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Charity’s shops have pioneered sustainable fashion

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Fashion and sustainability go hand in hand, and as the climate changes, so must our shopping habits, writes Megan Delaney.

The Cotswolds Dogs and Cats Home shop has been pioneering sustainable fashion through its notable selection of donated clothes since it first opened in Nailsworth. Known as the charity shop to go to find good quality and one-off pieces, it has encouraged many to reduce their consumption of fast fashion.

The charity is one of the leading organisations in the area that care for hundreds of vulnerable and abused animals each year. They are an independent charity and rely on their shops and the generosity of the local community to run their services. The animals are provided with access to medical assistance, a safe space and plenty of love! They make a large impact on the community through not just the re-homing centre, but a twice weekly low-cost veterinary clinic, for people on means-tested benefits.

The women running the show behind the scenes, and presenting these pieces so tastefully are the shops devoted manager and assistant manager, Kathryn Komarnyckyj and Mary McLaren-Roberts. Kathryn originally joined the charity as a volunteer in 2010, since then she has successfully climbed through the ranks.

The shop has been a big part of the community, actively participating in annual events like The Nailsworth Festival, Street markets, and The Goodwill Evening. The shop has won two Christmas window competitions, and the team have impressively organised local fashion shows with the help of around 30 volunteers and friends. This helped to raise £7,000 pounds towards the rehoming centre build in Cambridge.

Kathryn said: “The Nailsworth community has been key to the success of our shop with donors very generously donating really wonderful items and we pride ourselves in carefully displaying items to make the shop a wonderful place to shop.

“We are very fortunate to have many regular customers who are delighted to find great charity shop finds. Our customers also help boost our sales through signing up to the Gift Aid Scheme where the charity receives an additional 25p per £1 spent from the government.”

Surviving three lockdowns, the shop was re-decorated in February and is sporting designer pieces at budget prices. The shop has battled through losing 60 per cent of its volunteers due to shielding requirements and has made a speedy recovery through the hard work and endurance of the team. “One of the best things about the job is working in a thriving and friendly town with a close group of loyal, hardworking volunteers.  We really wouldn’t have a shop without our volunteers!” said Kathryn.

The charity has a number of shops in the area – Stroud, Wotton-under-Edge, Fairford, Tetbury, Cirencester, and furniture shops in Tetbury, and Cam. Kathryn would like to break the exciting news that a new superstore will be opening in September in Cirencester, which will sell both clothing and furniture.

This is good news for the sustainable fashion revolution, as charity shops remain at the heart of the re-use, reduce and recycle mantra that is so important in tackling climate change.

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