If you have been following me on instagram then you probably have watched my stories about shopping second hand, which is something that I just started doing this year in 2019! Last year my goal was to make more mindful and sustainable switches/swaps in my life.
This year, I am trying not to buy anything new unless I really have to. This is not an initiative that I am starting, but a lot of people have been doing already. I am finally joining in because I am tired of reading about waste and micro-plastics. I want to be part of the change and one of the voices that encourages others to do the same.
“The fashion industry produces 20 per cent of global wastewater and 10 per cent of global carbon emissions - more than all international flights and maritime shipping. Textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of water globally and it takes around 2,000 gallons of water to make a typical pair of jeans.” - unenvironment.org
Four benefits to shopping second-hand:
You are not supporting the messed up industry of fast fashion with all its negative impacts.
You are not contributing to the huge amount of waste we have on this Earth and in fact you will be giving clothes a second chance to be used to reduce that waste!
You will support other charities and causes that are selling the clothes and reaching further with your impact.
You will save money! The last pair of jeans that I got yesterday were only £6…. I am mainly doing it for the three reasons above, but this is a nice bonus.
Myths about shopping second-hand
Myth: My mother and my Arab family and friends were a little concerned when I started shopping second hand and kept telling me that the clothes are not clean and that I might get a virus and so on.
Reality: Like can you assure that clothes from any brands are 100% clean? Don’t they get tried and tested in changing rooms. You can’t really be sure of that in any clothes you buy unless you get them made. Just wash what you buy when you buy it and you should be fine!
Myth: You aren’t really about the environment, you are just cheap/poor.
Reality: what if I was? Like honestly, who cares what people say about YOUR intention! You can just explain yourself and if someone keep on teasing you give them some real stats about the waste of fast fashion! Read: Fashion Industry Waste Statistics.
“Between 2000 and 2014, clothing production doubled with the average consumer buying 60 percent more pieces of garment compared to 15 years ago. Yet, each clothing item is now kept half as long.” - Unece.org
Where to shop second-hand in London? (Charity shops!)
London is such a blessed city with unlimited options for basically everything. Instead of hitting the high street brands and the overly crowded Oxford Circus, go into local charity shops. You don’t even need a list, you can just type in: charity shops to Google Maps and you will get a few based on your location.
I tried charity shops in two locations: Blackheath and Startford and here are the ones I found lovely things at:
Cancer Research Shop
Those same charities have lots of stores across London and in each one of them the things will be completely different. Also, if you go to charity shops in fancy/posh areas, you might find really nice, unexpected finds!
If you don’t live in London or near a place that has charity or second hand stores, then go on the “used” section of Ebay and there will be good finds too. If that’s not an option either, suggest to host a clothes-swap-party for you and friends and their friends. It can be so much fun.
“The UK based charity WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) has estimated that £140 million worth of clothing goes into landfills each year, and a staggering £30 billion worth of unused clothing is still sitting in our wardrobes nationwide (WRAP, 2018). This level of waste is enough to fill 459 Olympic-size swimming pools (Clothes Aid, 2013).” - Groundsure
Now that we established how good shopping second hand is and that you don’t need to be broke to buy from there plus all the positive things related to the environment, please don’t over do it. The purpose is not to replace all your shopping habits and buy more! The purpose is to buy less and to be really mindful about your purchases.
If for whatever reason you can’t find what you need through shopping second hand, then make sure you are investing your money in local, independent brands, ethical brands, brands with a positive impact that use natural materials and try their best to be mindful of the environment.
I still haven’t shopped everything second hand. I haven’t tried shoes or accessories for example, but I am using the things I already have and love with the hope of making them last as long as possible. I will probably do a mix of second hand and ethical brands in the future.