• Sustainable water use Birmingham

Second-Hand September

Oxfam’s Second Hand September campaign is back again this year to build support for the slow fashion movement. Long-time followers of SWUB will know that we are passionate about slowing down clothing consumption to assist with our campaign aim of reducing water waste, pollution and insecurity.

Participants of Second Hand September are pledging to only buy second hand clothing items as opposed to ‘new’ for the month of September and will continue the habit thereafter. The fashion is one of the largest polluting industries, leading to vast environmental degradation and human rights issues. Second hand shopping is a brilliant way to keep clothes out of landfill, to reduce your carbon foot-print and to honour workers throughout garment supply chains.

Some shoppers may put off second hand shopping by the assumption that items may be dirty – no promises but most spotless, and you can often find items in their original condition! Charity and thrift shops will only display items that are fit for sale! Instead reframe how you view the term ‘second hand’. For us it means you can find unique one-off pieces and high-quality designer bargains!

Here are SWUB’s reasons to go Second Hand this September:

  • It takes approx. 10,000 litres of water to create a pair of jeans and 3,000 litres for a cotton t-shirt. Putting this in perspective, it would take you 13 years to drink this much water!

  • 20% of all freshwater pollution is a result of fashion. Manufactures often dispose of dyes in waterways such as the Citarum river, which is now the world’s most polluted river!

  • Mass cotton production is drying up water reserves due to its growth being water intensive. This is illustrated through the Aral Sea, which has shrunk to just 10% of it’s since the 1960s.

  • The fashion industry is also responsible for 20% of global water waste!

SWUB’s recommended ways to shop this second hand?

  • Borrow from friends and family

  • Charity and vintage shops - write a list of items that you’re looking out for to ensure you will actually wear what you buy

  • Use these apps and websites to search for specific items: Depop, eBay, Vinted and Vestier Collective

  • Renting is a great alternative if you want an outfit for an occasion, try Hurr, FrontRow, OurCloset and By Rotation

  • Attend a clothing swap – take along items that you haven’t worn for a while to swap with something you will re-wear over and over

The slow fashion movement is growing and here to stay - there has never been a better time to join than this September. Whatever you do buy second hand make sure you love it and will wear it for a lifetime before passing it onto another loving home!

Written by Sophie O'Connell

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