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Shop Smart, Shop Second-Hand: Your Guide to Second Hand September

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport

Did you know that September celebrates all things Second Hand - via the Oxfam Charity where people pledge to buy only second-hand for the month to reduce waste and to stop your impulse to stock up on the latest season arrivals (which is so easy as change of fashion season is here). With so many throw-away online shopping websites popping up with fashion finds for a tiny cost, it's easy to get swept up in the "it's so cheap" thought that you don't think of why it's so cheap and that when something is that cheap, somewhere, someone is being exploited, and the environment is most likely being abused as well.

Second Hand September brings with it an excellent opportunity to embark on a sustainable shopping journey and here we'll explore the myriad benefits of thrifting and buying second-hand, and share some valuable tips on how to find the best items while making a positive impact on our planet.

What is Second Hand September?

Second Hand September is a global movement that encourages people to abstain from buying new clothing and instead, focus on acquiring second-hand or pre-loved items throughout the entire month. This initiative, launched by the organization Oxfam, seeks to raise awareness about the environmental and social impact of fast fashion and promote more sustainable shopping habits.

The Benefits of Thrifting and Buying Second-Hand

  1. Reducing Environmental Impact: One of the most compelling reasons to embrace thrifting is its positive effect on the environment. The fashion industry is notorious for its excessive water consumption, carbon emissions, and textile waste. By opting for second-hand clothing, you're diverting items from landfills and reducing the demand for new production, thus lowering your carbon footprint.
  2. Affordability: Thrifting allows you to access high-quality clothing, accessories, and even designer pieces at a fraction of their original price. This is particularly beneficial for those on a budget or looking to build a sustainable and versatile wardrobe without breaking the bank.
  3. Unique Style: Thrift stores are treasure troves of unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that can help you cultivate a distinct and eclectic style. You're less likely to bump into someone wearing the same outfit when you thrift.
  4. Supporting Charities: Many thrift stores, including those run by organizations like Oxfam, the Salvation Army, and St Vincent de Paul use their profits to fund charitable initiatives. When you shop second-hand, you're indirectly contributing to these good causes.

Tips for Finding the Best Second-Hand Items

  1. Do Your Research: Before heading to the thrift store, research current fashion trends and the items you're looking for. This will help you stay focused and avoid impulse purchases. There are lots of places other than thrift stores to find second-hand clothing, from websites like ebay.The Real Real and Depop to etsy, as we as consignment stores, 2nd hand markets and even garage sales. There are so many avenues you an explore to find second hand gems.
  2. Inspect Carefully: Check items for signs of wear and tear, stains, or damage. Be sure to try on clothing to ensure a proper fit, as sizes can vary significantly across brands and eras.
  3. Keep an Open Mind: Thrifting is an adventure, so be open to unexpected finds. Some of the best second-hand treasures come from serendipitous discoveries.
  4. Visit Different Stores: Different thrift stores have varying selections and price ranges. Don't limit yourself to just one shop; explore a variety of locations for the best finds.
  5. Clothing Swap - Why not organise a clothing swap with your friends and family, this gives your wardrobe the opportunity for a clean out and for those clothes you're not wearing to find a new home where they'll get more love than you're giving them.
  6. Clean and Care for Your Finds: After bringing your treasures home, clean and mend them as needed. Proper care ensures your second-hand items stay in great condition for longer.

The Value of Choosing to Buy Nothing New

Embracing Second Hand September and adopting a lifestyle that prioritizes second-hand shopping throughout the year holds immense value. It's a practical way to reduce your environmental impact, support charitable organizations, and make fashion choices that reflect your individuality.

In a world dominated by fast fashion, choosing to buy nothing new for a month or longer can be a revolutionary act. It sends a message to the industry that consumers demand sustainability and ethical practices. It also encourages a shift towards a circular economy, where clothing is reused and repurposed, reducing waste and preserving resources.

Second Hand September is more than just a trend; it's a powerful movement that encourages us to rethink our consumption habits and embrace a more sustainable and responsible approach to fashion. Thrifting and buying second-hand not only benefits our planet but also our wallets and personal style. By following the tips shared in this post, you can embark on a thrifting adventure that leaves you with a wardrobe filled with unique treasures while contributing to a more sustainable future. So, why not join the Second Hand September challenge and discover the joys of thrifting for yourself? Tell us about the best items you've ever found when buying second-hand.

Shop Smart, Shop Second-Hand: Your Guide to Second Hand September
How to Thrift Shop Like a Pro
Sustainable Fashion Resources To Help You Make the Best Fashion Buying Decisions
Shop Smart, Shop Second-Hand: Your Guide to Second Hand September

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