Everyone from Kate Moss to Sadie Frost and Gwen Stefani has been working the red carpet in second hand, value-for-money couture. Shopping for seconds is suddenly stylish and also bang on trend with the current lust for ethical living.
Belfast has a growing number of specialist shops catering specifically for people interested in re-used, more environmentally friendly clothing.
In a recently launched campaign to encourage more people to buy second-hand, arc21 - a waste management body set up by 11 council areas in the eastern region of Northern Ireland - challenged two thrifty shoppers to find an outfit in under three hours, for under £30 searching only second hand stores.
We asked two stylish bargain hunters to take up the gauntlet and find out if it's possible to get high fashion on a low budget without compromising your ethics.
Andrea Langelaan (25) is from Melbourne and has been living in Belfast working as a nurse for the past two years. She says:
I wasn't worried about completing the challenge. I normally shop quite often in second-hand stores and when it came to getting my outfit I actually came in under budget.
I think my dress sense is maybe a little bit quirky. I like to wear some mainstream things but then add a bit of a twist, a little bit of an edge. On the high street there's a tendency for everyone to have the same thing but I find a lot of one-off pieces in second-hand stores and often get quite good quality clothes for very little. I enjoy mixing and matching items from high street stores and vintage.
I had a great time on the challenge and tried on loads of stuff that I liked. I got a dress, belt and necklace but actually found about four dresses that I liked and a lot of shops had jewellery I would have bought.
I'm originally from Melbourne and there are a lot of areas there where vintage clothing is very popular but I was quite surprised by the variety of clothes in many of the vintage outlets in Belfast.
I've always worn second-hand clothes but I think it's good that now more and more people are doing it because it makes it less scary. It's also easier to shop second hand now because there are more stores popping up.
There's definitely a difference between the vintage outlets and charity shops but often there are great things in the charity shops if you're willing to look.
The fact that wearing second-hand clothing is more environmentally friendly also appeals to me. The clothes are already made so I'm not adding to a clothes pile and then, in turn, my own will be recycled.
The financial aspect also comes into it, I think that's why a lot of younger people are into shopping in vintage stores but also I think younger people often have a particular style that can be catered for more by second-hand shops.
The best thing is that you get a unique item at a good price and really the only difficult thing is that you might have to spend a little more time looking for it. "
Andrea's outfit: dress, £10, Best Vintage, 11 Wellington Place; belt, Cancer Research UK, 593 Lisburn Road; necklace, £6, Raspberry Beret, Spires Court
Shane Teague (28) is a water quality inspector from Omagh who now lives in Belfast. he says:
The challenge was that we would get £30 to spend on a new outfit that we'd bought in charity shops. I got involved through a friend of a friend.
I said I was up for giving it a go but I didn't really think I would get anything for £30.
Usually I would shop in high street stores like Zara and Topman and normally wear T-shirts and jeans but for a pair of jeans it's about £90 and I generally spend about £30 or £40 on a shirt or T-shirt, so I wasn't hopeful!
I started off in charity shops on the Lisburn Road in Belfast. The first shop I went into, a cancer charity one, I saw a pair of cords I liked. They fitted perfectly and were only about £4.50. I was really pleased. I think at that point I started to think I maybe would be able to get a couple of outfits out of the £30.
From there I went on to Botanic and the Rusty Zip. I got a jacket there for £20 that, on the high street, I would easily have bought for £60.
The clothes I got were as good as new and I was really surprised at the quality of everything in the shops. I thought they would be ripped or flawed in some way, but nothing really was.
Also, sometimes I find it's difficult to get things to fit but lots of stuff I tried on fitted perfectly, maybe because it had already been worn in.
It was amazing the number of people I saw in the shops. I thought it would be all old people but there were loads of young people and some shops were bunged. I'd never really noticed a lot of the shops before but for the challenge I went into about 10.
Of course there was some stuff I saw that I would never have put on and some shops I walked in and walked straight out again. But it's the luck of the draw, you might see nothing one day and then walk in the next and see lots - there's quite a quick turnover and it's a case of keeping your eyes open.
I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to hunt for things and you have to be willing to search. It's not as easy as shopping on the high street where everything's set out for you, it's a lot more work. But it's well worth it and I got a bit of a thrill when I found something I liked.
I wanted cool clothes for going to a music festival and the jacket I got really sets off the whole outfit.
It's definitely cool at the moment to wear vintage and it's nice because if you get something in a vintage shop then it's not going to be something that you'll see four or five other people wearing. But also, if I lose my jacket or it gets wrecked then at least it didn't cost too much. After I got my outfit my flatmate went out to a second hand shop and bought a jacket too.
The environmental impact of recycling clothes is also something that matters to me. I did an environmental science degree and work for the Environment and Heritage Service so I've always been concerned with the environment. Most people would never think of clothes as being something that needs to be recycled but it does make a difference. I do all the sorting for the different bins and have a compost heap - but I think every little bit helps.
I wouldn't always have given old clothes to charity because in the past I wasn't sure what they would want but having been in so many shops now, I have a better idea - it's really opened my eyes and recently when I moved house I gave a lot of my old clothes away.
I'll definitely be going back to second hand shops again. I think the specialist vintage shops like the ones in Botanic are good for one-off cool items and the charity shops are great for staples like plain T-shirts. You have to be prepared to do a bit of hoking but it's more satisfying when you find something and you save so much money. I'd recommend it to anyone as a great day's fun."
Shane's outfit: jacket, £20, Rusty Zip, 28 Botanic Avenue; cords, £5, Cancer Research UK, 593 Lisburn Road; tie, £3, Best Vintage, 11 Wellington Place; T-shirt, £2, Oxfam, 8 Castle Street
Top tips for picking up second-hand bargains
÷ Be prepared to spend time looking. Sizes and styles are often mixed up but a thorough hunt can unearth hidden gems.
÷ Go back to shops even if you had no luck there the first time. Clothes are regularly dropped in so you never know when you might strike lucky.
÷ Try online. Specialist internet companies like www.traid.org.uk, www.wornagain.co.uk and www.junkystyling.co.uk offer a wealth of options in stylish recycled clothing.
÷ Leave your own old clothes into a second hand shop, textile bank or charity collection. You may be through with your look but it might be just the thing someone else is looking for.
÷ Pick up vintage treasures and style tips when Belfast has its first ever vintage fashion fair at Ormeau Baths on November 4.