Friday 25 May 2018

What's your attitude to second hand clothing?

A couple of days ago I attended a training event for Granton Goes Greener with our funder Climate Challenge Fund.

One of the highlights was a discussion about attitudes to second hand clothing.  On the negative side we talked about:
  • people’s desire to wear the latest fashion or to fit in with cultural norms and expectations
  • people’s distaste for clothing that’s been worn by something else
  • laziness – it’s often quicker to find a specific item in a chain store than in a second hand shop
  • stigma – the feeling that you’ll be looked down on if you buy second hand
On the positive side we talked about:
  • creativity – creating your own look or customising old clothes to make something new
  • saving money – you can often find good brands at low prices in second hand shops (though some discount  stores are often cheaper than second hand)
  • more and more clothing designers and fashion retailers are using up-cycled materials in their productions, making the idea fashionable in itself
  • the environmental benefits of reducing waste
Ever since I was a student, I have bought all my clothes second hand (except for underwear). I often buy 2nd hand shoes too.

Part of the Granton Goes Greener Project is the clothing swap shop which is already an ongoing part of the Granton Parish Church community but is set to expand in the very near future! You bring in good quality clothing that no longer fits and swap it for something else. We want donations of good quality used clothing. The swap shop isn’t an excuse to clear out your wardrobe just for the sake of it but part of a circular clothing economy that tries to extend the life of clothing and reduce waste (see this article).  We want individuals to both bring clothing in and take clothing away. Having said that, we won’t turn away donations and we’re happy for people in need to take items of clothing even if they don’t have anything to donate.

Clothes swapping is becoming quite trendy now with Swishing parties being very popular.


Gwil W said...

Nearly all my clothing, excepting underwear, socks, shoes, is second hand.

Someone somewhere may well be wearing my old clothes. Third hand clothing in effect.

I always leave my old second hand clothes in charity bins when I replace them with new second second hand.

Geraldine said...

I must admit, I use to be kind of "grossed out" by used clothing, thrift stores etc....but I've changed my attitude a lot in the past few years. I've found some amazing treasures for next to nothing at local Sally Ann stores, etc...When I'm able to though, I still prefer sewing and knitting my own clothes. And I take very good care of clothes so they tend to last a long time. I actually prefer clothes from many years ago, most of the styles now I think are just plain boring.

What a great thing to blog about Juliet. We should all be doing out part for the environment. but sadly, most people seem to hardly care what their daily choices can mean, in the big picture.

RG said...

Regardless of the general opinion of 2nd hand clothes, having the stores that specialize in that (Here it is Goodwill and Value Village and many local shops) is really important to those with limited incomes and because of our sort of "throwaway" cheap clothes the selections are really good.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, the second hand clothing would be fine as long as it was well cared for. When I retired I donated a lot of my work clothes. I hope someone was able to use them. Happy weekend!

Magyar said...

__ Even when purchasing "new" from "Retail" outlets, that "new" clothing first visits my laundry. Who knows who, what or how... that clothing had been "tried on", or handled.
__ Regaining cleanliness, is always the most important goal. _m

Crafty Green Poet said...

Geraldine, my clothes tend to last a long time too. I've never really developed skills to make clothes, though I'm good at repairing and altering

Rabbit's Guy - yes very important to have the shops!

Eileen - yes, it needs to be in good condition (though if it's not it can be used in craft projects)

Magyar - cleanliness is certainly important, most of our second hand shops nowadays are clean and so are the clothes, so you can be confident that with a quick wash they'll be totally fine for use (which isn't the way it necessarily used to be years ago)