Over the past two years I’ve been trying to live a bit greener, and I’ve been writing about my journey on my blog gwyrddach.com and also in my brand new book Welsh language book ‘Gwyrddach’ which shares lots of useful tips on how to live waste and plastic free. Buying reusable water bottles and using soda and vinegar to clean the house didn’t feel like a massive sacrifice, but this isn’t the case when you’re buying clothes…shoes, bags, hats, scarves, tights etc etc. When I started researching the effects the fashion industry has on our planet and its population, I was shocked how little I actually knew about how my clothes were made.
At the moment, we produce 80 million new items of clothes every year, and the fashion industry is the second greatest polluter, after the oil industry. But it’s not only the environment that suffers as a result of the fashion industry, but also the people who make our clothes. It seems like there’s something new for us to buy every week and we buy 400% more clothes than we used to buy ten years ago, and on average, we only wear each item of clothes five times before we throw it away.
I always thought I was a conscientious shopper, but when I started following Marie Kondo’s “Kon Marie” method, to tidy my wardrobe I had the shock of my life. I had so many cheap and poor-quality clothes in my pile, clothes I’d bought on a whim and hardly ever worn. There are quite a few things I do now to reduce the effects of my shopping habits on our planet; I mend, upcycle and only buy new clothes which are ethical and of high quality.
The one shopping method that best suits my new greener way of living, and also suits my love of clothes, is buying second hand and vintage clothing, and that’s why I love Oxfam’s #SecondHandSeptember campaign and I’ve signed up to take part this month. This is a brilliant campaign which raises awareness of the devastating effects of the fashion industry on our planet and on the poor people who make our clothes. The idea is simple, we sign up to say NO to new clothes throughout September, and encourages us to shop in their charity shops and other secondhand and vintage outlets and to seek out some real bargains!
I’ve loved taking part. I’m helping the planet, I’m saving money and I’ve found some amazing and unique creations which say something about me…rather than looking like a high street mannequin! Here are a few of my recent charity shop finds…
If you want to join me and take part in this challenge, every day and every pledge makes a difference and makes a statement. Sign up here.
Why not make every month a second-hand month? Every time you walk up the high street or visit an online shop remember these wise words: ‘Fast fashion is wasteful fashion!’
By Mari Elin, Gwyrddach.com