Updated: Oct 12, 2022
It’s Second-hand September and, with two new Stoke Newington stores selling beautiful pre-loved clothes, this is fast becoming a destination for sustainable shopping, throughout the year.
The newest kid on the Stokey block is Reign Vintage, operating as a pop-up in the former Halfords building on the High Street, they started life on Portobello Market and now have permanent stores in Soho and Oxford. They offer a beautifully-curated stock of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories.
Another is One Scoop Store, which opened in March at 101 Stoke Newington High Street, selling women’s clothes. It’s run by Holly Watkins, an entrepreneur who worked in fashion for more than 15 years.
Holly’s love of second-hand clothes started at the age of 14 when she’d visit jumble sales, pick up pieces for just 20p and sell them on to concession stores. What started as a hobby soon earned her a living – she launched a market-stall and paid her way through her photography degree at Brighton.
She said: “As well as having the stall, I started selling on E-bay – in the days when auctions were really popular (now everyone wants ‘buy-it-now’). It was really mad; I was making £500 a week. Then I got a job in fashion – working for brands selling to stores but I kept up with selling on the side.”
Holly travelled all over the world selling jeans and later underwear to big stores, but when her daughter Phoebe was born, she suffered from terrible postnatal depression and needed a change.
She added: “I needed something else to put my mind on. Friends had suggested for a long time that I build a website and sell direct, to get away from what had become quite a toxic trading environment on E-bay. So, we built a we built a site on Squarespace and an Instagram page and started taking orders. I was meant to go back to work two weeks later.”
One Scoop Store quickly made the headlines, with columnist Dolly Alderton and comedian Aisling Bea among those praising it. It has featured in Vogue, Elle, the Guardian and more and her Instagram has amassed over 33,000 followers. The business previously had a store in The Factory in Dalston and a pop-up in Selfridges.
Reflecting on her first six months trading in Stokey, Holly said: “This is a brilliant place to run a business like this because people around here are interested in looking good but also want to be sustainable and make good choices for the planet. Lots of my clients are journalists.
“I look for nice pieces made from good fabrics (cotton, silk and wool), beautiful wearable pieces. I don’t’ just go for high-end – I try to cater for all budgets. If we don’t include high-street stuff, we’re not solving the problem. The stuff that needs saving from landfill is the likes of Zara.
“Finding beautiful clothes and selling them on is an addiction – I get such a buzz from it. And I feel much better now morally doing what I do than I did working for big brands and trying to push new products.
“Autumn is a particularly busy time for us – it’s that transition time when people are looking to get new bits in for winter. Second-hand September really helps because it generates publicity and gets people shopping more sustainably."
Much of Holly’s stock is sourced from car boot sales and charity shops and she buys direct from people.
F#!% fast fashion is another local enterprise encouraging people to swap, not shop. They're based in nearby Dalston (81b Stoke Newington Rd) offering a chance to swap clothes or pay what you feel. They also run up-cycling and repair workshops for clothes which need a new lease of life. And they feature the work of sustainable designers.
Among the Stoke Newington stores selling pre-loved are Mary’s Living and Giving in Church St, which sells a beautiful selection of quality clothes and raises funds for Save the Children. And there are plenty of charity shops; including the Children’s Air Ambulance, Mind, Shaw Trust and the RSPCA.