[Written by Antonia Smart]
[Image Credits: Jasmine Urquhart]
Whether you’re kicking off your university career or near the finish line, you’ve probably noticed the West End is crawling with students decked out in grandad jumpers, weathered leather and baggy denim. Where is everybody making these finds? I’ve read a number of second-hand shopping articles, most of which don’t dare give anywhere beyond the West End much credit.
While it’s true that Byres Road has a decent strip of charity shops, rapid gentrification in the university area means that second-hand prices are soaring, making sustainable shopping here increasingly tricky on a student budget.
The difference in bargain-buying from charity shops over competitively dirt-cheap high street retailers is the cost to the environment. As one of the most polluting industries in the world, fast fashion has a lot of catching up to do with environmentally-conscious attitudes to consumerism. As a self-proclaimed seasoned Glasgow charity-shopper, allow me to point you in the direction of second-hand shops city-wide, and encourage you to explore the full scope of opportunities for sustainable shopping the city has to offer.
If you’re reading this as a fresher, and perhaps living in Murano Student Village, it would be wise to begin this charity shop crawl in Maryhill. You may have already explored the enormous Tesco, but bypassed what is tucked underneath it: the Maryhill Shopping Centre. This Barnardo’s has a great selection of bric-a-brac, but it’s the clothes section where you’ll make the best finds. It’ll take a fair amount of rummaging through the chaotic rails to find a gem, but the majority of stock is £1.99 or less! The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice is a couple of minutes’ walk down Maryhill Road, and there’s a decent range of clothes and accessories at the back of the shop. However, as soon as you walk in you’ll immediately notice a good choice of furniture and art to deck your new flat out with.
A stroll through the Botanics and past the university will lead you to Partick. Dumbarton Road rivals Byres Road as the charity shopping boulevard of the West End, and so do its prices. You could spend all day tackling the full run of charity shops here, so I’ll recommend a couple of fond favourites. Most of the stock in Marie Curie starts from 99p and boasts a fantastic variety of men and women’s clothes. Continue along Dumbarton Road beyond the bus station and you’ll get to the Chest, Heart & Stroke Discount Store. This is a goldmine for grabbing an extra-cheap bargain, just when you thought you’d reached the end of Partick’s plethora of charity shops!
Hop on the subway at Partick and get off at the next stop just south of the river, Govan. A short walk ahead will bring you to Govan Cross Shopping Centre, the home of two hidden treasures: Barnardo’s and another Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice. I’ve often found clothes for under £3 in both shops, and the odd funny little knick-knack. The Southside is undoubtedly my favourite place to scavenge for a good deal. Take the bus to Govanhill where you’ll find the best charity shops on Victoria Road. Marie Curie and Somali Association both have some of the cheapest clothes the street has to offer, but if you aren’t too strapped for cash that day you can get your hands on some beautiful, unique vintage pieces buried at the back of Cancer Research.
Stamina permitting, get the train from Queen’s Park to Central Station and walk towards Trongate. There’s a small, unassuming Chest Heart & Stroke on Stockwell Street which is full to the brim with clothes, often marked at £1.99! Further up the road you’ll find a Barnardo’s tucked away in Wilson Court, which is home to a beautifully displayed array of clothes, cheap accessories, books and art. There’s even a small vintage section at the back!
While charity shopping is a great way to shop second-hand, there are ways to consume sustainably in Glasgow beyond the world of fashion. My first honourable mention is Locavore, a zero-waste grocery shop on Victoria Road. It aims to use sustainable packaging methods, such as glass bottles for milk and “loose goods” to fill your own bags with, along with a range of refillable beauty products and cooking supplies such as oils and sauces. Secondly, The Magpie’s Eye in Govan is a large shop selling a spectacular collection of books, furniture, household goods and vintage clothes. Donations also go to Starter Packs, an organisation which sources household items and redistributes them to people in Glasgow making the transition from homelessness to taking up permanent residences.
Whether you’ve got a thirst for garments, food or furniture, let your indulgences be quenched in sustainable fashion, and bargain-hunt your way towards a more eco-conscious consumerist society.