The real price of high street fashion

Posted by Matt Carter, on December 5 2019 in: Dotty's Shops

We are a nation obsessed with cheap fashion. It’s easy to stack our wardrobes high with constantly updated ranges of the latest look, all tantalisingly cheap. As we pile up our baskets we might all reasonably wonder how £2 tee shirts can sustain their designers, manufacturers, suppliers, shippers and retailers. Our bulging shopping bags shout the answer – we buy lots and lots of them. According to trade body the Charity Retail Association (CRA), UK sales of clothing topped more than 1 million tonnes in 2018 – an increase of 200,000 tonnes since 2012.

So what do you do with that £2 tee shirt when you no longer want it? The best answer is to send it to a charity shop! Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%. The CRA reckons that every tonne of clothing given to a charity shop can result in a net saving of 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Rowena Midgley, Head of Retail at Dorothy House says, “We are very conscious of our responsibility to the environment and are actively striving to make a real difference across our region. Donations to our shops help reduce the amount of clothing going into landfill, while simultaneously raising money for patient care.”

Sorting through donated goods takes time and skill. Shop volunteers and staff need to know what sells in the locality – and what doesn’t – and how to price items to sell, but also to maximise revenue for the charity.

Rowena adds, “Our resorting centre sorts around 500 bags a week – sending out some 1,500 saleable items to our shops.” Extending the life of clothes and reducing the huge cost – to the environment and to local councils – of sending unwanted clothes to landfill are big ticks in the charity shop box.

Shopping at a Dorothy House shop is not only a chance to ‘do your bit’ for the environment and for the Hospice, but it also gives you the chance to express your individuality and create your own style. The benefit is that you won’t see five other people in the high street wearing the same outfit!

What happens to your donation

  • Reuse In most instances, we sell clothes, books, furniture and other household items donated to us
  • Recycle If we can’t sell an item, we will seek to recycle it directly or through a textile recycler
  • Reduce By encouraging reuse and recycling, charity retail helps to reduce the overall amount of waste that ends up in landfill


Dorothy House Shops

  • Dorothy House has a number of shops in the area served by the Hospice
    including one specialising in vintage goods (in Bath), one specialising
    in books, CDs and vinyl (in Bath), and four furniture shops (Bath,
    Chippenham, Melksham and Frome)
  • Our eBay channel sells specialist, collectable and quirky items
    sourced from all 27 stores
  • Last year, Dorothy House shops turned over £5 million
  • Our shops are supported by a whopping 800 volunteers