Sophie Helou Pre-Loved Clothes Interview

Updating your winter look? Don't bin your clothes, donate them!

Australian Red Cross is asking the fashion-conscious to be eco-conscious and donate pre-loved winter fashion to Red Cross Shops.

Australia's love affair of fashion is well documented, with ABC's -War on Waste' reporting that we dispose of 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste every ten minutes. And with people under 40 turning their wardrobe around faster than most, Red Cross is asking young Australians to think about how they dispose of their clothes, as they restock their wardrobes for a new season.

For Australian Red Cross' annual winter donation drive, Head of Retail Richard Wood says Red Cross Shops are the perfect destination for the garments people no longer wear.

'For people who love fashion and are looking to freshen up their look, think twice before throwing pre-loved items away as Red Cross Shops will gladly take them."

'Every year Australians make a big contribution to the environment by donating clothing to Red Cross Shops and saving it from going to landfill."

'Last season's winter coats, boots and jumpers are perfect for resale in our op shop network, and you can feel good knowing you are making a positive contribution to the environment, while raising funds for our life changing services.

'The money raised from your knitted scarves and fleecy jumpers can be turned into a daily phone call to help elderly Australians stay safe and independent at home; they could be used to provide a shower and a hot meal for a teenager facing homelessness; or clean drinking water for communities living in poverty."

Red Cross relies on the support and donations of generous Australians – we couldn't do what we do without them. Find your nearest store to donate your winter woollies:

Interview with Sophie Helou

Fashion is in the blood for Sophie, with her mum Faye working as a runway and editorial model for Grace Brothers (now Myer) when Sophie was a young girl. Sophie purchases something new to add to her collection every week, with staples from brands like David Jones, Rodeo Show, Karen Millen, Seed and Nike. She also loves Australian designers.

Sophie shops mindfully and prefers brands that stand the test of time, but when it's time to retire them she is happy to donate them to Red Cross Shops, and it's as simple as taking them to work, as she is employed in fundraising at Australian Red Cross.

'When I hear about people throwing their clothes away, I think why would you? When you can just donate them to a Red Cross Shop for someone else to wear and you're raising funds for a great cause. It's a win-win for everyone.

'And by making a donation of your pre-loved clothes, you're doing something great for the planet. Don't let your stuff go to landfill.

'And if you're someone who invests in your wardrobe and re-sells online, once in a while take your preloved fashion to a local Red Cross Shop instead. It's a simple way to give back," she says.

Question: When did you first begin taking your preloved fashion to a local Red Cross Shop? And how can we easily donate clothes to the Red Cross Shop?

Sophie Helou: I have always given my old clothes a new lease of life in one way or another, like sharing them with my sister and giving them to relatives. We used to have fashion parades as kids in our lounge room when friends and family would come round.

For the last few years, I've been donating my pre-loved clothes, shoes and accessories to my local Red Cross Shops in Paddington and Bondi Junction.

Donating is easy: you just find your local shop and drop the clothes in store. You never know what you'll find when you pop in. You can find your nearest store at

Question: Why is it important for us to be donating pre-loved winter fashion to Red Cross Shops?

Sophie Helou: Donating your clothing to Red Cross shops is not only environmentally sustainable but it also provides vital funds for programs that help people overcome tough times here in Australia and overseas. And for me, that's really motivating. It's a small way I can make a difference.

Question: Can you talk us through the items you've recently donated to Red Cross Shops?

Sophie Helou: Every quarter I do a wardrobe overhaul and donate the things I haven't worn in the last 6-12 months. I like to do this regularly as it not only frees up my wardrobe space and helps me to better see the collection I have, but it also means that my old clothes can go to a good home, whilst they are still in fashion.

Some of the things I've recently donated are things like a leather skirt from Rodeo Show, a couple of skirts from Marcs, various tops and jumpers; all things that someone is going to love!

My view is that a new outfit, even if it's pre-loved, can make you feel like a new person. I see it so often: a new dress or suit can give someone newly found confidence. So while I might be sick of something I purchased last year, it could make someone else's day!

Question: Have you purchased any items from Red Cross Shops, recently?

Sophie Helou: I mostly donate my clothes, but if I ever see a cute accessory, why not buy it? The proceeds go to helping people doing it tough.

Question: What are your favourite brands, currently?

Sophie Helou: Currently the brands I love are Museum: love their wrap leather skirt, Tallulah, Rodeo Show, Karen Millen and Nike for my active wear.

Question: Can you share a Winter style tip, with us?

Sophie Helou: My winter style tips: layering is obviously mandatory, but a great pair of boots (or two) can really make an outfit an give it a different look.

Be a bit brave and try thigh high boots with a mini skirt or some killer ankle boots with cuffed jeans.

Interview by Brooke Hunter



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