‘Sustainable living’ is a term that’s bounded about a lot when it comes to being more conscious about the decisions you make, but could reducing the number of new clothes you buy, and opting for second-hand make a difference? As well as saving you money, you could help save the planet too.
So, before you update your Autumn wardrobe, take a moment to consider that this month is #SecondHandSeptember, and fashionistas are being encouraged to do their bit for sustainable fashion. The annual campaign is championed by charity Oxfam, who raise on average £29million a year selling second-hand clothes. In 2020 they’re specifically donating money to countries and communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic such as providing hand washing stations at the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and PPE to quarantine centres in Gaza.
But buying second-hand isn’t just beneficial for charity: it’s one of the key ways to lead a more sustainable life. The fashion industry is a major culprit when it comes to damaging the environment. When a garment becomes second-hand, its lifespan usually increases by an extra two years. Currently, a staggering £140million worth of clothes ends up in landfill each year, what a waste! Speaking of waste, making new clothes has a detrimental impact on the environment. For example, it takes 20,000 litres of water to make just one pair of jeans and a t-shirt.
You don’t just need to purchase from charity shops to shop more sustainably. Online clothes re-selling sites like Depop have seen massive growth since the start of the pandemic with benefits for shoppers and sellers alike. As of July 2020, they had 21m registered users, with 140,000 items being listed every single day. Since May, they’ve seen a growth of 150% in listings, that’s a lot of second-hand clothes and accessories. Clearly, many people have been de-cluttering their wardrobe since they’ve been in lockdown.