This month it's Second-hand September and IEMA's Senior Marketing Officer, Mariabelen Malaga - Hardy explores the ways we can all make more conscious fashion choices to reduce our environmental impact this September and onwards.

I will be the first to admit that I love buying clothes, but I would love it a lot more if it didn’t come with a cost to the planet. This is where "Second Hand September," comes in. The idea is to encourage people to buy second-hand clothing for the entire month of September. Buying second-hand can actually help you develop your creativity and your own sense of style and it's guilt-free. So why not give it a try this September?

Why Second-Hand September?

There are many reasons why buying second-hand clothes is the way to go this September and beyond:

  • Sustainable choice: Buying second-hand clothes helps reduce the demand for new garments. Less demand means that water, energy, and carbon emissions are saved but it also prevents as many clothes from going into landfills.
  • Budget-friendly: You'll often find high-quality pieces at a fraction of the original price, allowing you to stretch your clothing budget further and get better quality materials that won’t deteriorate after a season.
  • Unique finds: Thrifting provides a treasure trove of unique and vintage pieces that can set you apart from the crowd. Fashion is about using clothes to make a statement so discovering one-of-a-kind items is part of the fun of second-hand shopping.
  • Supporting charitable causes: Many second-hand stores are affiliated with charitable organizations, meaning your purchases may contribute to worthwhile causes in addition to reducing waste.

Tips for Effective Second-Hand Shopping

  • Make a list: Create a list of items you need or want in your wardrobe. This will help you stay focused and avoid impulse purchases.
  • Quality over quantity: Look for well-made, durable items. Quality pieces may cost a bit more upfront, but they often last longer and provide better value in the long run. Look for good quality fabrics. These are natural fabrics or synthetic fibres that mimic the quality of natural fibres. Look for well-constructed pieces and nice straight stitching without loose threads.
  • Inspect carefully: Thoroughly examine each item for any flaws, stains, or signs of wear and tear. If you're comfortable with minor repairs or alterations, consider those options.
  • Try everything on: Sizing can vary greatly between brands and eras, so always try on clothing before buying.
  • Be patient: Thrifting can require some patience. You may not find what you're looking for on your first visit, so keep an open mind and visit different stores.
  • Embrace creativity: Second-hand shopping is a great way for you to try mixing and matching styles. Experiment with your fashion choices. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and explore new looks. Look for pieces that you love and search for ways to style them.
  • Clean and care: Once you've purchased your second-hand gems, clean and care for them properly to ensure they last as long as possible. Read the labels before you clean them.
  • Make them fit: If you love a piece but it doesn’t quite fit right, you can always amend it. If you are good at sewing you could do it yourself or if you are like me and might end up sewing yourself to the piece, find a seamster to help you modify the clothes.
  • Donate or resell: When you're ready to part with clothing items, consider donating or reselling them to keep the cycle of sustainability going.

Secondhand September is a great initiative to get involved with. You get to embrace new ways of expressing your own fashion style while reducing the environmental cost and contributing to a brighter, more eco-conscious future. So, this September, let's make the shift towards second-hand shopping and be part of a positive change in the fashion industry.

Happy thrifting!

Photo of Mariabelen Malaga Hardy
Mariabelen Malaga-Hardy

Digital Marketing Officer, IEMA


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