by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
The clothes recycling charity Traid has declared November 21-27 as Secondhand first Week with the campaign designed to coincide with the run-up to “Black Friday” on November 25. Often considered the day when Christmas shopping begins in earnest, it will see a projected £1bn spent across the UK in just 24 hours.
Instead of buying new Traid will be urging people to wear secondhand instead. Could instilling pride in wearing pre-owned clothes help avoid wasteful fast fashion?
Buying secondhand and repurposing items rather than buying new could reduce fashion's substantial environmental footprint. An estimated 10,000 items of clothing are sent to UK landfill every five minutes, equating to more than 350,000 tons of wearable clothes being dumped in landfill each year. Most of us own at least one pair of jeans but few know it would take approximately 14 years to drink the amount of water used to make just a single pair.
Secondhand first Week events will take place across London, including late night shopping sessions at Traid's 11 charity shops and a screening of films made by 50 Cambodian garment workers. Shoppers will also be encouraged to sign a secondhand first pledge: a promise to wear at least some secondhand outfits during the week.
Rather than focusing on guilt to motivate people toward changing habits, the Traid team are keen to emphasize the fun and creativity to be had in sourcing fashion more sustainably.
I am going to stick my head above the parapet here now and am going to advocate to not only go secondhand for fashion but also for other things and frequent charity shops for much of our non-grocery items, at least to some extent. More importantly also to use and reuse what we already have, including reusable items of waste. The latter is another story, however, and I have written about it quite a few times already and, no doubt, will do time and again in the future.