Williams Lynch

Mary Portas Charity Shop

Look good, do good:

Charity shops don’t always get a good rap.

It’s not somewhere you’d typically expect to find fashionable clobber but flame-haired TV retail expert Mary Portas is helping to reinvent the high street charity shop.

The ‘Queen of Shops’, as she’s been called by British media, opened her 23rd Living and Giving shop on Bermondsey Street during the annual Bermondsey Street Festival in September.

The concept is to provide a human, ethical and community shopping experience and we’ve read that her shops have generated in excess of £10 million for Save the Children.

She also says that every single penny goes straight to Save The Children, so it will help Syrian refugees, fund education programmes across Africa and also help children in this country who are deprived.

So it was with intrigue that we popped into the new Bermondsey branch, which like her other 22 charity stores, is staffed by volunteers.

It’s situated in the middle of Bermondsey Street, across the road from the Fashion and Textile Museum.

The vibrant pastel-coloured outfits in the window certainly stopped us in our tracks and brightened up a dull, rainy Saturday.

Inside, it’s a treasure trove of second hand designer pieces at affordable prices. The rails are full of crisp, steam ironed designer garments by Alexander McQueen through to Phillip Lim.

It’s so easy to forget you’re in a charity shop with prices at the £175 mark for pre-loved designer winter coats. But with an affordable mix of high street names names including Asos and Reiss there’s something for everyone. It’s well worth a rifle if you’re looking for casual pieces through to occasion wear. The shop stocks mainly women’s pieces but there’s a small men’s section worth a browse too.

As well as clothing you’ll find some funky Christmas decorations at the front of the shop as well as candles, jewellery and gift items.

We love the concept behind the shop and that guilty urge to splurge is lifted when it’s going to such great causes.

We recommend checking it out. The store opens Tuesday to Sunday – it’s closed on Mondays.

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