what is it and how to shop sustainably


Every year, Second Hand September rolls around and we’re encouraged […]

Every year, Second Hand September rolls around and we’re encouraged to approach how we shop in a greener light. Unfamiliar with the concept? Oxfam started the pledge to make fashion lovers rethink the month that’s usually associated with Fashion Week and shopping for a new season as autumn dressing begins. Instead, the charity urges shoppers to say no to new clothes for 30 days to reduce our impact on the planet.

However, as we all become more aware of how our fashion choices have a lasting effect on the earth, this attitude of course should not be limited to one month only. Being a conscious shopper and thinking about the planet should always be a priority; it’s all about changing your mindset and staying clear of fast fashion for the long term. Here’s how to make the change beyond the month of September.

Rent your wardrobe

One way to help tackle fast fashion is by changing the way you think about shopping. With fashion being one of the most polluting industries in the world due to high demand, sharing our wardrobes makes a lot of sense. Rental and swapping fashion models eliminate the risk of panic buying for one occasion (for which Instagram has a lot to answer for) that feeds into the fast-fashion cycle.

Although rental fashion isn’t a new phenomenon (Rent the Runway, for example, has been in operation for over 10 years), an increase in environmental concerns has made hiring clothes more popular than ever. We love Rotaro, By Rotation, Cocoon and Hurr as well as these other rental sites.

steamery stockholm, how to care for your clothes

Agata Pospieszynska for Harper’s Bazaar

Keep shopping vintage and second-hand

Buying vintage means you can get really creative with your individual style and think outside the box when planning outfits. Take a trip to your nearest vintage or charity shop and get rummaging for some hidden treasures. By giving clothes a new lease of life, it means you are shopping in a circular fashion.

There are also plenty of excellent luxury resale sites that have carefully curated selections of second-hand goods – and don’t just buy, get selling too, especially when there is something you aren’t getting any use out of in your wardrobe.

Make the most of what you already have

Gone are the days when an outfit repeat would be unthinkable. With even the most stylish women documenting how they rework their wardrobes, there’s no excuse for us to not make the most of all the clothes we have already. Take Rosie Huntington-Whiteley or Hailey Bieber, who both have a handful of key pieces that they repeatedly wear, such as timeless wide-leg trousers or a staple blazer. Smartly-purchased garments can go a long way.

The best way to do this is by slowly curating your very own capsule wardrobe, made up of pieces that are versatile and can be paired with everything else you own, and then add in single statement designs every now and then to keep your look feeling fresh, but without feeling like you have to buy a whole new wardrobe when a new season arrives.

rosie huntington whiteley

Rachpoot/Bauer-Griffin//Getty Images

Care for your clothes properly

It’s great to be shopping more sustainably, but all that effort is somewhat wasted if you aren’t caring for your wardrobe in the best way.

“Firstly, most clothes never get worn out, they get washed out. The most common reason as to why clothes lose their shape or quality is because we wash them too often, or the wrong way,” CEO and co-founder Frej Lewenhaupt of Steamery, told us.

“So, our best advice to prolong any garment’s lifetime is to do as little laundry as possible. Steaming is a great alternative to washing; it will keep your garments fresh in between washes. When doing your laundry, it’s also important to wash right, with a suitable detergent, technique and temperature – treating the textiles the way they deserve.”

Support sustainable brands

While Second Hand September is specifically about second-hand fashion, if you are wanting to continue to shop consciously beyond the month, you don’t have to limit yourself to second-hand pieces only. There are plenty of amazing brands out there creating environmentally-friendly fashion. In fact, we have rounded up our favourite sustainable brands here – and the pledges they have made regarding the environment – to help you make some informed decisions when it comes to your next purchase.

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