This month is Second Hand September, a chance to celebrate pre-loved clothes and to say no to fast fashion. Each year Oxfam marks this month by encouraging us to wear second hand clothes, so I spend the whole month trying to wear second hand every day.
Fast fashion – clothes that are produced in high volume and at relatively low cost to the consumer – is damaging our planet. And the excess waste from this throwaway lifestyle is putting pressure on the environment. It is increasing demand for the textile industry, which accounts for approximately 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The average lifespan for an item of clothing is 3.3 years – UK consumers send a whopping 336,000 tonnes of used clothing to landfill every year. Extending the life of clothes by an extra 9 months reduces their carbon, water and waste footprint by around 20-30%. An average consumer throws out 31.75kg of clothing every year. If they donate or recycle their clothes instead of sending them to landfill, they could save the same greenhouse gas emissions as driving a car for about 800,000 miles. Let’s help to make recycling clothes the new normal.
By buying and donating second-hand clothes, you’re giving clothes a longer life, slowing down fast fashion, and helping to protect our planet. And by shopping with Oxfam, you’re reinvesting your money into vital work beating poverty worldwide – supporting people to speak out and stand up to the climate crisis, creating a fairer and greener future for everyone.
Climate change is impossible to ignore – it's affecting us all, and it’s pushing people deeper into poverty. People facing poverty often don’t have access to the support needed to survive and recover from extreme weather, such as clean water on tap during a drought, or house insurance to help rebuild after homes are destroyed by floods. So it’s more important than ever to act now, to prevent this global crisis from becoming a global catastrophe.
My favourite #SecondHandSeptember dress this year came with a lovely note from its previous owner, explaining how she wore it to her son’s wedding. I am giving it a whole new lease of life wearing it in Westminster, it’s pre-loved, and loved now!