Why its so hard to find football shirts in Charity Shops in the UK?

A look into how the vintage market has taken football shirts off the rails

Go back 4-5 years, you will walk into a charity shop and find a gem sitting there for only £7 or £5 or even £2, you get excited and you go to the next shop and can't find anything, but then go to another one and find another bargain. 

Not that you can not find rare shirts at bargain prices in charity shops now, but the amount of effort and shops required to visit is a lot of leg work now compared to 5 years ago. 

And one of the main reasons for this is simply 'the rag trade'. 

What is the rag trade? 

Rag companies or houses or in other words textile recyclers are large warehouses that both import and export used clothing around the world they also buy used clothing direct from charity shops. 

How does this affect buying football shirts from Charity shops? 

You see these companies have contracts with both large and small charities to buy unsorted rag direct from the charity shops. They go in and buy tonnes of used clothing from charity shops that are yet unsorted and many of these bags they pick up have football shirts in them. 

Chances are you walked into a charity shop and saw no football shirts, was so disappointed and walked out, we know that feeling, but just know there are football shirts in that charity shop its just you can't see them as they're in the back somewhere bagged up and ready to be sold to these firms. 

What happens to these shirts after they are sorted? 

Sometimes these shirts are sold to companies in the UK however a large amount of them are sold overseas to countries in Eastern Europe in particular Poland and Ukraine, and the middle east. 

Ever wondered how some sellers in Eastern Europe obtain a large number of shirts to sell and in particular Premier League and EFL Club shirts? Thats how! 

Since Covid 19 and the lockdown, the charity sector took a huge hit and the vast majority of them ended up signing more contracts with these firms hence why if you noticed going football shirt hunting after lockdown and trying to secure a gem has been really tough. 

Has this affected your football shirt-hunting experience? Let us know in the comments below! 

1 comment

  • Edward Lischin

    Simply supply and demand. In addition there are so many more resellers now.

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