Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

Second Hand September: Oxfam asks consumers not to buy new clothes for a month

All it takes is a little imagination to help save the planet

Model Stella Tennant and daughter Iris star in Oxfam's Second Hand September initiative. Tom Craig / Oxfam 
Model Stella Tennant and daughter Iris star in Oxfam's Second Hand September initiative. Tom Craig / Oxfam 

Oxfam knows a little bit about clothes, after all it has been selling them second hand since 1947, and in 1974 became the first charity to set up its own dedicated recycling facility, vowing never to send clothes to landfill.

It has now come up with a new initiative called Second Hand September, where for the whole month of September, Oxfam is asking us to change the habit of a lifetime, and not buy any new clothes.

In a bid to raise awareness of the environmental toll of fashion, Oxfam is asking that instead of always buying something new, for us to rethink clothes we already own. Fun though shopping is, unfortunately, not only does it impact the wallet, but it is having a devastating effect on the planet. In the UK alone, the average life span of a piece of clothing is just over two years, and over 6,105 tonnes of clothes are dumped into landfill every single week. At over 317,000 tonnes a year, that is almost the same weight as the Empire State Building in New York.

Launching with a glossy advertising campaign, shot by Tom Craig and starring famed model Stella Tennant and her daughter, Iris, both are dressed in second hand clothes, and look predictably amazing.

In an interview with Oxfam, Tennant's youngest daughter, Iris, explained, “My generation often wants the newest, latest things. But that causes problems for people in other countries and the planet. What’s good about shopping in charity shops is you know the clothes are not making climate change worse.”

Model Stella Tennant and daughter Iris star in Oxfam's Second Hand September campaign. Shot by Tom Craig
Model Stella Tennant and daughter Iris star in Oxfam's Second Hand September campaign. Tom Craig / Oxfam

However, this comes at a crucial time for the fashion trade, with September heralding the start of the winter season, where customers traditionally stock up on winter coats, jumpers, boots and trousers in preparation for the months ahead.

It is also the month long round of spring / summer fashion weeks, when the cities of New York, London, Milan and Paris launch the new directions, colours and shapes we will all be wearing in six months time. So asking shoppers to abstain, is not without controversy.

Those wishing to support the campaign can sign a pledge to commit for the whole month, and given that it takes up to 66 days for a new habit to become automatic, by choosing the thirty days of September, Oxfam hopes to get us nearly half way to mindful shopping.

By asking customers to abstain for just one month, it will not only save money, but will help save the planet too.

Updated: September 2, 2019 04:38 PM

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