Re-Fashion. Saviours or Con Artists?


Re-make Re-use Re-pair Re-fashion 

Re-Fashion sells donated high-quality women’s clothes and in return funds charitable causes. Their mission is to make fashion sustainable for good but what does this mean and who’s really benefitting?

The U.K throws away 350,000 tonnes of good quality clothes each year. In monetary terms that’s £140 million worth of used, but wearable, clothing going to waste.

Re-Fashion helps to keep these clothes in the loop.

Their website lists 1000s of second-hand items ready to be bought from brands like Boden, Jigsaw, Karen Millen, M&S, Monsoon, Oasis…

There are some great pieces on there and the prices are very reasonable. Who wouldn’t be happy picking up a pair of Levis in good condition for £17 or a Karen Millen dress in excellent condition for a quarter of the retail price?

Purchasing second-hand clothing is a great sustainable option for adding new additions to your wardrobe and keeping old clothing out of landfill. 

Re-Fashion second hand womenswear

How it Works

Re-Fashion relies on donations. If you have old clothes that you wish to donate, all you need to do is go on their website, request a donation bag, fill it with clothes and post it back for free. Re-Fashion only accepts women’s clothing. Dresses, trousers, tops, bodysuits, sweaters, skirts, shorts, jeans, coats, jackets, sportswear, and activewear.

They want high street fashion and designer brands but don’t want fast fashion labels like Primark and so won’t list them. They also don’t accept, shoes, bags, and accessories, non-clothing items: toys, books, sports gear, etc, sleepwear, underwear, nightwear, men’s and kid’s clothing, illegal or counterfeit items, altered items, and items without sizes. They ask for everything to be clean and won’t accept anything with rips, broken parts, stains or odours. The list is pretty extensive.

So Where Does Your Donation Go?

The Rieves Foundation

Donations are listed and sold on the Re-Fashion website, giving them a new lease of life.

Re-Fashion runs a repair shop, teaching mending skills so people can extend the life of their clothes. Little Hands Design, which is using storytelling to bring sustainability to life for the next generation. They are also supporting a new generation of socially conscious designers.

Money from sales goes to the Rieves Foundation. The Rieves foundation is a registered charity. Currently, the Rieves Foundation website doesn’t give much away but it does say;

“The Rieves Foundation supports sustainability to ensure better outcomes for our planet and the people who live on it. A sustainable approach will drive a better quality of life, now and for generations to come.  The foundation supports initiatives which help people to help the planet.”

Digging a little deeper into the Rieves Foundation you find that it is part of the Re-Fashion Foundation. Founded in 2013. Data for the financial the Rieves Foundation year ending 31st March 2015 shows a total income of £71,216 and total expenditure of £47,488

So how much money is going to The Rieves Foundation?

According to the Re-Fashion FAQ’s The higher the value an item sells for on Re-Fashion, the more money goes to charity.

Payment is as follows:

1. £00.00 – £40       – 20% to Rieves Foundation

2. £40.01 – £100     – 40%

3. +£100                – 60%

This doesn’t seem like much. You could sell the clothes yourself on Ebay or Depop and give the entirety direct to the charity of your choice, or you could donate the item directly to the charity of your choice for them to sell.

How much of the money that The Rieves Foundation receives goes into their charitable projects? Unfortunately, they currently don’t have this information available. There’s a chance that only a small percentage of that 20% actually ends up going to charitable causes. 

The idea of the website is great, buy second-hand clothes, donate clothes, re-use, help charities, stope clothing ending up in landfill. I just can’t help but be cynical and think that charities aren’t the main benefactors from sales and donations. More open and transparent information on who runs the company and what happens to the rest of the money would be great. What percentage goes to staff, into marketing etc? Transparency is key to credibility.

I would also like to know more information on the website about things like the sustainability of the packaging, what the recycling bags are made from, how big the carbon footprint of the company is?

If Re-Fashion would like to talk more to Sustainable UK Fashion about their practices we would be happy to listen.

Or find out Asda’s new recycling scheme that gives you money off your shopping.


Jon Mitchell
Originally from Brighton, UK. Jon graduated with a BA (Hons) Menswear Fashion Design Degree. He's worked as a Senior Sportswear Designer for Puma, Football Kit Designer at Umbro, Streetwear designer at Bench, Technical Outdoorwear Designer at Regatta Outdoors, and Denim designer at Next. Freelance clients in his portfolio include Adidas, Ellesse, Timberland and Ecko Unltd. Now residing in the beautiful village of Marsden, in the West Yorkshire countryside. Jon set up J Mitchell Design in 2017 which quickly gained a reputation as one of the UK's leading fashion design studios winning the award for Best Men's Fashion Design Studio UK 2019. JMitchellDesign has helped create and launch multi-product fashion start-up brands across sportswear, activewear, equestrian, lifestyle, and performance sectors. Along with his team of sustainable sourcing experts, Jon is working on sustainable projects to help change the destructive nature of the fashion industry. Visit his website or email him at to find out more.

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