Veganuary, dry Jan, 30 days of yoga.. all kinds of New Year’s resolutions are flying around at this time of year and many fall by the wayside as quickly as they started.  However, there are small changes you can make to make your lifestyle more sustainable and if that’s your goal this year, look no further than Bethany Clark’s blog on the impact of shopping secondhand… 

 Last year whilst browsing for Christmas gifts in Oxfam I came across the book How to break up with fast fashion by Lauren Bravo, I quickly sent a picture to my dear fiancé who quickly picked it up and gave it to me for Christmas. I devoured this book in early January, it was greatly educational and even had a chapter dedicated to charity shops where the author described charity shops as “the over achievers of the sustainable fashion world” and I couldn’t agree more. The unsung heroes doing their best without the need to scream and shout about their latest endeavour in sustainability, I’m looking at you Balenciaga and your mushroom leather bag. 

Did you know that across the world every year, humans are consuming 80 billion, yes 80 BILLION pieces of clothing?! The charity WRAP estimates that in the UK the annual carbon footprint for an average household is equivalent to the carbon emissions from driving an average car 6,000 miles – that’s more than if you drove from London to Athens and back again! And the water to produce and clean these clothes for a year is equivalent to over 1,000 bathtubs of water, that’s like 3 year’s worth of baths. I think we can all agree the fashion industry isn’t currently the most sustainable.  

Clothing production has doubled between 2002 and 2015 and it’s estimated that more than half of the fast fashion produced is disposed of in under a year (The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide, Jen Gale). This is where charity shops come in. In 2018 alone 327,000 tonnes of clothing were saved from landfill (How to break up with Fast Fashion, Lauren Bravo). Gone are the days that charity shops would just be your Aunty’s questionable blouse or your grandad’s old coat, now we are seeing more and more of last month’s trends appearing in charity shops after the buyer has worn it once and become bored of it. Let’s try and find something positive from this painfully quick trend cycle, as my dear Lauren Bravo put it “as fashion gets faster, charity shops get better”. So, the next time you’re in need of a cute new outfit, why not head to a charity shops and help save even more than 327,000 tonnes of clothing going to landfill this year! 

If you want to read more about sustainability you should read The Sustainable(ish) Living guide by Jen Gale and if you want to read more about sustainable fashion specifically, I highly recommend How to break up with fast fashion by Lauren Bravo, which is sold in most Oxfam stores. Of course, if you want to stay up to date with research in this area keep an eye on the reports coming out from WRAP. 

Written By Bethany Clark