Second Hand September

Fast fashion is contributing to the destruction of our planet. It is estimated that fast fashion contributes to 10% of overall greenhouse gas emissions [1]. Millions of clothing garments end up in landfill each year meaning tonnes of textiles are destroying the ennvironment [2]. Second hand September, a movement organised by Oxfam encourages stepping away from supporting fast fashion giants and instead purchasing preloved pieces of clothing.

I was a supporter of fast fashion. I bought new dresses on a regular basis and a lot of my wardrobe is from fast fashion companies. I stopped buying from such places about three years ago.

So what is fast fashion and why is it bad? Fast fashion refers to clothing which is usually inexpensive. It is clothing produced quickly and on a mass-market level [3]. The design / idea for the garment to its production is created rapidly allowing fast fashion giants to constantly churn out new designs and respond to seasonal changes.

Producing textiles requires enormous amounts of resources like water. Most fast fashion items are made in South America and Asia creating a further enviornmental impact in terms of the carbon miles required from production to consupmtion. It is also widely reported that treatment of workers is generally unfair and often unethical. The pandemic has highlighted the mistreatment of garment workers with reports of companies refusing to pay for their orders. Reports also showed the mistreatment of workers of a certain onliner retailer in the UK in terms of health and safety and pay. Although many fast fashion retailers are advertising that they are supporting the environment or acting in a conscious manner, this is nothing but greenwashing.

Second Hand September encourages moving away from purchasing clothing that is damaging the planet. There are plenty of gorgeous items available through charity shops and online sellers. There is a great range of styles and sizes available that is inexpensive and in the case of charity shops, supporting great causes.

There are misconceptions about second hand clothing, that it will be in poor condition or dirty. This is not the case at all, often items that end up being sold still have original tags on them and have never been used. Purchasing second hand items allows for finding incredible vintage items that cannot be replicated by fast fashion giants.

I have purchased some great pieces from charity shops, vintage sellers on Instagram and apps like Depop and Adverts. Some of my favourite items include a 1960s purple cape, a pair of Louboutins, a Betsey Johnson cat bag and a Hell Bunny 1950s inspired dress.

Supporting Second Hand September reduces the problem of overconsupmtion, prevents items ending up in landfill and provides income for worthy causes.

  1. UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
    Change). UN Helps Fashion Industry Shift to Low Carbon, 2018.
    carbon September 6.

3. Examining climate change and sustainable/fast
fashion in the 21st century: ‘Trash the Runway’. 2021. Boykoff et al. Oxford Open Climate Change.