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The best of thrifty fashion in Leicester

Thrift shopping has a positive impact on the environment.

Filled with culture and quirky side streets full of hidden gems, Leicester's city centre is a great place to ditch fast fashion chain brands and to start shopping thrifty and more sustainably.

Over the years, buying second-hand clothing from charity shops could be hit and miss.

You could sometimes bag yourself a bargain and others could see you walking away empty handed.

As a result of the Covid-19 lockdowns, I’m sure many of us cleared out our wardrobe simply with nothing better to do.

Trends of repurposing vintage styles and donating old clothes has seen charity shops rise in popularity amongst younger shoppers.

The growing desire to avoid fast fashion brands and shop more sustainably has given buying second-hand a new lease of life. And it doesn’t always have to drain your budget!

Here's a list of shops and events to explore.

Fill-A-Bag Thrift Sale event

When: Check back for upcoming dates on the website
Where: Check the website for locations
Price: Free entry for all

Organisers Latham Street brings the fill-a-bag thrift sale event which does exactly what it says on the tin.

Rails and rails of vintage thrift will be brought to Leicester for you to rummage around and fill your bag, which is handed to you upon entry. Each bag you fill is just £20 and if you’re skilful at making the most out of your packing, you should be able to walk away from this event with some great bargains.

I was able to speak with one of the organisers of the event, David. Who provided some interesting insight into the positives that shopping thrifty can have on the environment.

“At our events we offer Vintage thrift and good quality second-hand clothing.

There will be some branded items, but these do go mega quick!"

"People can expect everyday wardrobe staples such as; Sweaters, Knitwear, Shirts, T-Shirts, Jeans, Denim, Jackets, Coats and mixed women’s and men’s sizes from 1980s - Y2Ks. Everyone gets a bag upon entry, which can then be filled to the brim with vintage bargains."

"Sustainability has never been so important and circular fashion economy is the best for the planet. Reusing clothing and giving it another life saves it from landfill and stops another new garment being made."

"We are encouraging students and the younger generation to move away from fast fashion and thrift instead.”

The event organisers are proudly partnered with LOVE GRACE. Their aim is to collect handbags and fill them with useful items such as toiletries for women in need. The charity was set up in memory of Grace Millane.

Cousin and God-daughter to one of the founders, who worked at the event before starting her travels around New Zealand, during which she was tragically murdered.

Grace loved handbags and the charity works to empower victims of domestic abuse in her honour.

If you have any handbags that would be large enough for a selection of toiletries, take them along to the event for donation to this amazing cause which can make a huge difference to women in desperate need.

Click here to learn more about the fill-a-bag event!

Sue Ryder Charity Shop

For any student looking to dress well for less, the Sue Ryder Vintage and Retro Charity shop is the go-to destination.

Their mannequins are a great source of inspiration for how you can repurpose and style your vintage pieces, whilst giving to an important cause.

Donations on your unwanted clothing, books, homeware items and records are highly appreciated and help the charity to raise money for palliative, neurological and bereavement support.

I had a chat with a fellow DMU Master’s student, vintage clothing lover and Supervisor at Sue Ryder Leicester, Megan Lay. Megan offered some great advice when thrift shopping, to re-use what you already have at your disposal.

“For me shopping second hand is exciting, you never know what you might find.

I've found some incredible vintage pieces that are much better quality than what is produced nowadays. You can find some great one-off pieces that may be handmade, that no one else has." "If I had any advice to give when thrift shopping, it’d be don't jump to buy just anything. Consider what you already have in your possession and whether you would actually wear it, this helps keep your wardrobe concise and minimises chances of throwing away.”

Pink Pigeon

Located in the Leicester Lanes is Pink Pigeon Vintage. Celebrating 10 years of opening, they’re described as having great vibes and a wide variety of vintage clothes for you to get lost in.

There are a number of vintage stores in Leicester city centre, but Pink Pigeon Vintage are certainly the ones to beat for their prices.

Vintage doesn’t always have to mean a big price tag. Here you’ll find designer labels from Stussy to Burberry and it will only cost you the weight of your items, at just £15 per kilo.

Worth The Weight Vintage event

When: Saturday, May 21, 2022, 11am-5pm
Where: The Venue at De Montfort University
Price: Free entry but you can purchase a ticket here for early entry to rummage around the rails before anyone else.

Worth the Weight Vintage is an event filled with quality vintage items on sale which you can snap up for just £20 per kilo.

The event works by handing you a bio-degradable bag upon entry in which you can fill with pick and mix choices from 9 tonnes of sustainable fashion split into the categories; Denim, Sports, Ladies fashion, Men’s fashion and Outerwear.

Including many branded and designer items, as well as a range of accessories.

And with weighing stations on location, you can continuously weigh your bag to make sure you’re staying within your budget.

The Leicester Market

Leicester is proudly the owner of the largest outdoor covered market in Europe, just another location where we can actively show our support for smaller businesses whilst shopping sustainably.

The outdoor market, whilst primarily hosting fresh produce stands, also includes clothing stands filled with culture. Perfect for any dressmaker, the Leicester market is a great location to source a wide range of good quality fabrics and trims.

Homemade clothing is certainly going to be the most sustainable option for experimenting with your style. This is down to the personal attachment and story that would be behind a garment made with your own hands.


Written by Aimee Culverhouse

Currently interning for Niche Magazine, Aimee is keen to grow her portfolio in journalism whilst studying her Master’s degree in Fashion Management with Marketing, at De Montfort University. She enjoys writing about upcoming events, sustainable fashion, and retail.


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