Conscious Clothing – How Shopping Second-Hand Can Help You AND Earth
Updated: May 15
It’s officially September in four days, and that means the days are getting shorter and the temperature is going to start getting cooler! I, for one, am rather excited for Autumn; cosy jumpers, yummy hot chocolate, and long walks through rusty coloured leaves all fill me with joy! But the colder weather means that, despite the scorching bank holiday weekend we’ve just had, I’m already thinking about my winter wardrobe!
I must admit, trawling through forgotten boxes and the deep, dark, Narnia at the back of my wardrobe for thick cardigans, un-ripped jeans, and chunky boots doesn’t sound like the most fun I could be having, and with plenty of shops constantly bringing out new trends it’s difficult to not want to buy an entirely new wardrobe for the colder months! However, buying new clothes is not only incredibly expensive, but is also really bad for the environment. It is estimated that around 140 million pounds worth of clothing goes into landfill each year in the UK – that is such a huge negative impact on the environment, and something we could all help to change!
But there is another way of getting that brand-new (to you!) winter wardrobe without the negative implications on the environment, and that is shopping second-hand. Did you know that it takes approximately 1,800 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans? By prolonging the life-span of clothing and not buying into fast fashion, you can still get that ‘new-clothes’ feeling with none of the guilt! If you’re a little unsure on what fast fashion actually is, don’t worry, you’re not alone! I will be going into further detail in a future blog post, but for now the main definition is “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.” This basically means any clothing that has a fast turn-around in response to the most popular styles in fashion at the time. The problem with this is that any clothing brands that contribute to fast fashion encourage people to constantly buy more clothes to fit in with the trends and throw old clothes away, and any clothes that don’t get sold go straight to land-fill.
Boycotting fast-fashion and shopping second-hand doesn’t mean you have to forego the latest trends, however! Depop, for example, is a fab place to shop if you want those brand names but in a more sustainable way. Plus, it’s a fab platform for selling all your old clothes that you don’t wear anymore – better for the environment and you can even make a bit of money from it! Charity shops are also a great place to find some hidden treasures that are still high-street worthy, be it the perfect midi-skirt or a cheeky date-night outfit, and you can walk away knowing that not only are you helping the planet but your money is going to some really great charities too!
Another place to pick up some great second-hand garments is at car boot sales. A favourite, very British – and truly underrated, might I add – pastime of mine is getting up early and checking out the local boot-sales. Alongside clothes, you can expect to find loads of second-hand books, records, and tons of little items that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a high-street shop, and half the time didn't even know you wanted! Plus, by shopping at car-boot sales you know your money is helping out families rather than going into big brands that are contributing to the waste, water usage, and carbon emissions that are so badly affecting our planet.
If you’re still unsure about shopping second-hand, why you should do it, or want to find out more about how it can help the environment, then head over to Oxfam! They have introduced a new campaign called ‘Second Hand September’, which encourages people to say no to buying new clothes for the entire month. “Every week 11 million items of clothing end up in landfill” so it really is important for everyone to be more sustainable when it comes to style and start shopping second-hand. By visiting their website and pledging to ‘say no to new clothes for 30 days’ you will be contributing to the entire well-being of the planet, and you’ll even be able to save a few pounds! Plus, if you do shop at charity shops like Oxfam, you’ll also be contributing to life-saving charities too.
By signing up, you will receive loads of shopping tips, tricks, and inspo to help you make not only September but hopefully the rest of your second-hand shopping days easier – and with only days to go it’s the perfect reason to start!
It’s a fab campaign, and I’ll definitely be signing up! If anyone wants to join me the link is here - and don’t forget to use the hashtag #SecondHandSeptember so myself and others can see all your awesome new second-hand clothes when you post about them on Instagram!
[I am in no way affiliated with Oxfam or their campaign, anything not hyperlinked is my own words, and I am sharing the Second Hand September campaign simply because I think others should hear about it]