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Inside Scotland’s only charity superstore launched by major fashion designer

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SECOND hand shopping has become big business – and now top designer Wayne Hemingway is making it high fashion.

Together with environmental champion Maria Chenoweth, the Red or Dead founder has opened the first charity supermarket in Scotland.

Wayne and Maria launched the store
The shop looks like a fashion store

And he reckons the concept will take over cities across the country in the near future.

Wayne, who runs studio Hemingway Design, said: “We do a lot of town centre design and urban regeneration and in the last few years consistently, we go into towns and elected members immediately say ‘can you reduce the number of charity shops in our towns?’.

“And we say, why the hell would you want to do that?

“They bring in the best demographic that you could bring in which is everybody – but in particular, a lot of young people who are looking at the world with fresh eyes. You want that in your towns.”

Scotland’s first Charity Super.Mkt opened this week at Glasgow Fort after massive success in its Reading and London stores, which have raised more than £620,000 for good causes.

The idea brings together seven charitable organisations – including Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland and Havens Hospices – under one roof, all selling high quality, pre-loved clothes in a store that looks like it belongs next to Next and H&M.

Second hand shopping has seen a massive boom in recent years, with the rise in popularity of online sites such as Vinted and Depop and customers becoming more mindful of the environment – so could Charity Super.Mkts take over our high streets?

Maria, CEO of charity chain TRAID and Charity Super.Mkts co-founder, said: “Charity has been growing 15 per cent year on year, exponentially after lockdown. Part of that is seeing new demographics coming in, school kids and families shopping together like they used to in department stores.

“We’ve given them the place and the space and they provide the product and the people. It’s really exciting”

Recent stats from TRAID show that 65 per cent of us now wear something second hand and from the two stores already opened in England, 18,700kg of clothing has been saved from going to landfill.

And Wayne agrees that the trend towards buying pre-loved is only going to grow.

He said: “Already there’s as many charity shops in the UK as there are fashion shops and that’s growing – charity shops are going up and fashion shops are going down. There’s a levelling up going on there. We know that we are inspiring a lot of charities to think about how they can upgrade.

“This is a concept that could change people’s hearts and minds, to bring the charities together to give more choice and to make a brand that feels vibrant and inviting, to make it feel like a fashion shop. A lot of people will come in here and it might take them 10 minutes to realise that it’s a charity shop.”

Having the store at an out-of-town mall is an experiment for the team – but they have high hopes.

Wayne, whose first company Red or Dead had a shop in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, added: “We’re not in the city where all the students are, we’re pushing the boundaries of this. I would imagine at some stage in the not too distant future we’ll be in the city as well though, because we know how well it will do there. If anything, Scottish cities have always been pretty advanced with vintage culture.”

As well as being good for the environment, and helping people get cheap clothes in a cost-of-living crisis, the money raised in the stores goes directly to organisations that are supporting people in Scotland.

Lawrence Cowan, Director of Income Generation at Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland, said: “It celebrates sustainable fashion but also gives people’s pounds a purpose. The money raised here goes to help people in this community and across Scotland.

“This is the best kind of retail therapy – it’s full of joy. There’s a great atmosphere, you can grab a bargain and you know the money that you are spending on that piece of clothing is going to support someone down the road really struggling. You can be the difference between someone surviving and really living.”

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Phil Goodman, Centre Director at Glasgow Fort, added: “We’re always looking for new brands and experiences to bring to Glasgow Fort and the Charity Super.Mkt certainly achieves that. It’s a sustainable brand, at the same time it’s benefiting our communities as well. It’s a win win for us.

“Consumers are more aware of the environment more than they ever have been so I think this is a trend that’s going to develop.”

Visitors at The Fort will be able to pop in to the unique shop
Big name brands are on sale in the store
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