Second Hand September is back and this year Michaela Coel is fronting the campaign to raise awareness of the impacts of fast fashion. Oxfam have big plans for the month-long celebration, with everything from a pop-up shop in Selfridges to vintage eBay auctions. Interested? Here’s what you need to know! By Sadia Nowshin.
What is Second Hand September?
The name is pretty self-explanatory: for the month of September, Oxfam asks the public to only buy their clothes second hand and share their pledges with the #SecondHandSeptember hashtag to encourage others to join in. Remember our wardrobe challenge from last year?! The campaign is now in its second year after more than 62,000 people took the pledge in 2019, and its mission remains the same: to bring attention to the impact fast fashion has on the planet and exploited garment workers.
Oxfam’s Chief Exec said the campaign can help us “build back better from the virus.” How so? By joining the movement, collectively we can “send a message to retailers asking them to change their business models to better protect the people who make our clothes and the planet we all share”.
Who’s taking part?
There are some exciting plans for 2020…
They have teamed up with Oxfam to create a pop-up shop as part of their new sustainability initiative. With this collab, Oxfam hopes to shift the “perceptions and context around luxury and second hand clothes – specifically charity shops”, investing money into their marketing while keeping the Oxfam prices.
- Bay Garnett
The collection is curated by Oxfam’s independent fashion advisor and ‘Queen of thrift’ Bay Garnett and features pieces like a 90s Gaultier PVC red suit, Ossie Clarke dresses and 90s sportswear. Can’t make it into the store? No stress – there’ll also be a collection to browse online.
Specially curated auctions will take place from 10 September boasting vintage gems and Oxfam pieces. If you want to get your hands on a frock worn by the stars, Vestiaire Collective is hosting a charity sale of celebrity donated designer pieces on 16 September.
- Michaela Coel
Our 2020 fave and the face of this year’s campaign, Michaela Coel said she felt “compelled to add my voice to this cause; I hope it raises awareness and encourages us to reflect on our buying habits and to consider how small changes can have a huge impact on the environment – and in turn the fight against poverty.”
Where does the money go?
All the proceeds from these campaigns will go to Oxfam’s mission to fight global poverty – around £29m is raised in Oxfam shops every year, which alone is enough to provide clean water for more than 2 million people during a drought.
Will it work?
According to the Co-op, the total consumer market for ethical goods (which includes food, eco-travel, fashion, drinks and energy) has increased to over £41bn. Charity shops have also seen a growth in profits from £133m to £732m in 20 years, so the number of us making an effort to live more eco-friendly is growing.
And quite frankly, it’s a change that we need to be making.
👚 WRAP found that we send 336,000 tonnes of used clothing to landfill every year in the UK. For context, that amounts to almost the same weight as the Empire State Building.
👚 According to Quantis, the textile industry accounts for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the emissions caused by international aviation and shipping combined.
👚 If that’s not enough to convince you, research last year found that the carbon footprint of new clothes bought in the UK every minute is bigger than driving a car around the world six times.
Want to help?
- Take part in the campaign! Commit to only buying second hand this month, share the hashtag and tag @OxfamGB in your pledge.
- Check if your local charity shop needs donations and buy their second hand stock so it doesn’t end up in landfill.
- Look into volunteering at your local charity shop – a lot of volunteers are from vulnerable groups and haven’t returned to the shops to protect their own health.