Second Hand September
September is here! In its fight against fast fashion, Oxfam has launched its second 30-day campaign encouraging second-hand shopping. This campaign is right up my street! Thrift shopping is nothing new to me. Growing up in Nairobi, I purchased a majority of my clothing items from the infamous open-air Toi market or as we used to call it, (insert French accent here) Toi Boutique. Toi had the most fashionable second-hand items and I had my favourite vendor who would call me when he received new items from the UK or US. As a newlywed, having relocated with nothing in the UK, with very little disposable income, 50% of our home was furnished from pre-loved items (I actually still own a bread maker and slow cooker that I got for free about 15 years ago!) as were a lot of my daughter’s clothes when she was much younger.
I still enjoy the occasional pre-loved item, particularly antique furniture, decor and books. Some of my best purchases include a mid-century modern sideboard from a local antique furniture seller, a vintage china tea set from Bonny & Blithe, and my latest purchase – a pair of Malone Souliers from Sellier Knightsbridge.
The reasons for shopping second hand are many including:
- saving money (who doesn’t love a bargain!);
- finding unique items;
- reducing the number of items getting tossed in the landfill;
- extending the lifecycle of a product;
- reducing demand for fast fashion; and
- stopping the exploitation of workers.
Although I have been making some changes to shop more sustainably, I am aware that I need to amp my efforts in regards to fashion. I am therefore making a commitment to purchase more quality pre-loved pieces when needed. The #secondhandseptember challenge need not be limited to this month. How about challenging yourself and make this part of your lifestyle? Here’s how:
- Declutter and sell, donate or arrange a swap event (lockdown rules permitting) with your friends or relatives.
- Repair or repurpose your items – don’t just bin them.
- Question your shopping habits – do you really need to replace an item?
- Try to shop preloved first – visit your local charity shop or antique store, shop online on Facebook Market Place, Vinted, eBay, Depop, car boot sales – the list is endless.
- If you need a brand new item consider shopping sustainably from an ethical brand
- Consider renting clothes, handbags, and other fashionable items (particularly for one-off occasions or where you are not able to invest in an item) from places such as By Rotation, On Loan, and the Endless Wardrobe.