There is something alluring about it: it has boho chic, a touch of glamour, a glimmer of retro and almost zero guilt. Rag Trade is
“The worst thing I’ve been given was Primark – dirty Primark too,” says Cree Jones, owner of Rag Trade. What Cree specialises in are mid to high end high street and designer. The practicalities are that the profits are split 50:50 with the customer. Each garment spends four weeks at the agreed price, is then reduced by a third for two weeks, before retailing for £5-10 and finally ends up in a charity shop if still unsold. “People bring in their clothes to make money,” says Cree bluntly, “the market on ebay has changed and it’s hard to sell, particularly designer clothes, because there are a lot of fakes. People also often say, ‘I would take this to charity but it’s too nice.’” Customers can, of course, receive cash but 600 have chosen to set up an account and use their earnings to buy something new. “They don’t feel as if they’re spending and also it’s a bargain so people don’t feel as guilty,” says Cree, adding, “It’s about making decent clothes more affordable and accessible.”
Naturally anyone can shop in a dress agency even if you don’t want to part with your own clothes. There are some gorgeous garments at Rag Trade: a brand new Blank-UK dip dye tunic with gems like river-washed pebbles caught in a mesh net, a champagne-coloured Prada top made out of a silk parachute with on-trend corset detailing, a Missoni floor-length knit in trade-mark caramel and aquamarine zigzags, a Noa Noa vintage jacket with leaf-green woollen cuffs softly poking out of the sleeves. “Just because it’s second-hand doesn’t mean it’s not fashionable,” says Cree, who likes to look for colours and styles that are in season now. To illustrate her point she shows me a pair of leopard print court shoes and some classic Bally boots.
It’s been brave of Cree and her boyfriend, Stephen Jones, to have opened a shop in the middle of the recession but she says she’s doing really well, so much so that she’s starting a franchise in
Photo courtesy of Rag Trade