Scheme: Fundraising event at the new Traid outlet in West London
Objective: To raise funds for the DEC Sudan appeal
Stepping into recycling charity Traid's new Shepherd's Bush store for a preview of its latest clothing is nothing like the usual charity shop experience. The store, which opened a few months ago, welcomed guests with funky music and organic drinks last week to raise funds for the DEC Sudan appeal. But with the presence of Melanie Giedroyc, the charity's new ambassador and one half of comedy duo Mel & Sue, the event had all the buzz and excitement of an official opening.
Giedroyc first came across the charity last month while participating in a feature about recycling on BBC1 show Heaven & Earth. She visited the Shepherd's Bush store when she was doing research for the programme and was immediately seduced by it.
"The clothes are really trendy and well chosen - not the ones you would find in any other charity shop."
Wearing some of the latest clothes customised by the charity's designer label Traid Remade, Giedroyc organised a raffle that raised several hundred pounds in support of refugees who fled civil war in Darfur.
Traid aims to support overseas aid projects while promoting recycling and waste reduction in the UK. Each year, it collects 2,000 tonnes of clothes and shoes from textile-recycling banks in the South East, the Midlands and Manchester. All items are transported to the charity's warehouse in London where they are sorted according to quality and style. The highest quality clothing is revamped and sold in Traid's eight shops in London and Brighton.
According to chair Ian Hagg, Traid shops are successful because they are somewhere between charity shop and fashion-led retailer. "We are much more profitable than other charity shops and we want to be seen more as a retail shop as all our income comes from the collection and sale of second-hand clothes," he said.
But Hagg is keen not to let Traid's stylish image get in the way of its prime goal, raising awareness of recycling. So the charity also used the opportunity to promote its new shopping bag made of recycled textile and designed by fashion guru Wayne Hemingway. The charity's chief executive Maria Chenoveth stressed the need to find a sustainable solution to the 150 million plastic bags that are used each year in the UK.
It is the second Traid store to open in Shepherd's Bush - the first closed several years ago because it was unprofitable. But the charity's income has become stronger since, enabling it to reopen.