Second Hand September Roundup
It’s been a whirlwind, but secondhand September has come to an end. Naturally, we’re here to give you a rundown of everything that happened in the sustainable fashion world this month (the good, the bad, and the ugly). We’re all about ending on a high, so before we get to the good stuff, let’s run through the more questionable developments that occurred this September…yes BooHoo, we’re looking at you.
BooHoo X Kourtney Kardashian
I don’t even know if BooHoo knows what Secondhand September is, but we’re feeling personally attacked, not only by their decision to make Kourtney Kardashian their ‘sustainability ambassador’, but also their choice to announce it in a month dedicated to educating people about slow fashion.
Whatever the reasoning behind their decision to choose someone completely unbothered by climate change and someone who lives a very unethical lifestyle, it seems they needed to pay someone millions to give them some kind of press to compensate for their diminishing sales. Their journey to sustainability includes a collection of 46 items made from “recycled fibers, traceable cotton, recycled sequins and recycled polyester” alongside “transparent practices for shoppers who want to learn more about the apparel”. Does the bare minimum count as sustainability when their workers in Pakistan are still working in dangerous clothing workshops for 33 cents an hour?
We don’t need to tell you twice, but a business like BooHoo cannot be sustainable as the brand is made up of completely unethical practices. The most sustainable thing BooHoo can do is close down and offer better paid jobs for their workers all over the world.
Introducing PLT Marketplace 🛍💕 #PLTMarketplace— PrettyLittleThing (@OfficialPLT) August 29, 2022
The buying and selling community allowing you to sell on the clothes you no longer wear or buy & shop for something new to you 🤩
Ready to join the movement? Download the PLT Marketplace app here ♻️🔎 https://t.co/MSLKAT58ZV pic.twitter.com/5K7xfneBnw
It seems everyone is catching onto the truth behind fast fashion, even fast fashion brands. They certainly are feeling the pressure to come up with some form of greenwashing tactic to generate sales and pretend they care about their consumers and the planet. PLT releasing a marketplace is laughable. We’re all for encouraging people to partake in circular fashion and selling their old clothes rather than throwing them away, but anyone using the PLT marketplace in an attempt to be sustainable is taking one step forward and two steps back (or maybe even half a step forward and 20 steps back).
Funding Pretty Little Thing, whether it be through buying from their store or their ‘sustainable marketplace’ is inherently unsustainable. We suggest using other marketplace platforms that don’t fund exploitation if you’re interested in circular fashion. We’re glad PLT is feeling the pressure to account for a more sustainable future, but like BooHoo, they would need to change their entire business model to be anywhere near ethical.
Us to Miss Indiyah:
Shein Pop up
As if we haven’t already seen enough Shein products when scrolling on Depop and Vinted, they decided to open a pop-up store in London. The store was only open for a weekend, but was full of their affordable and ‘trendy’ clothes. They released a statement saying that they ‘pride themselves’ on making ‘the latest fashion and beauty trends accessible to everyone’, using their low prices as means to suggest they prioritise accessibility rather than profit.
Sustainable fashion can be affordable and accessible to all, in the form of buying less clothes, buying from charity shops, borrowing and swapping clothes for free with friends and family. Using low prices as a guise to cover up their unethical business model based on mass production will not go unnoticed. For more info on why Shein is so damaging to our environment see our recent article.
Deep breaths, we got through the hard part. Now it’s time for the good news, because we know balance is key in keeping ourselves hopeful for the future of sustainability.
H&M Held Accountable
Things we love to see: H&M being held accountable for their greenwashing https://t.co/Jb5zxtOBps— Whering (@whering__) September 14, 2022
We never thought we would see the day, but H&M have actually been held accountable for their greenwashing . Dutch authorities have cracked down and decided both H&M and Decathlon France are no longer able to make sustainability claims as they have been found guilty of greenwashing. We’re feeling a little smug as they’ve also had to pay $500,000 to ‘sustainability causes’ in order to evade more sanctions from The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets.
We’re deffo not complaining that H&M are getting held accountable, but they aren’t really doing anything to improve their brand ethics either. They have yet to make a statement about how they can actually make their brand more sustainable, they simply are no longer allowed to claim that they are doing the most with their “eco conscious collection”. This is definitely a glass half-full situation, but we still wish brands were getting sanctioned for absolutely destroying the environment and forced to do better.
Sustainable Fashion Week
The second sustainable fashion week and first catwalk show happened this year in Bristol! Founder Amelia Twine proved that it is possible for sustainability to be factored into fashion weeks. We were lucky enough to attend the show, and of course we want to keep you in the loop so we wrote about it! Find out all the tea in our recent article where we chatted with Amelia.
Sustainable Fashion Week focused on 4 themes (repair, regenerate, rewear, and reconnect) to allow people to break down what sustainability means to them. Community was central to the catwalk, highlighting the need for us to think about how our clothes and community are closely linked. In line with initiatives like Remember Who Made Them , we were thrilled to see people and community at the heart of the event - rather than sleek and impersonal designs. The models had a true connection with the clothes they wore which made the catwalk feel even more special.
Textile Waste is Profitable
We were super happy to discover that there’s money in textile recycling. With fast fashion brands (and pretty much any successful company) being mainly concerned with profit, this could inspire more businesses and investors to fund circular fashion. Fashion for Good collaborated with the Dutch Circle Economy foundation to carry out research that revealed ‘converting that textile into new fibres can generate 74 million euros annually’.
There is new legislation in place that enforces ‘all textiles in Europe to be collected separately by 2025’ (Fashion United). This means materials will be organised and sorted out, so they can be easily recycled and made into new garments. There is enough profit to incentivise the removal of zippers and buttons to make materials easier to work with. Fashion for Good also highlights the need for funding at policy stage to upscale the impact of recycling textile waste. Policy change is a great way to enforce countries and businesses to be sustainable. We really hope this is the start of something great!
The CEO of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, gave his company to a non profit organisation to ensure all company profits (about $100 million a year) are donated to an important cause, climate change. Chouinard really is showing what’s possible as a clothing brand who truly cares about the planet. We commend his decision. Read his full statement here.
LDC X Whering
Lone Design Club hosted a collaborative pop-up space on Regent Street this month, featuring a variety of independent designers. The conceptual space showcased small-scale designers prioritising sustainability in their work, with everything from jewellery, homeware and the most beautiful clothes you can imagine. We were so grateful to be part of this space, helping store visitors understand how to use our app to plan outfits and organise their wardrobe.
Thanks to Lone Design Club for having us, and enjoy this little sneak peek into our very own Whering Burn Book!
That’s a wrap on Second Hand September. It was a roller coaster, but we’re proud of how the slow fashion community came together to reduce consumption and prioritise ethical purchasing this month. Did we miss something? Let us know on Instagram and Twitter, @whering__if there’s something on your mind! 💓
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