We met some lovely Oxfam volunteers at WOMAD this year who told us all about the new Oxfam campaign to bring awareness to the affect our clothes and the way we view fashion are having on our planet. Of course, we jumped at the chance to sign our names up and to be involved through oo arh!
Second Hand September strives to get consumers thinking about where their clothes come from, the carbon foot print and climate change are some of the larger issues but we also need to consider the human aspect, how and by whom are clothes are made and in what conditions.
We can make a huge difference by thinking twice about where we choose to shop for our clothes – now, obviously, there are some things one would not want to purchase second hand (underwear, swimwear, to name a few) and also there is no shame in buying new, sometimes we have to – the weather changes quickly and suddenly and you need another layer, you have seen the perfect dress for a friend’s wedding, you need a new pair of work shoes that just need to be comfy.
But when everything in a charity or vintage shop is cheap, already made, carries a negligible carbon foot print, and the money you pay goes towards a good cause it is worth taking a second to think whether you really need that new garment? Will it make you happy? And even if we cannot stop climate change completely by changing the way we shop, we might be able to slow the turning wheels.
Here are some helpful illustrations of the impacts of fast fashion:
It’s amazing when you actually break the processes down – especially when we, as the consumers, are not fully informed of the exact systems our clothes go through! And it is important to remember that when you put something in the bin at home, it ends up in a landfill and, especially if it is a synthetic garment, it will take years to breakdown. There are other places to place your unwanted garments – charity shops, clothes bins, etc. So, make a simple change to help the ‘after use’ process with our clothes.
It is mind blowing – this is one pair of jeans!
I know it is mind bending but it helps to take stock sometimes of our individual carbon foot print, we will not be able to change the flawed system over night but small alterations in our own lives will make a difference and it is all about spreading awareness. Take a look at Kate Watson’s blog for more tips for reducing, reusing and recycling your clothes.
Another way of looking at the Second Hand September challenge is to take a look at your own wardrobe – have you worn it in the last year? Does it hold sentimental value? And can you do anything to make it more appealing to you?
Even simple alterations can make a huge difference – recently I came upon a dress I had bought at a festival which I no longer wear and all it needed was the sleeves chopping off and now it is a garment I can wear to work!
Similarly, I used to wear this striped skirt all the time at university but my style has developed and changed so, tada, it is now a top! Now I have two new garments in my wardrobe without needing to buy any new ones – surely that is a victory over climate change worth celebrating!
oo arh! is built on second hand garments – the pleasure of taking a preloved garment and giving it a new lease of life with embellishment, alterations or transformations! I like to think that even a ‘new’ garment from oo arh! is helping in it’s own small way to combat climate change and help people think differently about where their clothes come from.
Here are some photos of my friends, customers and family wearing their own unique oo arh! items – it is so good to see so many happy faces wearing preloved revamped garments!
If you want to find unique, second hand garments given a new lease of life with a love of upcycling look no further than the oo arh! Etsy shop xx