Say Yes To Second Hand September

Are you on first name terms with your DPD delivery driver (hiya Jerome) or are there items hanging in your wardrobe that still have their tags on?

For more and more people the answer to the above would be a resounding ‘yes’ but for the month of September Oxfam is calling on people to press pause on fast fashion and say ‘no’ to new clothes for 30 days. And it’s not too late to get involved.

New clothes bought in the UK produce more carbon emissions per minute than driving a car around the world six times, according to new research published by the charity.

The textile industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the shipping and aviation industries combined. To keep prices low, throwaway fashion is made by garment workers often from the world’s poorest communities, and paid below the living wage. Each week 11 million garments end up in landfill in the UK.

Oxfam also found that:

• More than two tonnes of clothing are bought each minute in the UK

• Buying one new white cotton shirt produces the same emissions as driving a car for 35 miles

• The emissions from all the new clothes bought in the UK each month are greater than those from flying a plane around the world 900 times

• The average adult spends £27 a month in fast fashion outlets and currently owns two items which remain unworn

The challenge is now well underway but people can still take the pledge and as an incentive the charity is offering a weekly prize draw for those who share their second-hand finds on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #SecondHandSeptember.

Danny Sriskandarajah, Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, said: “We are in a climate emergency – we can no longer turn a blind eye to the emissions produced by new clothes or turn our backs on garment workers paid a pittance who are unable to earn their way out of poverty no matter how many hours they work.

“These staggering facts about fashion’s impact on the planet and the world’s poorest people should make us all think twice before buying something new to wear. As consumers, it’s in our power to make a real difference.”

©Tom Craig

Supermodel Stella Tennant and her daughter Iris, 14 are supporting the campaign with an exclusive photoshoot by Tom Craig.

Stella said: “I’ve worked in the fashion industry for 25 years and it’s clear to me that nowadays we all have to think a lot harder about how we consume. The fast fashion industry is unsustainable, but we can slow it down by buying more second-hand clothes.

“I love Oxfam because it does two things at once: It gives clothes a new life and it helps the poorest people in the world.

“There is so much potential and fun to be had by shopping in a charity shop.  And £10 you spend on a dress in Oxfam could buy clean water for 10 people. It’s a win-win situation all round.”

The climate emergency concerns Iris, who turns 15 in September and has pledged to go shopping with her mum for second-hand birthday presents rather than new.

Iris said: “My birthday is in Second Hand September and I’m going shopping in second-hand clothes shops because you can find some really nice stuff. My generation often wants the newest, latest things.  But that causes problems for people in other countries and the planet. What’s good about shopping in charity shops is you know the clothes are not making climate change worse. I’m also going to go through my drawers and give anything I don’t want to charity.”

To find out more about Oxfam’s Second Hand September campaign and pledge to buy second-hand fashion for 30 days go to

©Tom Craig
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