Five ways to be more sustainable for second hand September Young Woman Buying Used Sustainable Clothes From Second Hand Charity Shop Looking At Price Tag Five ways to be more sustainable for second hand September

1 in 5 say they feel more confident wearing a second-hand outfit(Credits: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

We’ve all done it. You’ve got a night out or a friend’s birthday planned, and before you know it you’ve ‘added to basket’ and panic bought a whole new outfit.

You don’t spare a thought for all the other great items hanging in your wardrobe – and the environment doesn’t even cross your mind.

But we know that fast fashion is damaging the planet.

The textile industry counts for 10% of global greenhouse gas emotions, and when a new pair of jeans is made, an estimated 16.2kg of CO2 is emitted – the equivalent of driving over 58 miles in a car.

And this is where Second Hand September comes in.

Coined by Oxfam, it’s an initiative to try to end the throwaway fashion culture and be more sustainable with our clothing.

Not only will you be a climate crusader, but research from second-hand shopping app Vinted shows that it makes us feel great about ourselves too.

One in five people say they feel more confident wearing second-hand clothes, and almost a third of the nation say many of their favourite outfits are second-hand.

And, almost half admit to feeling less guilty when buying second-hand.

Natacha Blanchard, consumer lead at Vinted, says there are many benefits to shopping second hand.

She tells ‘Swapping new for pre-loved helps to reduce unnecessary fashion waste as you help to extend the life of clothes that are already in circulation and waiting to be worn again.

‘Plus, you’re likely to save a bit of money when shopping pre-loved, and it all adds up, meaning you might be able to build a nice little savings pot.’

Try out these tips to get involved with the second hand revolution.

Start off small

You don’t need to clear out your entire wardrobe and start afresh – small changes can make a big difference.

Natacha says: ‘Begin with a small challenge.

‘The next time you make a purchase, think about whether you can find it second-hand first. Try to stop and think about what choices are available to you first.

‘And if you feel you’re making progress, you can then start to progress towards the small goal of making around 10% of your total wardrobe from second-hand sources.’


Trying to buy clothes in a charity shop isn’t always easy if you’re petite or plus-sized.

So if swapping out your clothes for more sustainable choices feels like a big ask, trying starting with accessories.

Your shoes, bags and jewellery can also be second-hand, and it’s easier to make purchases since size and fit will be easier to determine.

Check your fabrics

‘Where possible try to choose better quality and more ethically produced fabrics, materials and brands,’ explains Natacha.

‘Whether you choose a new or second-hand item, you might have to pay a little more upfront, but in the long-term, that item is more likely to last, meaning you’ll have a lower ‘cost per wear’ the more you wear it.

‘If in time, the item no longer fits or you no longer have a use for it, you’ll still have a high quality item that you can sell onto someone else and recoup some of your money.

‘Buying better really can pay off in the long run.’

Get creative

Even the most clumsy of us can learn how repair a tear or sew on a button.

Invest in a sewing kit or machine so that any damaged or ripped pieces of clothing can be fixed – rather than being thrown in the bin.

And if you think an item of clothing is beyond repair, why not get creative?

Turn jeans with tattered hems into a pair of shorts or if you have a cardi with a few buttons missing, take the rest off and find some new ones to replace them.

Shop second hand for kids

Second-hand kids clothing is the second most popular category after womenswear on Vinted – and for good reason.

Natacha says: ‘Kids outgrow their clothes extremely quickly, so parents often find that they have a surplus of clothing that has only managed one or two wears, if even at all.

‘As a result, you’re likely to find pre-loved kids’ clothes in excellent condition, and sometimes, even some never-loved clothes in unworn condition too.

‘Since many children go through clothes so quickly, considering pre-loved instead of new in the first instance can help to reduce unnecessary fashion waste, and helps to build more conscious consumption habits from an early age.’

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