Buying second hand clothes has never been more convenient. The thrifting revolution started in the US with the thredUP marketplace, which was founded in 2009 and now has 1.4 million users. Since then, many thredUP UK equivalents have popped up as buying second hand clothes has become ethical, responsible and cool.
Between campaigns like Oxfam's #secondhandseptember and increasing revelations about the wasteful and unethical nature of the fashion cycle, people finally seem to be realising how unnecessary fast fashion is - and we're excited about it!
If you’re not a fan of traipsing around charity shops (guilty!), that’s fine, because there are so many great websites and apps for buying second hand clothes. Here are some of our top picks!
#1: Oxfam Online Shop UK
Buying second hand clothes from the Oxfam online shop has the double benefit of items being both pre-loved, and their purchase helping a charity. Any vintage gem you could find in your local Oxfam charity shop can also be found online; personally, we find it much easier to browse on the website as well. Another advantage Oxfam has over eBay and similar stores is the professional photography so you really know what it is you’re getting.
Thriftify is quickly becoming a household name when it comes to charity shopping online. Launched in Ireland, the founders came up with the idea after they noticed that most charity clothes shops were not set up with a website or app – which hit extra hard during lockdown!
The marketplace, which expanded to the UK in 2021, allows charity shops to sign up and sell clothes online via the Thriftify website. That means you’re buying directly from the charity. There’s a huge selection of items, but with the user-friendly filtering options, you’ll have a much easier time than rummaging through clothes racks!
Everyone’s got that friend who’s obsessed with Depop. With 30 million users, it's one of the top second hand clothing apps in the UK. Described as eBay-meets-Instagram, it’s very intuitive to use (probably because we’re all so used to Instagram and the interface is similar!) and you can pick up some real bargains. It’s also easy to sell on the app, so you can do a ‘one-in, one-out’ with your wardrobe to keep spending down!
Because the focus is on images, it can be hard to get a lot of details about an item, and it takes a while to figure out the best search filters. Once you do, you’ll be raving about it to your friends like a true convert!
Another vintage clothes app that’s been relatively recently developed, Vinted looks sleek and modern, and is easy to use. Image-focused, like Depop, you can both buy and sell here – and it’s popular with younger people so you’ll get some quite on-trend items. On the other hand, this means a lot of the items are high-street, so if you’re particular about quality and material you might need to hunt a bit!
The first time we heard of Thrift+ we thought it was too good to be true – a website and app for secondhand clothes with a vast range of items, 30-day return policy, and half a seller’s profits given to charity? That’s Thrift+! We love the ethos and we love how professional the website is, with hundreds of items being added every day. You can easily switch between ‘high street’ and ‘designer’ depending on your budget.
#6: Beyond Retro
One of the original giants of vintage shopping, Beyond Retro’s brick-and-mortar shops have been supplying quirky pieces to second-hand shoppers in London and Brighton for a couple of decades. Its website means that people around the country can take advantage of the huge volume of UK second hand clothes it stocks. Set aside a couple of hours for leisurely browsing and pick up cute summer dresses, oversized shirts and more.
#7: Vestiaire Collective
One for you lovers of high-end fashion, Vestiaire Collective is a Paris-based web-shop that focuses on fashion labels, trends, and slick edits of looks. And with their latest partnership with Alexander McQueen, it's clear they want to make the circular economy a way forward for fashion.
While it specialises in second hand designer clothes, there is a wide range of price points and it’s worth checking out if you want something new for a special occasion that won’t end up relegated to the ‘bought new, worn once to a wedding and never again’ section of your wardrobe!
Want to do more to reduce your wardrobe's environmental footprint? Read our guide on how to reduce microfibre pollution. Or learn how to reduce your laundry cycles by freshening up your clothes without washing them.
What's your go-to website for buying second hand clothes? Share in the comments below and help others discover them too!