Saturday, 7 September 2019

Second Hand September

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I mentioned I was signing up for Oxfam's Second Hand September - A month of not buying any new clothes. But as I don't buy that many clothes anyway it didn't seem much of a challenge for just a month. So a friend and I have pledged to not buy any new clothes for a whole year, except for necessary underwear. Second hand knickers are a no, no! We both like to do a little dress making so we are allowing ourselves that luxury, although I only intend to use fabric I already own, but other than that is is only going to be second hand clothes or maybe even rediscovering items I've not worn for a long time. I thought it might be fun to document my progress here each month.


The idea behind the campaign is to support a slower and more sustainable consumption. In the UK alone 11 million items of clothing end up in landfill every week - that's 300,000 tonnes every year. More new clothes are bought in the UK than in any other European country. The carbon footprint of producing new clothes is huge, just that of all new clothes bought in the UK each month is the equivilant to flying a plane around the world more than 900 times.
There is also a huge impact on poorer countries (where their carbon footprint is much lower than ours). Their garment workers are not paid a living wage and the textile  industry uses precious water resources making life tougher in poorer areas. And if all that isn't enough the textile industry creates more pollution than aviation and shipping combined.


Something has to change. So I kicked off on September 1st by wearing a new top that I made from fabric from my stash. It is the Camber Set pattern from Merchant and Mills.


To be honest I don't buy much in charity shops but then maybe that's because I don't usually go in looking for clothes. Mostly I go in to take bags of my own things and will usually browse the books or DVDs. I sometimes look at the clothes if I am looking for AmDram costumes or fabric I might use for projects, which is how I ended up with this T-shirt. I bought it for the fabric to cut up for rag rugging as it was reduced to £2 and a nice bright colour. But after giving it a wash I tried it on and liked it and have been wearing it all summer.


But I currently own only two other charity shop finds - a black patterned dress that I love. I wear it in the summer on its own with sandals and in the winter with thick tights and a cardigan. And a Phase Eight skirt that I bought just for the label and because it was only £5. I didn't think it would fit me but reckoned I could sell it on ebay if not. As it happens the sizing is generous and I have worn it for several summers now.


So I shall be perusing charity shops over the next few months, learning to mend and using up my fabric stash... although I probably have more than enough clothes already  as I don't throw much away!

So who's up for joining me in September... or even for the year?

10 comments:

  1. I’m like you; rarely buying new. It helps buying classic styles that don’t date. Many of the items in my wardrobe are years old. I’m certain I could get to the end of the year easily without buying new. I’ll let you know how I go:) B x

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    1. My wardrobes are overflowing because I don't throw anything away!

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  2. A very thoughtful post Gina. It is sobering to think of the impact of fashion on people and the environment. I certainly have too many clothes and have resolved to shop from my wardrobe! There was an interesting newspaper article last week about the increase in clothes moths. As we all have so many garments in our cupboards the items are not circulated regularly and the moths are having secret feasts! Happy sewing and thank you for your ideas.

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    1. That is interesting about clothes moths. I have noticed a few extra holes in things like T shirts over the past couple of years

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  3. Having just bought a coat and top (I already have the bottom bit!) to wear to a wedding next month I will try to do my bit as well. I think that everyone of my age and size keeps all their clothes, as I can rarely find anything the right style or fit in charity shops.
    I love the top you have made and the one you nearly cut up is lovely too.
    Nothing new until next September - OK I'll give it a go.

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  4. Ok Gina, I have decided that as I am on a healthy eating plan to lose at least a stone in weight I plan to alter clothes I currently have to fit and not buy new, plus use some of my fabric stash to make some tops.I checked one of my wardrobes and found garments I still like but have not worn for at least a year. I give it a try.

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  5. I’m not really buying clothes at the moment as I’ve lost nearly 2 stone and still going. I’m rediscovering the back of the wardrobes and altering clothes instead. LOTS going to charity shop though. I have been really trying to use up my craft stuff and fabric and have just sorted the over spill room and have a plan for dog charity quilts etc so I’m certainly repurposing! 😃

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  6. Good for you Gina, I am impressed. You look lovely wearing your Camber set. I am not much of a clothes shopper but on the few occasions that I do buy, I buy new. It is not all bad though: my youngest two are proud wearers of second hand clothing, almost all of their stuff has been handed down to us. Have a lovely week xx

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  7. I do enjoy a good poke around in a charity shop (I actually just stick to the one) but it's mostly books that come home with me. The odd item of clothing I've bought over the years has tended to have the tag still attached (have to admit I'm a bit iffy about clothes which have been worn). So I'm afraid I'll be sticking with mostly new whilst telling myself I'm helping to save the high street. And I'll also be helping to restock the charity shop rails.

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