“The coolest school store ever” (Tatler’s Education Editor)

St Paul’s very own charity shop, Restore has recently been transformed from a dank basement unit into a chic, all-white boutique with more than a passing resemblance to Urban Outfitters.

“Unlike a charity shop, we try our best to use 100% of our donations,” explains Harley Greasley, one of the VII responsible for Restore’s reincarnation. Anything that can’t be sold will be recycled in some way, by repurposeing or upcycling usable fabric, so that nothing is wasted or discarded.

Donated clothes are laundered and steam-ironed before being professionally displayed on new hanging racks, part of the radical change the Restore team achieved in a short two-week period, which also saw grimy walls being repainted and changing rooms installed, with an overall emergence of a minimalist but welcoming space.

Restore also runs a popular PE kit hire service for girls who have lost or forgotten their kit. For a very reasonable £2 a day for one item or £4 for 3 items, students can borrow a large selection of uniform items in a variety of sizes, so there’s no longer any excuse for getting a kit mark!

The shop sells much more than just clothes and aims to stock items which students would find useful in their daily lives, such as hand sanitiser, lip balm, stationery, black tights for concerts, water bottles etc. The Restore team welcomes all thoughts and an enthusiastic group of MIVs and UIVs have already been suggesting items they’d like to see in store.

The team organises special initiatives for holidays and other occasions, for example on Valentine’s Day they delivered heart shaped lollipops around the school and to SPS, despite the near-impossibility of finding recipients at the boys’ school without an Almanac! They also stock giftable items such as pretty plant pots, jewellery and so on.

Restore have many exciting plans. Upcycling workshops are being developed so Paulinas can learn how to give their clothes a new lease of life and Madame Delage has agreed to work with Restore and hold sewing lessons which are open to all students. They also run a depop-style service for anyone wishing to sell their things, rather than donate them.

So how can we support Restore? From next year, the team may need help with manning the store but they always need donations of clothes, shoes and accessories so please have a look at home and see what you can give them. Then pop into the store to find something “new” for your wardrobe! In the time, check out Restore’s amazing new Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/restore.spgs/

Amara V