There may only be three of them but they are still a feature I love about Shepherd's Bush and three is actually my lucky number.
Traid, Age Concern and Fara all positioned opposite the Green along Uxbridge Road, in front of an over-bearing Westfield are all pretty bog-standard charity shops. And I mean this with love and admiration. When I first moved to West London I regularly hit the charity shops in Chiswick and Notting Hill, naively over-looking those on my doorstep. I now know that I was missing out. Yes, you are more likely to find designer "bargains" in W4 and W11 but you will also find the appropriate price tag to match. There are certainly fewer labels (because Atmosphere and Umbro don't count) on offer in these three but I for one have long abandoned my lust for labels. As I have previously blogged about I'm more about finding my style than following and copying someone else's and these shops satisfy my thirst for fun fashion and bargains.
Traid (Textile Recycling for Aid & Development) has achieved a great deal in the ten years it has been going, both in terms of the work it has done also but also in not immediately appearing to be a charity shop from the outside. The shops look "cool" and "trendy" and certainly the one in Hammersmith isn't dissimilar from many of the vintage (rip-off) shops I've been to in East London or Camden. However to be frank they do over-price a lot of stuff, yet fully redeem themselves with their £2 and then £1 sales (swoon) which seem to happen pretty regularly. I was lucky enough to catch it last weekend and bagged a MaxMara tweed blazer and a labels on new silk slip (i'm going through a sexy underwear phase) for a couple of quid. I also like in the Shepherd's Bush branch that they run these free Sew Good workshops for people who want to transform their old threads into new garments and learn sewing skills. There's one tomorrow in fact - GO! I also like that in this shop all the staff are or at least speak French - pourquoi? In the words of Kylie: Je ne sais pas pourquoi...
Age Concern quickly became part of my Saturday morning routine when I first moved into W12 for entertainment as well as bargains. The old Irish guy who works there (he doesn't sound totally dissimilar from Father Jack) is like the Empire or Bagel Bite to me now - a stalwart fixture of Shepherd's Bush. Age Concern is very cheap, a bit cluttered and not very well laid out so that you have no choice but to rummage and go in with elbows out. Bliss. It's the charity shop as I know and love it. So far it has provided me with retro gold earrings aplenty, a gorgeous 1970s faux fur coat and some fabulous silk equestrian scarves a la Queen Betty 2.
Fara, though I have to say, is my favourite. It is a very well organised and it's window displays unfailingly deserve 11/10 for effort. The staff are approachable and seem to really care about keeping the shop well stocked and a pleasant shopping experience - I have never once thought that about any Topshop. I have bought more bargains in Fara then I care to list yet last weekend I excelled myself when I found some rainbow braces (well I love them so there!). I always save Fara for last. They probably have the best range/stock of books out of the three and are also really good for male jeans (so one of my Bush bloke sources tells me).
Charity shopping is a win-win situation for everyone. It's somewhere you can get rid of unwanted goods, that I will then treasure spending hours finding and at the same time we are giving to a worthy cause.