25-year-old Mariam Hartwell has been spending her 2015 steering clear of high-street buys and strictly raiding the rails charity shops only. Old Tat talks to Mariam about feeling at home whilst fishing for bargains.
Mariam’s second-hand obsession hails back to weekend visits to charity shops with her “hippy mother” as a child, and this love has resurfaced as Mariam has become increasingly disillusioned with high street wares. “Due to being curvy I have found it difficult to find the right clothes that flatter me and the high street fashion industry hasn’t always made me feel attractive,” she claims.
A decision to ditch the big names also reflected the outgoings in her bank account, finding herself “over-spending in the shops.” Old Tat can sympathise; we’re falling out of love with the likes of Topshop (because a genuine hand-made seventies playsuit wins over a mass-produced copy every time) and we feel robbed of the ‘thrill of the find’ in expensive vintage boutiques. So we’re totally on board.
“Most people are not aware that some charity shops have sales, I have a variety of items for only a £1,” the Bedfordshire-based shopper muses. Documenting her year via Instagram, Mariam has been posting her finds, hauls and outfits on @charityshopchallenge. “I spend hours a week looking for items and it brings me a lot of happiness. I feel like I am in community of second-hand enthusiasts, including variety of like-minded people on Instagram.” (Hours a week!? We’re jealous.) All that time spent has left Mariam with a new outlook on styling herself. “Due to the clothes being affordable I have been able to buy items out of my comfort zone and be creative. I am more confident about my figure and I feel at home when I am in charity shops, the feeling is priceless.”
Mariam tells us she has no plans to go back to her old habits, and even plans to buy most of her christmas presents second-hand. “They have arrange of gifts to choose from and the money goes to charity, what a perfect idea for a present.” Call her a true convert.
But we’ve just got one problem, and that lies with the word ‘challenge’. Kudos to Mariam, but turning local charity shops into your walk-in wardrobe sounds like too much fun to be anything arduous. It’s more like a dream-come-true if you ask us!
Words by Alice Freeman