Designer reimagining thrift store displays to show secondhand clothing is ‘just as stylish’
Ellie Rose had been walking by the window display of a nearby charity shop (a non-profit thrift store ala Goodwill or Salvation Army) in England when she was struck by an idea: Maybe they could use a “bit of help styling” in order to attract customers.
As a sustainable fashion influencer, the 22-year-old felt like she could infuse her knowledge of today’s trends into the mannequin outfits, hopefully showing people that “buying secondhand can be just as stylish as buying new.”
Rose reached out to several different stores offering to help for free, and many accepted. A viral clip posted to her TikTok shows how she worked her fashion magic to give the mannequins a complete makeover. Spoiler alert—it’s a complete 180.
The process started with careful planning. In the video, Rose shared how she and her friend Scarlett made a Pinterest board full of inspiration and research based on 2023 trends, mostly in an effort to “pull a younger crowd into charity shops.”
Next, we see Rose and Scarlett gleaning items from the racks to redesign two mannequins, both of which were wearing dresses, one green floral and the other brown tie-dye.
After playing around with different combinations, they settled on a sharp-looking trench coat with a black top and purple purse for one mannequin, and a fur jacket for the second mannequin.
That fur jacket in particular was a good choice. Rose shared that several people wanted to buy it as they were styling, and she later mentioned in the comments that it sold the next day.
@elll.rose 📍British Heart Foundation – London Road, Brighton @Scarlett Elizabeth #charityshop #styling #sustainablefashion ♬ Twin Me – Get Mi
Rose’s initial video quickly racked up over 5 million views, with one person exclaiming, “I would watch 100 episodes of this!”
In response to that comment, Rose posted another store makeover. This one seemed to be an even bigger success, as the outfits on the mannequin were swapped out the following day, indicating that they were possibly sold.
@elll.rose Replying to @2 Legit 2 Knit 📍Debra – York Place, Brighton @Scarlett Elizabeth #charityshop #styling #sustainablefashion ♬ Twin Me – Get Mi
When not doing store mannequin makeovers, Rose shares budget-friendly sustainable fashion tips, upcycled outfit ideas, and transformed thrift store finds with her 146,000 followers.
Her enthusiasm reflects a collective mindset shift that younger generations have experienced toward fashion.
While yes, fast fashion and its siren call of trendy clothes at discounted prices perseveres, secondhand shopping has also become increasingly popular, particularly among millennials and Gen Zers. Business has boomed for in-person stores like Buffalo Exchange and Goodwill, as well as online retailers like ThredUp and Depop, due to customers wanting to both save money and incorporate more environment-friendly shopping practices.
It just goes to show that saving the planet never goes out of style. That’s a fashion statement we can all get behind.
If you want even more of Rose’s content, you can follow her on TikTok here.
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