#SecondHandSeptember done right…
Updated: Sep 14, 2020
These days, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, its hard to go a day without hearing the word ‘sustainability’. With the media taking more of an interest and raising awareness of the impact fast fashion has on our environment, more and more of us are cutting down on our boohoo hauls and making more of an effort to shop second-hand. Who doesn't love a theme right? So this month #secondhandseptember is trending and all of the cool kids are showing off their vintage garms and thrift store finds all over 'the gram'.
It’s estimated that the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions and 20% of industrial water pollution comes from treating and dyeing textiles. Many fast fashion brands buy cheaply from sweatshops with terrible working conditions and long hours for little pay and all of this is before around 85% of textiles end up in landfill. Shocking right? And the problem is only getting worse… In 2020, garments are only worn half as long as they were in 2002 and fashion chains have increased their offerings from two collections per year to five or more (Zara released 24 collections last year). Knowing how problematic fast fashion is has given a lot of us the push towards making more of an effort towards sustainable fashion and if you’re thinking of changing your own shopping habits then getting involved in second-hand September is a great place to start.
Second-hand September is a challenge going around on social media to only buy pre-owned clothes for the month of September. Now I’m not going to lie, I love my asos orders and the thought of giving them up brings me out in a bit of a cold sweat, but hey, what’s a month to help the planet? and like my now five days a week of veganism (quite proud of that), I’m hoping that I can transition slowly into mostly giving up fast fashion. So you might be seeing all of the cute vintage looks people are serving on the hashtags and wondering where on earth they found them. Don’t worry, I got you girl… Here’s my guide to shopping second hand…
These days, charity shops have had a bit of an image makeover and as more of us are buying second-hand its now more popular than ever to go for a Saturday afternoon rummage in your local cancer research. They are way cheaper than the high street, you can get some real bargains as well as the warm and fuzzy of knowing your hard-earned cash has gone to a cause rather than a corporation. They are obviously hit and miss but in most towns there’s loads of them so grab your bestie and your tote bag and make a day of it. You never know what people are going to donate, I’ve picked up Ted Baker and Tommy Hilfiger from Oxfam before and don’t forget to have a mooch in the accessories. The more we donate our clothes the more availability of pre-owned fashion will improve so if you don’t really need anything this month then think about getting involved by having a clear out and donating all that wardrobe clutter that you're just not feeling so it can be someone else's new fave.
Vintage shopping has been popular for a while and a lot of cute vintage stores have opened to meet the demand. The great thing about vintage shops is that everything is a one off, so if you’re all about a look that no one else is going to be rocking then you’ll love them. In Birmingham, there’s some amazing ones in Digbeth and you can get some really cool, unique stuff as well as supporting a local independent business. They can be pricier than the high street but things were made better back in the day so the quality is usually better. Also the size range isn’t great but still well worth a look. If you haven’t really got any local to you, there are quite a few online such as Rokit and Beyond Retro.
Companies like ‘the vintage kilo sale’ visit different areas and bring literally tonnes of vintage clothes with them to sell. You can rummage through rails and rails of stuff, fill up your basket and at the end weigh it in and pay for it by the kilo. Its normally around £15 a kilo which usually gets you somewhere around 4 to 5 items unless you’re buying coats or something heavy. The rails are usually sorted by category so you have to go through quite a lot of stuff to find things in your size so be prepared to make a day of it. Check the men’s section if you’re in to customising T-shirts as you can get some that are really cool and don’t forget to bring your own bags with you unless you fancy juggling your new threads back to the car. Because everything works out so cheap its really easy to do the age old Primark thing we’ve all done where you chuck it in thinking its only £2, get to the till and suddenly its £102. If you’re on a budget there’s usually weigh stations around so you can avoid having to style out accidentally spending a fortune. The events are usually advertised on facebook or Eventbrite so keep an eye open in your area. A lot of events have been postponed because of covid, some are starting to start back up but who knows what's going to happen and they can get quite busy, not sure it would be that easy to socially distance. Definitely something to keep in mind for when we eventually get our lives back though.
Depop is an app for buying and selling second-hand clothes and you can find all sorts on there. If you struggle to find a decent range of preowned clothes in your size then depop is your new best friend as it cuts out the searching through racks and racks of things you’d struggle to get a leg in and takes you straight to your wardrobe refresh. I’ve had quite a lot of stuff off there that has barely been worn and some stuff you could even still buy in the shops and there’s quite a big range on there. If you don’t really want to buy anything we’ve all got things in our wardrobe we’ve just for some reason never really worn, the thing with second-hand shopping is its not just about buying its also about thinking more about what we do with our own clothes. It’s not much effort to list them, you can make a few quid, declutter and stop your clothes ending up in landfill way before their time.
If you love your labels then your prayers may well have been answered as Selfridges have partnered with Oxfam with a pop-up store in their Oxford Street branch for second-hand September. Don't worry if you're live nowhere near its also available online. Its all designer so not the most affordable but if you’re in the market for some Chanel then give Resellfridges a look. Spending £1500 on a bag is not most people’s idea of thrift shopping but if you were planning on buying the handbag of your dreams anyway then you could save a few quid by buying one that's in really good condition second-hand. Its great that a big brand has started to take notice of sustainability and hopefully more brands will follow suit and start doing better.
Asos is obviously a major player in fast fashion but if you check out asos marketplace theres actually a fair bit of vintage on there. It does show that they are at least aware of the problem and are exploring more options of offering more sustainable choices. You’ll find quite a few 90’s retro sports brands sweatshirts such as adidas and fila which look quite old-school cool now as well as the over sized vintage denim jackets that dreams are made of. It’s also full of small independent brands so if your trying to go for a more slow fashion wardrobe going forward and like to support independent businesses you can find some amazing brands on there.
Ever wondered what influencers do with ALLLLL those clothes? Well quite a few of them end up on ebloggers. Most of the stuff on there has only been worn for a couple of photos so it's pretty much new and some of it is even still available on the brands website so well worth checking before you buy. You can get all sorts on there, you can shop by size and there's a decent range of sizes on there. There's also a fair bit of designer if you're a bargain hunting labels queen (if you know you know 😉)
Big sister swap
If you fancy switching up your wardrobe but the only currency you’ve got is clothes you already own then swapping them is a great option. Big sister swap is a clothes swapping service that you send your unwanted clothes to and they send you handpicked preloved clothes in return based on questions you answer about your style. They put a lot of the stuff they’ve got on their instagram page and you can message them to reserve items if you don’t fancy a surprise. You pay them for the service for the amount you swap, its quite cheap starting at £5.
There’s loads of people selling their old clothes and a lot of the time you can get stuff quite cheap. Ebay is the original online auction, a lot of stuff on there is companies selling new clothes but there’s still plenty of second-hand bargains to be had and who doesn't love a good bidding war.
Shpock and Facebook marketplace
Shpock and facebook marketplace are great for saving on delivery fees as they connect you with people selling clothes locally so you can just pop out and pick it up.
If you don’t fancy parting with any cash then start a clothes swap in the group chat with your girls. Obviously be mindful of covid but when its safe you could make a night of it, all bring your unwanted clothes to someone’s house, get the prosecco in and have a good old-fashioned try on.
If you’re going to give second-hand September a go I’d absolutely love to see your finds so please tag me on instagram in your cute vintage looks.
Happy shopping everyone.
I got my info on the effects of fast fashion from this article from business insider, have a read if you want to know more