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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Garbutt

Second Hand September

Updated: Mar 27

The Power of Preloved – Celebrating Second Hand September

I’ve long been an advocate of second-hand fashion. In this blogpost, I delve into the world of so-called thrifted fashion, inspired by Oxfam’s Second Hand September.

Each year since 2019, Oxfam runs its Second Hand September campaign. With its own online shop and high street charity shops across the country, Oxfam urges people to buy second hand ‘to reduce waste, take a stance against climate change, and help create a fairer world - all while looking super fabulous’ (

The fashion industry is one of the most environmentally harmful industries globally ( For example, the UN has estimated that the fashion industry is responsible foround 20% of global industrial water pollution. Microplastics from synthetic clothing pollute the oceans and have a catastrophic impact on many species and the loss of biodiversity. Admittedly, there has been exciting recent progress in terms of the development of more environmentally friendly fabrics and processes, which I’ll explore in future content.

Another issue is consumer demand for ‘fast fashion’. Advertising, over-production and peer pressure not least through social media has led to a level of consumer demand which is having an unprecedentedly negative impact on the environment. Whilst there are steps the fashion industry itself can take (less frequent new collections, brand advice on garment care, buy-back and responsible garment disposal schemes), one of the simplest and most sustainable things we can do as consumers is to buy our clothes second hand. The more consumers opt for this kind of ‘circular fashion’, the fewer new items will need to be produced with their negative impact on planet, people and animals. Other advantages are the lower cost for the consumer along with being able to find things no longer on sale helping the shopper to create a more individual look.

If you’ve not ‘thrifted’ before, what does buying second hand look like in the 21st century? Yes, there are still charity shops to donate to and buy from and using these gives us the opportunity to give to global or local causes in need of funding. Many charities nowadays also have online shops (British Heart Foundation, Scape, Sue Ryder to name a few). If you want to sell as well as to buy eBay is of course still going strong along with Vinted and Depop. Although it’s sad that there are so many clothing purchases made each year which are never worn by the person they were bought for, this does mean that savvy shoppers can snap up BNWTO items (brand new with tags on). Literally, wearing our concern for the planet on our sleeves, we should be proud to tell everyone we’ve bought second hand, but if you still have any embarrassed hangovers about buying pre-owned, then vintage and clothes rental (often designer) can be more glamorous sounding options.

I’ve recently launched transformEd styling by Charlotte, so how can a personal stylist help consumers on their second-hand journey?

1. Wardrobe editing services encourage clients to ‘shop their wardrobe’ and rediscover their emotional attachment to items in their wardrobe. The responsible stylist can also then advise on the sustainable disposal of unwanted items to avoid them going to landfill (repurposing, donating, selling).

2. Personal shopping can involve buying vintage or preloved and clothes hiring for clients.

3. A personal style assessment boosts client confidence so that the client can create outfits they love from their own wardrobe and knowing what suits their style personality and/or body shape ensures fewer wasted purchases.

Many schools run a second-hand uniform shop, for parents to donate to and buy from. In times of economic hardship that many are facing in the UK currently, children wearing second-hand uniform can wear their preloved with pride as they are the ones paving the way for a better, more sustainable future rather than any classmates in the latest trainers.

My second-hand items worn September 2023:

zebra print top, orange vest (was a dress), black blouse (was a dress)

red biker jacket, wine biker jacket, pink biker jacket, black biker jacket

white trainers, pink flipflops, black ankle boots, floral cross-body bag

green wide-leg trousers, cream maxi skirt, brown pleather culottes, black sundress

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