Turtledove London talks with Cicely for Secondhand September

We know the most sustainable garment already exists so were delighted to chat with charity shop queen Cicely Rae! A perfect end to this years Secondhand September, find top tips on shopping preloved and extending a garments lifecycle as long as possible. Don’t forget to check out our new preloved initiative too - it’s never been easier to shop and sell your Turtledove London pieces! 

Have you always shopped second hand?

I’ve always enjoyed shopping resale sites like eBay & depop for secondhand items, but only started loving charity shopping in the last 4 years or so! 

What are your top tips for buying second hand pieces?

When shopping in charity shops, I like the surprise of what I’m going to find. I always keep a list of the kind of thing I’m looking for. For example, at the moment I’m really keen to come across a denim maxi skirt, but am being patient & waiting for the right one to come along. I know it will!

When shopping on resale sites I like to search for the style of item I’m looking for for example “wide leg trousers” & see what comes up! I only like to buy things I know I am going to wear time & time again, & try not to focus too much on what’s on trend right now!

I also like to consider the brand I am buying when buying secondhand; 'Is it known to produce good quality items that will stand the test of time?'.

Which are your favourite shops for vintage clothes?

For children’s vintage I love Be Diddy (@bediddy_), Woodrow & Co (@woodrow.and.co) and Tiny Human Club (@thetinyhumanclub).

I love online window shopping on Glass Onion Vintage (@glassonionvintage), Thrashed Vintage (@thrashedvintage) and Holmfirth Vintage (@holmfirthvintage1).

We also love your repair ideas - another great way of keeping clothes for longer . Are any fabrics more suitable for creative mending?

I love mending our worn out clothes! I felt a moment of pride recently when my 3 year old suggested we needed to sew something that had a hole in. I love that, that was his first reaction! 

My favourite fabric to repair is denim as its pretty sturdy & holds the repair well. I want to improve my confidence & skill in repairing knitted fabric though! 

What is your favourite wardrobe piece?

I’ve given this a lot of thought & I think it has to be my vintage dungarees from Be Diddy. I love how versatile they are & I wear them all year round!

Would you consider buying new clothes?

It’s very rare that I see an item of clothing & consider buying it, as I am normally quite confident I will be able to get it secondhand at some point down the line once someone has loved it first! If I were to buy something new, I would want to know the company I was buying from. Were doing their best when it comes to sustainability?

Your brilliant uses for clothes beyond repair have included rag bunting for the allotment and some fab sock beanbags ! Do you have any similar projects planned?

Thinking of ways to reuse worn/scrap fabrics is one of my favourite things!
I have a huge bag of fabric scraps that constantly come in handy throughout the year. I’ve just managed to make an entire scarecrow sewing together the scraps left over from making my husband a quilt out of his old t-shirts!


Halloween is just around the corner & one of my favourite crafts is turning our old socks into pumpkins!

If you could take one person second hand shopping for the day, who would that be?

It would be really fun to go secondhand shopping with someone that has never tried it before! It would be really interesting to show someone how much is already out there!

What changes would you like to see implemented in the fashion industry?

Companies being completely transparent when it comes to their ethics & making changes to be kinder to our planet. Also less focus on churning out fast-fashion pieces, in exchange for slower fashion & considered buying from consumers. 

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