1 Apr 2018

Why We Should Thrift

"Thrifting: When one visits several different thrift shops, second-hand shops, and vintage clothing stores in the hopes of buying several items of cheap and unusual clothing and other items"

We all remember a few years back when Macklemore released that song about raiding the thrift shop (here's my best impression of him in that faux fur coat), but thrifting has been happening way before Macklemore burst onto the scene. 

The benefits to shopping in thrift/charity/vintage shops are incredibly important to the promotion of ethical fashion as well as ethical employment, the environment and so many other things. The majority of clothes found in these kinds of stores have been spared being banished to the landfill and have been given a second chance of finding a loving home. Buying second hand also ensures you're lowering the emissions caused by the transportation of clothing. Admittedly the damage is done as the clothes have already been transported but you will have removed yourself from the supply and demand chain, every little helps right?! 

I don't mean to sound like a proper hipster but the main appeal to thrifting for me is the chance of finding unique items that nobody else will have. Shopping on the high street means you're bound to see other people with the same items as they're usually mass produced and quickly turned over in the larger retailers. The clobber you find in thrift shops is a lot more diverse, there's usually only one of each item (which can be a bad thing if you don't buy it there and then!) 

The turnover of clothes (especially in charity shops) means it's pretty much a different shopping experience every time you visit a store. Because these stores rely on donations there's no real structure to new arrivals so you could visit a store at 3pm and find nothing, and by 5pm they may have your dream wardrobe if somebody has delivered a lovely bagful of clothes. 

Fashion is known to be quite cyclical, meaning everything comes back into fashion eventually. Who'd have thought I'd be wearing with legged trousers 5 years ago? Who would have guessed tie dye would come back into fashion into 2011/2012? The best thing about fashion being so cyclical is you could find a genuine vintage designer item from when it was in fashion the first time! I picked up a pair of straight legged Savile Row trousers this weekend along with the Dickies trousers and New York tee I'm wearing above. The sweater was bought vintage about 6 years ago along with the Adidas jacket which has served me very very well. 

Finally and most importantly for an introverted hermit like me, the better thrift shops and usually found outside of the city centre which means you don't have to deal with crowds and queues. Here are a few tips on getting the best out of your thrift experience.

  • Go to areas where rich people live
  • Do your research. Check the labels on the garments and do a quick Google search, a lot of the clothes will be from the high street and rubbish quality.
  • Take a bag with you. You never know, you may hit the thrift jackpot!
  • Try the clothes on. It goes without saying really but obviously charity shops don't do refunds so try before you buy. 
  • Be thorough when shopping. With everything being pre owned and pre worn, there may be stains, rips, cracking. 
  • If you can't get out, shop online! Ebay, Depop, Facebook groups, Vinted. There's so many options.
Show me your thrift finds, I'd love to see them! 


3 Mar 2018

Snowmageddon 2018

"We'll talk about this day in 50 years when we meet for a coffee in Montenegro"

Isn't it so typically British to have a few days of snow and name it "Snowmageddon?" After walking to work on Thursday I was subsequently sent home within an hour and a half and I was resigned to laying low and waiting for Storm Emma to pass the South of Wales. After an hour of being at home I'd gotten bored so I ventured into Cardiff city centre to follow my regular ritual of drinking coffee and spending a small fortune in Lush. By chance I bumped into my friend Mike (check his website out) and we made a plan to venture out on Friday with our cameras to see if we could cook up some photographical magic. Spoiler alert: we did!

Fast forward to Friday and all trains are cancelled! Not a problem for me as I literally walk everywhere anyway but walking through snow is deceivingly treacherous. As I met Mike, a beautiful Rottweiler came running past and as you do with all good boys, I gave his noggin a little rub. I think he liked me because he proceeded to try and shag my leg but luckily it seemed like a playful hump and not a "I'm going to impregnate you" hump. 

As we walked through the city centre it was empty. Barely any people were around and most shops were closed so we decided to wander around and see what the snow had in store for us. 

We headed to the car park where we've had many successful shoots which looks over the back of a few pubs and offices, and the other side faces the Millennium Stadium. I think it was one of the best decisions we've made because seeing the city from a high level covered in snow was a sight to behold. It's crazy how a few flakes of snow can change your perspective of places you visit so frequently. 

After soaking in some breathtaking views we swung by one of the best coffee shops in the city, which was open to give us our caffeine fix. Corner Coffee is based in High Street Arcade which somehow managed to get caked in snow. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, the whole arcade was covered in untouched snow and made for some pretty amazing photos. 

As a resident of Cardiff for the last 26 years, I should be ashamed that I've never visited Cardiff Castle before. However I think it was worth the wait as the lovely staff welcomed us in for free and allowed us to take some snaps. I don't think I will ever visit again unless it's snowing because it will never look as beautiful as this! 

After basking in the castle's glory we made the executive decision to walk to Cardiff Bay. On a normal day it's about a 20 minute walk but we wanted to take the scenic route which takes you down a little gully with a river and cute bridges.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise the river had frozen over and there were a few daring pigeons walking across the surface, testing the rivers resolve. I would hate to be a pigeon in a snow storm!

Anyway as we got to Cardiff Bay it started to get a lot heavier. We thought it would be a good idea to find refuge and where better to hide than Wagamama? A tofu curry warmed up my innards and it was time to get back on the road. 

After a long ass day well spent snapping over 1000 photos, drinking multiple coffees and constant quips of "this snow is so deep, man" we decided to call it a day and blend back in with society by going back to our homes. I can honestly tell you there is no better feeling in the world than getting home from a snowy day, running a hot bath and laying there until you turn into a prune. 

Until next time, peace!