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9th September 2019
If you’re like me and you love fashion and clothes, you’ve probably bought way too many items over the years and still own more than you need even now. Well this is the month to redeem yourself.
The Second hand September campaign is being lead by the British charity Oxfam. Oxfam was founded in 1942 and is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organisations which focuses on relieving global poverty. Oxfam states its goal to be “helping people directly when local capacity is insufficient or inappropriate for Oxfam's purposes, and to assist in the development of structures which directly benefit people facing the realities of poverty and injustice”
So cut to September 2019 and Oxfam has revealed the stats that almost 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions are produced by the fashion industry and £140 million worth of wearable clothing goes to landfill in the UK , with the summer being the biggest culprit for outfits only being worn once or twice. In the UK we buy twice as many new clothes as we did a decade ago, which is way more than any other European countries.
A lot of the clothes we buy are made in other far away countries and then imported over, meaning the fashion industry creates a massive carbon footprint. 'Fast fashion' is the newish name given to how quickly people buy and throw away clothes these days.
Less than 1% of the material used to make clothes is being recycled into new garments when the clothes are no longer wanted. When I throwaway clothes I always take them to my local clothes and shoes recycling bank, knowing that they are going to be re-used or re-cycled but not everybody does this. A lot of people don’t even realise that these banks or deposits exist.
According to Oxfam, if everybody in the UK took part in Second Hand September the country would save the same amount of emissions as flying a plane around the world approximately 900 times. So, for the full 30 days of September Oxfam is encouraging us all to cancel our online clothing orders and high street shopping, replacing it with scouring the rails of our local second hand shops instead.
To help promote this campaign I was asked to give my time for a day to do a shoot for Oxfam with the lovely stylist Bay Garnett and her husband, photographer, Tom Craig. For the past two years, Bay has been working with Oxfam and their ‘Fashion Fighting Poverty’ initiative, and has long been labelled the Queen of Thrift. ( or 2nd hand as we call it in the UK). British Supermodel Stella Tennant also signed the pledge and has taken part in the campaign alongside her daughter, Iris Lasnet. The images we created for this campaign are featured here.
Bay has stated that the best way to shop second hand is to ‘go in with a mission, be focused and determined, and the chances are you will find something great.’
Bay is the queen of finding those vintage gems, cut to an amazing banana print top she found for a British Vogue shoot I worked on with her with our own supermodel queen of vintage Kate Moss back in 2003. This top inspired a whole collection designed by Phoebe Philo for Chloe the following season. Bay acknowledges that for some people, it’s daunting to move away from the new trends. She advises ‘You can find all of it in second hand stores; it just means that you do it more originally than everyone else who is buying the new trends. Then, once you’ve started to move towards shopping second hand, you won’t care about trends so much.’
So forget all those new trend buys people and get yourself down to an Oxfam or any second hand/thrift/vintage clothing store this month and see what gems you can find. You’ll be pleasantly surprised, and remember to recycle your old clothes properly instead of just chucking them into your normal rubbish.
Thanks Neil x