November 2014 saw the first #secondhandfirst week run by recycled clothing superstars Traid. According to Traid, the ‘idea of the week is to encourage clothes donations, to inspire people to choose and buy #secondhandfirst by either popping in their local charity shop/vintage shop, holding a clothes swap in their community, share skills to fix/mend/alter or even just wear secondhand clothes for the duration of the week to encourage others to do the same.’

This week has come at a critical time for fashion. As we discussed in our previous post  about Bleak Friday, we’re buying more clothing than ever before – putting real pressure on our global resources. Traid are a dedicated clothing recycling business based in London, who see first-hand the scale of textiles waste in our capital city running a warehouse where they hand sort clothing donations for resale in their charity shops. The idea behind #secondhandfirst week is to raise the profile of wearing second hand clothing and to start to challenge perceptions of newness. Do we need to buy ‘new’ clothing to experience the feeling of wearing something ‘new’? Could you simply wear something that is ‘new to you’  – repositioning us as the ‘guardians’ or ‘custodians’ of the pieces in our wardrobe for a while before they are enjoyed by other people?

SWAP

One part of the #secondhandfirst week campaign was supporting people to run a clothes swap and Leeds Community Clothes Exchange (LCCE) were proud to host their November Exchange during the week. The LCCE have spent the last 6 years spreading the same message as Traid that sourcing clothing from other people in your local community is just as exciting as shopping on the hightstreet. The November exchange was no exception and saw 193 swappers exchange 1631 pieces of clothing during the afternoon. All these swappers now have ‘new’ outfits, without having actually enabled the manufacture any more stuff. The clothes exchange has created a forum for people to pass on clothing they no longer wear and at the same time take home pieces that are ‘new’ to them – the members of the clothes exchange – currently 1300 in total – are the guardians of a much larger local wardrobe who’s ownership slowly shifts over the months through the exchanges.

SHOP

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Another part of Traid’s campaign is about shopping second hand and Lucy Palmer, an upcoming journalist and Antiform friend, took up this challenge by wearing only second hand and upcycled clothing for the week. We are proud to see Antiform pieces styled up with the best of charity shop and vintage finds proving clothes can be restyled rather than replaced. To see how Lucy got on check out her article here.

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Traid’s campaign is either a starting point for people who have never though much about where their clothes come from or go to, or a platform for those already very much involved in trying to add value to previously unwanted clothing – breathing new life into them through restyling, upcycling or swapping to come together and share ideas.

To find out more about #secondhandfirst visit traid.org.uk

Images courtesy of Traid and Antiform

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