Oxfam are running a campaign asking people not to buy new clothes for the 30 days of September but to buy secondhand clothes instead.
See what we found and what we felt about this campaign.
Ella and I tried to source the same sort of trends that we found on the high street in our local charity shops. The current craze for skin prints was very easy to find and most items were priced between £4.00 – 7.50. The garments were from mid to better end high street stores and there were frankly only good quality items on offer.
A fully lined playsuit, a jersey red long sleeved T shirt and a full sleeved feather print floaty top.
A gold foiled snake print cardigan, a printed wool top and a multi skin Ombre patchwork top.
We also found some Marvel licensed garments which were a bit more quirky and fun. Both appeared to have been barely worn.
A fabulous cobalt suede skirt, casual monochrome gathered pants and last year’s striped trousers will do just fine for another season.
There were some good prints which would be very easy to wear with jeans and a gorgeous horizontal ombre ditsy floral from French Connection.
I wanted Ella to look also at the quality of the garments and we found a great red jacket for quality but the styling was a bit old fashioned. However there was a brand new Hollister jacket for £28.
We found two great quality knits. Nylon is added to the blend to help garments keep their shape and add strength to the fabric. We found a pretty fuchsia cardigan from Boden. The merino wool V neck jumper from Jasper Conran was superb.
I am not sure about this campaign as I see the problem as far more complexed than being presented. The reality is that as a nation we consume and discard way too much in all areas.
Since time in memorial the textile industry has been a major pollutant of the world, along with many others, transport, construction, mining, agriculture, metallurgy, etc. It is definitely time for all to clean up their act.
In the last few decades the UK has seen a trend for cheap throw away fashion. Cheap always means a reduction in the quality of the products, both in terms of fabrics and garments. In reality few of these garments are likely to make it to the Charity Shops.
Currently the high street is suffering, thousands of people are losing their jobs and this is not what the British fashion industry needs. Also remember behind the very worthy message of “Secondhand September” is marketing goal to sell more clothes from Oxfam’s high street outlets.
Charity shops are exempt from paying business rates, staff are mainly volunteers, and so they have minimal operating costs. You can be pretty sure that one will be coming soon to that empty shop on your high street.
My advise is to shop wisely, be prepared to pay more and demand better quality. Finally, I believe that there is room to support both the high street stores and your local charity shop by making a conscious decision to avoid throw away fashion.