Shopping sustainably has never been more in vogue and while we're missing our frequent charity shop hauls as Level 5 restrictions keep them shuttered for now, there is no shortage of ways to shop sustainably online. 

From Instagram thrift shops and vintage spots, to Depop, Ebay and other online marketplaces, sustainable shoppers have been snapping up treasures left, right and centre. 

With that comes the thrilling challenge of rocking their secondhand and vintage pieces in chic and modern ways. And if you think you've got sustainable style down, here's your chance to prove it. 

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Online charity shop Thriftify and Ireland's top sustainable advocates The Useless Project are launching a nationwide search for Ireland's top sustainable stylist.

"We are looking for participants to have a bit of fun with this - to let those creative juices flow and really show off your personality with each ensemble!" The Useless Project tell us. "We want to see individuality, confidence and personal flair. We would love to find people who know how to make clothes sing and stand out from a crowd, and who can find a preloved jewel amongst the rest of the bargains on Thriftify.ie."

The Thrift-Off will see 16 lucky applicants face off with a €50 budget – scant on the high street but a splurge-worthy amount in charity shops – using it to pull together three outfits. The looks will then be shared on The Useless Project's Instagram account, where their 43,000 followers will vote on which is the fiercest look. 

The lucky winner will be treated to every thrifter's dream: a visit to a charity shop warehouse, once restrictions allow, where they can have their pick of all the finds before they hit the shops!

On top of this, they'll receive a €100 cash prize and a unique 15%-off code for Thriftify they can share with friends and family. 

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Having started as Sustainable Fashion Dublin, a community of slow fashion enthusiasts and organisers of swap shops and flea markets, Geraldine Carton and Taz Kelleher of The Useless Project have turned the community into a thriving movement that seeks to show how chic, fun and conscious sustainability can be. 

"The quality of the clothing you get in charity shops is far superior than what you would get on the high street as they are from back when clothing was made to last", the pair tell us. "Sustainable styling also encourages people to discover their own personal style. It's very easy to open up a magazine, see what's on trend, pop into a high street shop, get the luck and you're good to go.

"With sustainable, in particular secondhand clothing, it requires much more creativity. Mixing new and old, vintage and upcycled gems people can really explore how they want to dress as opposed to how magazines and marketing tell them to dress."

With more of us being mindful of what we buy, as well as making the most of our wardrobes post-Covid, shopping sustainably has become a passion for many people. Every year in the UK and Ireland 150 billion items are donated to 15,000 charity shops – including books, clothes, furniture, electronics, jewellery, games, DVD's and more.

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As for the turning tide when it comes to shopping sustainably, the pair have believe it comes from an awareness of and worry about climate change and personal responsibility. 

"With the effects of climate change becoming more apparent people are beginning to question how their actions are compounding the problem", they say. "The fast fashion industry is one of the most environmentally destructive industries in the world and the days are gone where we can put the blinkers on and pretend us consumers are not part of the problem.

"Rethinking our consumption habits when it comes to clothing is one of the most accessible ways a person can cut down their water and carbon footprint  so it tends to be where more people start their sustainable journeys.

"Sustainable fashion doesn't have to be grey, boring and itchy but rather fun, colourful and creative. As of late, Instagram has been the perfect platform for sustainable fashionistas to showcase this."

Applications open from Tuesday 23rd of Feb and close on Monday March 1st.