Style With Substance – Episode 5 The Rise Of Thrifting

Image: Anton Rodriguez / Cancer Research UK

In episode 5 of Style With Substance we take a deep dive into the rise of thrifting. This week we spoke to  Emma Slade Edmondson about shifts in consumer attitudes towards second hand and how COVID-19 is changing the landscape of sustainable fashion.  

Episode 5 – Show Notes

Welcome back to episode five as we continue to discuss the myths and greenwashing that surround Sustainable Fashion. This week we discuss the rise of thrifting and how Gen Z are flying the flag for second hand fashion. Strategic Creative Director and lovely thrifting pro Emma Slade Edmondson joins us to talk about thrifting, COVID-19 and how privilege informs sustainable fashion. Her modern approach to retail, sustainability and initiatives focused on social change is well known.  If you’ve popped into Cancer Research UK’s Marylebone branch and been totally balled over by how slick and un-charity shop-ish it looks, that was Emma. We’ll be chatting about the resurgence of thrifting and how Gen Z have jumped on it as a money making enterprise. We also tap Emma for her tips for making the most out of charity shopping.

I believe people are on a journey with the way they view thoughtful fashion and sustainability and are accepting the idea that they need to change. For me thrifting is a really important and valid step in this journey.” – Emma Slade Edmondson

Thrifting Makes Sustainable Fashion Accessible 

Time and again, we hear people put off by the expense of buying from sustainable and ethical fashion brands. And yes, if you were buying a beautifully made alpaca jumper from Gabriela Hearst then you can expect to pay upwards of £1000. However, a more exciting place to start would be by buying second hand, or preloved. Kate Moss made vintage cool in the early noughties but until very recently charity shopping was not. Now however, having sharp elbows and a talent for spotting vintage Laura Ashley is a boast. Instagram influencers often describe themselves in their bios as ‘Thrifters’. They tag their items with the charity shops they found their gems in, and boast of the money saved and the inspiration they find through not shopping the high street.

Is Thrifting the antidote to overproduction in Fashion? 

According to Hubbub, one in six young people admit that they don’t feel they can wear an outfit again once it’s been seen on social media. This feeling has fuelled Youtube hauls of popular cheap, fast fashion brands like Boohoo, H&M, Primark and Misguided. Last year, Love Not Landfill hosted a pop up in London inviting major charity shops to collaborate with Instagram influencers. Barnardos’ collaborated with Emma Breschi and Oxfam collaborated with Elizabeth Whibly to mention a few. They curated collections of their favorite second hand finds, offering them for sale at the pop up. #LoveNotLandfill’s last pop up made £23,000 for the charities involved and had 4500 visitors.  

Image: Cancer Research UK / Interior Designer Nadia Themistocleous

The role of privilege in fashion 

Emma has some interesting insights into the way in which thrifting and second hand shopping is viewed according to privilege in society. However she believes that with the work that she is doing with charity shops and with her initiative ‘Charity Fashion Live’, people’s perceptions of buying preloved clothes are changing. She is only too happy to see a rise in popularity but hopes that post lock down, we continue to love thrifting and avoid the high street where we can. 

With thanks to our fabulous guest Emma Slade Edmondson, strategic creative director and founder of ESE Consulting.

Please recommend us to one person so we can continue to spread our message of sustainable living. 

Mentioned Within The Podcast 


Host Lucy Kebbell

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