For the past 25 years, Traid has been a pioneer of second-hand and charity retail, on a mission to change fashion for the better. To date, with the support of customers, donors and supporters, over the years we have put a whopping 233 million garments back into use, saving 628,638 tonnes of CO2 and 106.6 million m3 of water. Alongside our environmental work collecting, curating and selling second-hand, we have committed £7.5 million to 50 projects in over 30 countries around the world. 

This 25th anniversary, we’re sharing our journey to becoming the charity retailer you know and love. 

The evolution of Traid’s logo from 1999 to 2024.

Reinventing charity retail 

On Tuesday 15th June 1999, set against a backdrop of grunge t-shirts, neon rave gear and brit pop parkas, Traid opened its doors starting with four charity shops and a network of clothing banks, with the aim of raising funds to fight global poverty. We championed second-hand and reinvented charity retail, by purposefully curating clothing donations, with a unique process that allowed us to maximise the money we raised per garment. Following our first year in operation, we fundraised £347,000 towards four initial global projects.

Reimagining second-hand

In the early 2000s, we reimagined clothes reuse, creating our very own upcycling brand TRAID Remade. Handcrafted here in the UK, the one-of-a-kind pieces designed by creative minds and artists like Alex Noble and Oliva Hegarty hit the shelves of one of the biggest retailers on Oxford Street, taking second-hand style and the good work of charity retail mainstream.

Over the next decade, we launched educational programmes for people of all ages to learn about the value of our clothes, their impact on the planet and importantly, who makes them. In fact, we were the first charity to register selling second-hand clothes as an environmental charitable objective with the Charity Commision, beyond our fundraising activity.

A TRAID Remade collection by Oliva Hegarty.
TRAID Remade in collaboration with Alex Noble, 2015.
TRAID Remade the ‘Gemma Dress’, 2012.

A decade of growth 

Fast forward to 2009, we continued expanding and marked our tenth anniversary by opening our tenth shop in the heart of Camden Town. Our Camden store was designed with our ethos in mind of keeping good items in use for longer and was fitted with reclaimed timber, fabrics and metal. That year, our work to stop clothes from being thrown away was shortlisted at the Charity Awards, as the Environmental Charity of the Year.

Inside Traid Camden, 2009.

It was also in 2009 where we funded our very first fashion-related project in Benin to support farmers to grow organic cotton and 15 years later, we’re proud to continue this good work. Our long term funding has greatly expanded the project’s work and to date we have supported over 6,000 farmers to learn how to grow organic cotton, where 4,475 farmers are certified organic cotton growers!

Delphine Bodjrenou, Gender Coordinator at OBEPAB, Benin.

Transforming fashion for the better

By 2012, we narrowed the focus of our charitable funding and exclusively began supporting international projects that free the textile supply chain from exploitation and environmental harm and have been working hard on this ever since. 

As we expanded our retail offer, opening our twelfth shop in Peckham in 2014, we also introduced a new way for Londoners to donate clothes, launching our free home collection service. Initially covering four London boroughs, we quickly expanded the service so that all London households could easily donate clothes to the charity. Ten years since launching the service, our community has passed on an incredible 14,448,000 garments via home collections alone!  

Traid’s new look home collection van, 2024.
Traid’s past home collection van design.

Our educational work saw us launching campaigns to highlight the environmental impacts of the fashion industry and clothing consumption. When our research found that almost a quarter of the clothes in Londoners’ wardrobes were unworn, we ran our 23% Campaign in 2018, to get people to reevaluate their wardrobes and pass on the clothes they no longer wear. Backed by our partners and famous faces such as Emma Watson, in just one year, Londoners helped us put over 1 million garments back into use.

Championing charity retail

Now, after 25 years of putting second-hand first, our mission continues. In February as part of our 25th anniversary celebrations we unveiled Traid’s refreshed brand identity, with a renewed focus on making second-hand fashion the first and most normal choice over new. 

Traid’s new look Shepherd’s Bush store.

Our Chief Exective, Maria Chenoweth, believes that the work and mission continues with Traid, determined to continue championing charity retail and second-hand fashion, “Whilst the fashion industry isn’t moving on, Traid is. With 65% of the population now wearing something second-hand, we are on a mission to make this 100%. Traid is refreshing itself and its brand to make the appeal of second-hand and charity retail even more inclusive. Traid will continue its journey of offering a genuine alternative to high street fashion, whilst funding projects that benefit the people that make our clothes.”

In 2024 we are marking our landmark anniversary with a season of activations, projects, partnerships and will be rolling out our new look into more of our shops, as we continue to help change fashion for the better.