by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Secondhand as antidote to fast fashion and not just as an antidote to (fast) fashion. Maybe also as an antidote to consumerism. Having said the latter though, charity shop shopping can, for some, also take on the nature of consumerism in that they buy things they do not need.
I can vouch for that for I have to definitely stay away from the books section in any charity shop, and also must not, really, look at the shirts. I have bought enough over the years that will last me to the end of my days, I am sure. And the same goes for trousers (pants to our American cousins) and jeans, methinks.
When it comes to fashion – OK, I am a male and we don't do fashion like the females of the species – secondhand and repurposing items rather than buying new could reduce fashion's substantial environmental footprint, and also our own.
I must say that I do the repurposing and take it, some might think, to a ridiculous level, having converted by now two of my favorite, favorite (the double favorite is no typo) shirts from collar-attached, as the collars were fraying, to collarless, and as far as I am concerned they have turned out well.
An estimated 10,000 items of clothing are sent to UK landfill every five minutes, equating to more than 350,000 tonnes 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. Only very few pairs of trousers and other items of clothing that I own (aside from underwear) I have ever purchased deliberately new. There were, however, some that were brand-new though bought at charity shops.
The fashion industry, even the one for men, definitely makes no money directly from me. But then again, as far as fashion is concerned, the males are probably somewhat different from the ladies.
Buying secondhand and repurposing items rather than buying new could not just reduce the environmental footprint of various industries but our own if we would not just apply it to fashion only but across the board. And when it comes to repurposing we also need to think about reusing and repurposing items of waste to give them a new life, especially packaging waste or waste packaging. But I have written about that subject several times by now and it also does not – really – belong here.
So, back to charity shop shopping.
Charity shops do not just offer secondhand fashion but also books – and that is an area in those shops I definitely have to avoid – and other things for house and home, etc. I once walked away from a charity shop with a set of three Wagner cast iron skillets (Made in USA) still in their box and never, ever, used, for £5, and they are the only pans that I ever use.
So, don't just think secondhand first for “fashion” but also for other things, as regards to charity shops, and also especially consider the reuse and repurpose with regards to things you already own.