Derry woman opens sustainable clothing store in city center
An ambitious new businesswoman has opened an eco-clothing shop in Derry.
Pre-loved Threads, in Waterloo Street, is a new clothing store that allows customers to donate their unwanted items in exchange for cash.
Owner Annie McGowan, who opened the store on December 13, said renewable and sustainable fashion has always been a passion for her.
The former charity shop worker said MyDerry that she decided to open the new downtown store after noticing that a lot of clothing rags would eventually end up in landfills.
She said: “Many clothing donations received by charities are stained, in need of sprucing up or in need of a minor repair. However, the majority of charity shops in Derry do not have washing facilities. or drying.
“As a result, a good percentage of the donations have to be in shreds. They are then sold as rags with a good majority of those rags ending up in landfills.
“I was horrified, as I am very committed to doing my part for climate change. Fast fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world today.
“Sustainable and renewable fashion has always been a passion of mine. Coming from a working-class background where spending was limited, I loved shopping in charity shops that were like mini Aladdin caves to me.
“Over the years I have made some amazing original discoveries for very little cost.”
Annie said the moment was “now or never” when she finally decided to go out on her own and she said the public response was “unparalleled”.
“I opened Pre-loved Threads the week before Christmas, for me it was now or never,” she added.
“Fortunately, my family has been 100% supportive of me. I am currently working with a mentor through the Go for it program who helps me with legal issues and develops a business plan with me.
“We sell good quality second-hand women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and accessories, as well as vintage. Our goal is to provide clean and affordable clothing and to prevent textiles from ending up in landfills.
“It’s been a dream of mine for some time. It was amazing to open. It’s been hard work, but I firmly believe it will be worth it.
“So far the response has been great. The locals seem really interested and we already have our regulars.
“I believe now is the time to open with much of the global attention on climate change.
“On top of that, the current covid crisis has brought the economy to its knees, with job losses, the end of partial unemployment, the removal of the additional allowance that was added to universal credit and the increase in electricity and gas prices.
“It left a lot of people with very little money.”
Meanwhile, Derry’s wife also said “everyone can do their part” when it comes to recycling old clothes they no longer need.
“Buying pre-loved second-hand clothes is a great way to help the environment because it saves the resources needed to produce an entirely new item and keeps those items from getting landfilled.
“It’s easy on the pocket and it’s a guilt-free way to indulge with the ability to find a one-of-a-kind piece.”
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Annie added, “Buying used second-hand items helps us as consumers use our collective power to help reduce global warming; this can only be a good thing.
“We can all do our part to fight this waste by reusing, repairing and recycling.”