Good for: beautiful designer pieces for men and women and the Beckham’s cast-offs
Shop Count: 7
Am I going to make a crap pun about how the King’s Road is the king of all charity shop runs? Probably. It’s the pre-loved Mecca, and for good reason. Despite the fact that the King’s Road is, unlike most of my other destinations, sans tube station, the local population are of the more debonair variety and thus so is the stock in the charity shops. With the quality of the stock you will need to adjust your idea of a bargain, but relatively-speaking it is fantastic value for the brands you see.
I’d start at Sloane Square station and head west along the King’s Road, stopping off at the “farmer’s market” on a Saturday between 10-4pm if you’re in the market for some oysters and premium sausage.
A quick detour before you start will bring you to well-established Sign of the Times designer dress agency in Elystan Street. The ladies who work there are delightful, and won’t let you leave in anything that doesn’t make you look truly fabulous. It’s just womenswear, but it is packed (in an aesthetically pleasing way) full of brands such as Stella McCartney, Roksanda Ilincic, Erdem etc. The stock moves quickly, and if you’re in the market for a bag it is worth following their very elegant Instagram @sign_ofthetimes. I recent bought a beautiful immaculate Falabella bag in there, complete with dust bag as you would expect, for less than 25% of the retail. Prices aren’t cheap, but the calibre of the brands is extremely high.
On a side street on your left, you’ll come across a little-known Oxfam Designer Boutique where I’ve picked up various pieces over the years. BCBG Maxazria wrap dresses, Maje jackets, Diane Von Furstenberg, Missoni tops, Pretty Ballerinas, Sandro dresses, Prada knitted polo tops; all in beautiful condition. The menswear is very small, but excellent for Hackett 2-piece suits. The price tags are fairly reasonable and some of the best in the area.
Stay on this side of the road and you’ll come up to The Ivy Chelsea Garden which is an Instagram waiting to happen and also excellent for a steak tartare.
Heading further up, passing restorers Green & Stone for a nose and Designers Guild, the next left will take you to Old Church Street where you’ll find the British Red Cross.
Synonymous with The Beckham’s, British Red Cross is a heavy hitter in the London pre-loved designer re-sale realm and one of the larger stores I’ve been in. Prada, Gucci, Chanel and the likes of Carven, Amanda Wakeley and Céline can all be found in here. Its fame brings it a great clientele and even better benefactors but it also increases the prices somewhat.
Excellent for menswear too, you can expect to find everything and anything in here including accessories and shoes.
As with any charity shop, I highly recommend checking the items thoroughly for stains, holes and broken zips as I have found in the past that these haven’t been taken into account despite the high price tag. They also often hold flash sales, so look out for those.
Octavia Foundation is up next, and worth a rummage through. I find it particularly good for jackets and blazers but I also picked up a beautiful top from Reformation. It doesn’t get much better than buying high-end sustainable fashion brands second-hand.
Further along the road, you’ll find Royal Trinity Hospice which has a good stock of men’s and women’s upper high street designer clothes like Reiss and Whistles with a smattering of top brands like Rag&Bone and Victoria Beckham. The prices are mid-range for the area.
Practically next door, Cancer Research has some great labels like Helmut Lang and their footwear is particularly good, featuring brands such as Rupert Sanderson and Lanvin. The prices are marginally cheaper than next door and are worth a root through.
Opposite, and the end of our London thrift journey, brings us to Oxfam which feels much less like a charity shop and more like a boutique, again. The stock is very good, with a small mens section and nice staff. I found brands such as Nicole Farhi, Sea by New York and Marc Jacobs all in there within a few seconds of looking. Prices aren’t steals, but they are decent and worth having a look through.