston Road, E9 7HJ
Spitalfields Crypt Trust
The work of Spitalfields Crypt Trust towards supporting people’s recovery 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 whilst donating to an organisation that truly cares.
The Roman Road shop offers a visually exciting shopping experience with their well-thought displays. They have even gone online by creating a Depop store (@sctdepop) so you can shop sustainably while staying at home.
Find the Spitalfields Crypt Trust at 589 Roman Road, E3 5EL
Gina’s Closet and East End Thrift Store
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. 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, London E1 4UT
If you enjoyed this, you might like our interview with Roman Road’s mother hen, Gina of Gina’s Closet
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