Dumbarton Road is Glasgow’s Hotspot for Sustainable Shopping 

By Olivia Adam

30th April 2022

I took a walk along Dumbarton Road, situated in Partick, the West End of Glasgow, to check out the 11 charity shops dotted along the 10.5-mile-long road.

Why choose charity shopping?

The thing about fast fashion is exactly that; it’s quick and easy. But it’s killing the planet. According to earth.org, it produces more Co2 than aviation and shipping combined and produces more than 20 percent of global wastewater from textile dyeing. 

So, with that in mind, charity shopping is even more appealing. It’s ethical, sustainable, and cheaper. What’s not to like? The thing is, knowing where to find the hidden gems.

Look no further, as I have found a charity shop haven in the heart of Glasgow’s West end. Depending on how good you rake, this activity can take three or four hours. But the little distance between them makes it easy to jump between the shops in minutes. 

From left to right on the above map:

Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland: clothing and household items 

Donations to aid people suffering from chest, heart or stroke problems

Hours: Mon-Sat – 9am – 5:30 

Situated at the beginning of the road, this shop was brimming with men’s and women’s clothes in various sizes. They were mostly older labels; I did not spot many designers or modern high street brands. I snagged a skirt and two tops for a bargain of £5. It’s the perfect price range for those looking to spend a small amount of money whilst bagging quality secondhand items. 

Emmaus Glasgow Charity Shop: bric a brac and clothing 

Donations to the homeless 

Hours: Mon-Sat 9 am – 4 pm

(Red leather sofa for just £95 from Salvation Army Photograph: Olivia Adam)

If you are looking to furnish your home, Emmaus has just about everything you’d need, including sofas, tables, beds, fridges and TVs (all electricals are PAT tested). They also offer a delivery service with a small fee depending on the distance between you and the shop. As well as furniture, there was an extensive range of retro vinyl, clothing and books.

British Heart Foundation Furniture and Electrical 

Donations to cardiovascular research

Hours: Mon – Fri: 9am – 5pm 

            Sat: 9:30 – 5pm 

            Sun: 11am – 5pm 

This shop was spacious and light. It offered a mix of modern and old furnishings with sofas priced at around £95, tables from £25 and beds from £65.

Cancer Research UK: books, clothing and household items

Donations to Cancer research 

Hours: Mon-Sat: 9am – 5:30

             Sun: 11am – 4pm

I did not find much when I visited this shop and noticed that the men’s section was rather small.  However, they did offer a good selection of second-hand crockery and women’s sportswear. 

British Red Cross: clothing

Donations to aid people in crisis around the UK and the world

Hours: Mon-Sat 9 am – 5 pm 

(Colour coded clothing from British Red Cross Photograph: Olivia Adam)

This was one of the best laid out charity shops I visited. All of the clothes were colour coordinated, making it easy to navigate (which is sometimes difficult in charity shops). They stocked mainly brand new Zara clothing,  but sold at a fraction of the price. Although, even with a discount, the Zara clothing did not match standard charity shop prices. Most dresses or shirts averaged around £15-£25 and shoes and jackets at £40. I left feeling like it was more of a Zara outlet than a charity shop. 

After some research, I discovered that it is part of a partnership between the British Red Cross and Zara whereby any excess stock is donated. Likewise, there are donation points at Zara where customers can donate clothes to the British Red Cross; clothes and fabrics are then reused or resold. This is a step in a positive direction as Zara is one of the leading fast-fashion brands in the UK, producing 24 trend collections a year, 500 designs a week and, up to 20,000 annually.   

Salvation Army: bric a brac and clothing 

Donations to aid people in crisis around the UK and the world 

Hours: Mon-Sat: 9:30 – 5:30pm

A smaller selection of clothes but a wide range of household items. The prices were a bit on the expensive side, especially for household items, although the quality was good. 

Shelter Charity Shop: bric a brac and clothing 

Donations to the homeless 

Hours: Mon-Sat: 9am – 5pm

Although it was on the smaller side, the prices were unbeatable. A great shop for clothing basics or household trinkets.

Marie Curie: bric a brac and clothing 

Donations to care and support at the end of life 

Hours: Mon-Sat: 9:30am – 4:30pm 

Again, a very reasonably priced shop with a smaller selection of clothing. I found that it was on the smaller side, which made it slightly cramped I think depending on the day, you might find a real bargain.

The Prince of Wales Hospice: clothing and household items 

Donations to aid the Prince of Wales Hospice 

Hours: Mon-Sat 10am – 5pm

This shop offered a great variety of furniture, especially chairs and tables. Clothing was reasonably priced, and the shop was well presented.

Sense Scotland: clothing and household items 

Donations to support disabled people and their families.

Hours: Mon – Fri: 9:30am – 5pm 

            Sat: 9:30am – 4:30pm

(An assortment of women’s clothing in Sense Scotland Photograph: Olivia Adam)

This was another one of my favourite shops. Located beside Kelvinhall subway station, it is the penultimate stop of the journey. They have a wide selection of women’s clothing in several sizes. I picked up four coats for £15. They also have a large men’s clothing section including suit jackets, trousers and ties. Not to mention the household items and toys for children. 

Salvation Army 91: furniture and clothing 

Hours: Mon – Fri: 9:30 – 5:30 pm

(Furniture displayed in Salvation army Photograph: Olivia Adam)

The last shop of the trip did not disappoint. The shop was expansive, with half dedicated to furniture and the other to clothing. I could have easily spent a day raking through all it offered. The only downside was the pricing. I found that some of the clothing was above £5 which, on average, is expensive for charity shops. However, if you are not on a strict budget, this shop has a lot to offer!

(Large, gold framed painting for £40 in Salvation army Photograph: Olivia Adam)

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