Starting today (23rd) and running until the 29th November, TRAID are celebrating the power of secondhand to change the world, with #secondhandfirst week.
TRAID is a charity dedicated to re-using unwanted clothes and textiles with the key aim of encouraging people to commit to wearing and sourcing more of their clothes (and other resources) secondhand, rather than buy new.
As you can imagine, I’m a big fan of #secondhandfirst week!
In fact, in the last 3 years, I would say that I have probably sourced at least 90% of my clothes (and now I come to think of, probably all of my ‘stuff’) secondhand.
Sourcing clothes, and all manner of ‘stuff’ secondhand is not a perfect solution to the crisis of over-consumption that we are facing here in the West, but it is at least a partial solution, and as TRAID point out:
Sourcing more of our clothes (and other goods) secondhand is a practical way of immediately adopting a more sustainable way of living.
Buying secondhand has so many benefits, not just on the planet, but it is also has a social impact, and is a really empowering way to feel like you are making a difference.
By buying secondhand, we are:
- Reducing consumption
- Reducing our use of increasingly scarce resources
- Reducing waste and carbon emissions
- Placing greater value on the things we already own
- Extending the life cycle of wearable clothes (and all the other ‘stuff’)
- Exploring other ways to ‘shop’. For example Swishing, or even making our own
AND it has the added benefit of loosening the grip of big corporations and advertising on our style and identity.
This year #secondhandfirst week coincides with Black Friday-a craze for retailers to offer crazy discounts, that started in the USA and has now filtered over here. Last year, our newspapers were full of images of the scrums in the shops, as people literally elbowed each other out of the way in order to get to the best bargain.
It has, in my mind, become a symbol of all that is wrong with our way of living, and consuming, in the Western world. Where cheap goods are valued over actual people, and we buy new stuff we don’t need just because it’s cheap. It’s a “celebration of consumerism” and #secondhandfirst week is one of several campaigns that have started to provide a counterpoint to this “orgy of consumption”.
OK, so I’m guessing that if you’re reading this blog, you are probably already pretty sold on the whole power of secondhand thing, and are now wanting to know how you can get involved…
- Take the #secondhandfirst pledge: go online to the TRAID site and pledge to source a percentage of your clothes secondhand
- Wear secondhand and take snaps of your best outfits to share on social media using the #secondhandfirst hashtag
- Share a skill: if you’re a whiz at sewing, or darning, or even simple stuff like sewing on a buttons, share your skills with friends, neighbours, or colleagues-you could set up an informal workshop during your lunch hour, or invite a few friends round for a cuppa while you tackle those mending piles!
- There’s a craze on You Tube for fashion bloggers to share their ‘hauls’ of clothes they have bought, which is frankly a little obscene. Thankfully there is a new craze amongst more ethically minded bloggers where they share their ‘haulternatives’ and share their latest or best charity shop finds to inspire others to seek out secondhand.
- Have a Swish. It’s super easy to organise a clothes swapping party, and it can be as big or as small as you like. Check out this post here for all the information you might need to get started.
There are also loads of events going on around the country, from talks to swishes to darning workshops. Take a look at all the events here.