Fashion takes dramatic U-turn as secondhand clothes are this season’s must-have

The excitement of receiving a squidgy parcel through the post packed with new clothes has been overshadowed as the world wakes up to the dangers of fast fashion.

Now, consumers are being urged to fill their wardrobes with secondhand clothes not only to save pennies but also help the environment by purchasing sustainable items.

A new initiative, aptly named #SecondHandSeptember, is encouraging people to buy their garments from charity shops and share their pledge on social media using the hashtag.

Rising star Michaela Coel, currently gracing iPlayer as the lead role in I May Destroy You, has been chosen to front the campaign to help the public choose ethical clothing.

[Credit: Oxfam]

Speaking about her crusade, Michaela said: “I felt compelled to add my voice to this cause. I hope it encourages us to reflect on our buying habits and to consider how small changes can have a huge impact on the environment – and in turn fight against poverty.”


The term ‘fast fashion’ was coined in the 00s as the sale of cheap clothes boomed online as retailers fought to recreate high-end designs from Fashion Weeks at low-end prices.

However, the speed at which items are sold and thrown away soon saw a spike in environmental issues such as the use of cheap, toxic textile dyes that have consequently become the second largest polluter of clean water globally after agriculture.

Retailers also cut corners on costs by outsourcing production to countries like India and Bangladesh where workers are exploited in sweatshops on less than minimum wage.

The #SecondHandSeptember will also see a charity shop and high street chain crossover as clothes will be available to buy from Oxfam pop-ups in Selfridges from September 7.

[Credit: Oxfam]

Attitudes are certainly turning already, with charity shop sales seeing a dramatic increase from a £133m to £732m industry over the last 20 years.

Chatting about the campaign, chief executive of Oxfam GB, Danny Sriskandarajah, explained that proceeds will go towards their mission to beat poverty around the world.

He said: “The coronavirus pandemic poses huge challenges, but it also creates an opportunity to reimagine our economies and how we live, to make lasting changes that set us on track to a fairer, healthier world.”

[Credit: Insta @Ici.Jozi]

Danny added: “Choosing secondhand is one way that we can all play a part in shifting to more sustainable consumption and helping to build back better from the virus.

“Collectively we can send a message to retailers asking them to change their business models to better protect the people who make our clothes and the planet we all share.”

Right, just off to have an eBay spending spree.

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