Second Hand September

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Second Hand September was created in 2019 as an Oxfam initiative to promote the alternative way of shopping that is shopping second hand.
September is a month associated with Fashion Weeks, when the new collections are introduced to the public. This way, the charity introduced the aim of not to buy anything new for 30 days. In a world where climate change is increasingly affecting all of us, Second Hand September supposes an action that counts.

However, the aim is to let consumers understand that this way of shopping shouldn’t be considered only in September. By following the sustainable challenge, the participants will understand why we should appreciate and cherish this way of shopping. Being a conscious shopper should become our priority, in order to change the fashion industry and to stop the polluting pace.

Second Hand September

This way, Oxfam invites everyone to discover vintage and second hand clothing. Fast Fashion creates micro tendencies that oversaturate shops and that become fast generalized in the population. By buying second hand and vintage, each piece of clothing you find is almost unique. Besides, the stereotype of this kind of shop as expensive is only that, a stereotype. There are multiple charity shops, including Oxfam ones, that are the best place to start the clothing treasure hunt! Moreover, these kinds of shops normally also accept clothes donations, promoting a more circular way of economy.

The fashion Industry has reached absurdity during the last few years. The quality of the garments has declined to the point that garments look faded after a few washes, shapeless and worn out. Besides, the trends are changing faster than ever, what used to be four collections a year, became a new collection every few weeks in the fast fashion stores. This mass production of cheap and disposable clothing is not only harming the planet and the animals, but it is affecting the livelihoods of millions around the world.

Fast fashion
Desert atacama

According to Greenpeace, predictions of clothing consumption are set to rise 63 per cent by 2030, while we wear our clothes 40 per cent less than 10 years ago. Extending the lifespan of a piece of garment can significantly reduce the environmental footprint, so it is necessary to focus on circularity as a solution to society’s need for newness.

The Fashion Industry is the second most polluting industry right behind the oil industry. In the countries where the Industry produces, the untreated toxic waste water from the textiles is dumped directly in the river, as it does the fertilizers used for cotton production. The water consumption reaches up to 200 tons of freshwater per ton of dyed fabric, while 20.000 liters of water are needed to produce just a 1kg of cotton. Another important issue is the microfibers pollution, with every wash of a synthetic fiber, around 700.000 fibers are released into the water, arriving eventually to the oceans. Science has proven how microfibers are even in microscopic organisms, and inside our bodies. The problem of waste is also concerning since clothing has become a highly disposable product. Since synthetic fabrics like polyester can take up to 200 years to decompose, only 15 per cent is donated or recycled. This way, most of the waste ends up dropped in the landfill or incinerated. The production, manufacturing and transportation of millions of garments suppose the 10 percent of global carbon emissions. As well as it degrades the soils for the overgrazing of pastures to produce wool, due to the use of chemicals, and deforestation.

Second hand

So, by recirculating our clothes – buying, wearing and donating second hand – we can help to reduce the demand for new clothes. And this could in turn help to reduce the damage to our planet. By shopping with Oxfam, you’re investing in vital work to beat poverty – standing with communities worldwide as they fight the climate crisis and speak out against the global inequalities that push people deeper into poverty.

There are other multiple second hand items that we can integrate in our lives. If you like to read, you can check in second hand bookstores. Another good idea is buying second hand furniture, it is possible to find them in whatever your personal taste is. The topic of second hand also brings techniques to reuse our clothes, by upcycling you can fix a whole in your jeans by embroidering or patching it. It opens a door to creativity while you help the planet!

In Gent Fair Trade we worked together for the promotion of second hand initiatives. We created the Gent Fair Trade's Vintage and Second Hand Walk. 2 years ago, we also collaborated with a group of youngsters to create a vintage and second hand catwalk. Besides, during our biannual Fair Fashion Fest we organized a clothes swap for our visitors, which resulted in a big success. We also styled our looks and talked about it in our magazine Slow Fashion Forward. In the 2020s edition you can find a complete article about FANN, a beautiful second hand shop in Burgstraat.

Second hand walk


Internationale vrijwilliger uit Spanje, met een passie voor politiek en blij om meer ecologische en duurzame manieren te ontdekken in België.

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