Regular readers will know that I buy second hand a lot – most of the time in fact. However, I really want to support and promote Oxfam’s #SecondHandSeptember campaign, so I have signed up to pledge that I will buy no new clothing for 30 days. How about joining in?
I wrote a post on why you should buy second hand everything whenever possible here.
The problem with fast fashion
Fast fashion is becoming a real issue. Low quality, cheap clothing is being produced in huge quantities and many of us buy something, wear it once or twice, then move onto the next fad.
But what happens to those cast off outfits? Many either languish in the wardrobe until they get thrown away (to landfill) or donated.
There are many reasons why this approach to clothing ourselves is an issue for the environment. Consider:
- The pesticides used to produce cotton and their negative impacts on the environment and the health of those working with them.
- The toxic dyes used to create all those bright colours and their polluting effects on rivers and waterways.
- How little the workforce is probably being paid to make clothing so cheap.
- The plastics which make up many man made fabrics such as polyester, which shed plastic micofibres into our water systems and ultimately our oceans.
- The energy used to produce any item of clothing.
- The fuel consumed whilst transporting them from factory to warehouse, from warehouse to shops, from the shops to your home.
- The packaging, usually single use plastic, used to wrap them.
- Landfill issues – the leaching of toxins into soil and water, the release of greenhouse gases, the space they take up the cost of disposal and more.
There is more detail on the problems caused by fast fashion in this article from the Independent that might persuade you to sign up for #SecondhandSeptember.
What you can do during #SecondhandSeptember
Shop from your wardrobe.
Declutter so that you can see what you own and start to wear things – see my great wardrobe declutter.
Donate your unwanted items to Oxfam or another charity shop.
If you need to buy an item, get it from a boot sale, charity shop or from an online retailer such as eBay.
Host a clothes swap party with friends.
Learn to make small repairs to your clothing. You Tube contains a wealth of information, from how to sew up holes in clothing (or use an iron to do the same), hem a dress or repair a zipper.
If you are the creative type, think about how you can upcycle or improve an unwanted item.
What you can do in the future
Look for second hand first.
Don’t slip into a ‘ everything is so cheap second hand, I will buy it all’ mentality! Buy fewer, better quality second hand items.
If you can’t find anything used, invest in a better quality, new item that will last.
Create a versatile capsule wardrobe.
When you can afford it, buy organic cotton products (although even organic cotton has an environmental impact) or clothing made from recycled materials.
Don’t buy anything unless you know you will wear it.
Try clothes on before you buy them to make sure they fit suit you (and definitely before you remove the labels).
Look after your clothes. Wash them as infrequently as possible and on the right setting. Polish your leather shoes and bags. Make small repairs before they turn into impossible repairs!
Use clothes until they are worn out, then recycle the textiles through your local council.
If you are a fashionista (which I’m clearly not!), consider vintage clothing.
Along with other members of the UK Money Bloggers community, I will posting more both on the blog, on my Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram as #SecondhandSeptember progresses. (Check out the #ukmoneybloggers hashtag.) It would be lovely to hear your thoughts on whether you have decided to join in.
Please share Oxfam’s #SecondhandSeptember campaign and pin this post if you use Pinterest. Thanks!