I have been very vocal here about my love of charity shops (see here and here for some hauls that I have done in the past). I was delighted to join more than 40k people – and counting – and take the pledge to say no to new clothes for the month of September by participating in Oxfam’s Second Hand September drive. Here are a few reasons why I am so keen to participate:
Combating the environmental cost of creating new clothes
Like many people, my eyes were opened to the hugely negative environmental impact of the manufacturing process of clothes thanks to the Stacey Dooley documentary ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’. One fact that will stay with me forever is that to grow and process the cotton used in a single pair of jeans and one t-shirt is around 20,000 litres of water. It would take a person 13 years to drink all that water. Given that these garments are often produced in countries where water is a scarce resource, since learning of this terrible environmental impact I can no longer in full consciousness carry on consuming fashion like I used to.
Keeping clothes out of landfill
It used to be that clothes were expensive to buy but were robustly made, which meant they lasted a long time, and if a button came off or the fabric became torn, we would mend the garment and continue to wear it. These days however were are in the era of ‘fast fashion’. Trends come and go on what feels like a monthly basis and shops like Primark and Boohoo cater to the demand with items that cost only a few pounds. Oxfam estimate that the UK population throw 11 million items into landfill each year, which would weigh as much as the Empire State Building. What a jaw dropping statistic. There really needs to be a huge cultural shift in terms of not buying into short term trends and also donating clothes or mending them rather than binning them.
It’s a but of an obvious point but it’s important to remember that when you buy clothes from a charity shop you are helping to enable them to carry out their charitable endeavours rather than lining the pockets of people who probably don’t need more money!
Saving money whilst looking good
I have had countless charity shop bargains over the years – in fact, as I type this I am wearing my £3 Laura Ashley dress which I always get complimented on. I enjoy the challenge of looking for hidden gems among the rails and it’s such a thrill when something catches your eye. It is so much more fun shopping in charity shops than regular shops, trust me, plus the savings are huge – the below Boden dress cost me just £5 but would have been £75 originally.
So, what are you waiting for? Get involved in Second Hand September!