Thoughtful Style: Secondhand September in Stripes

secondhand september everlane paperbag shorts

Happy Secondhand September!

Are you participating in Secondhand September or another sustainable shopping practice this month?

The Secondhand September campaign is run by Oxfam, a British nonprofit organization known for their charity shops throughout the UK. The premise is implied: challenge yourself to buy only secondhand for one month.

This year’s campaign is premised on the concept that buying or acquiring secondhand is the more sustainable option. But certainly, charity shops like Oxfam also benefit monetarily when you make a secondhand purchase. It helps them support their programs.

I bring this up because I think it’s important to remember that the secondhand market is still a market. There are still winner and losers.

And it’s not a solution for overconsumption. As the OR Foundation points out, at the global level, secondhand often functions as “a for-profit outlet for the Global North’s excess” (Instagram @theorispresent).

They go on to say that only 10-20% of what is collected for the secondhand market is recirculated in the country in which it was donate. The vast majority of it enters for-profit secondhand markets in the Global South, in places like Ghana.

Buying secondhand and passing things on to family and friends are certainly good things! But we still have work to do. It’s important not to see the secondhand option as a solution for overconsumption. I know have made an iffy purchase with the assumption that I could just donate or sell it if it didn’t work out.

But, in too many cases, we’re just passing the responsibility onto someone else (I’m definitely preaching to myself here).

All that to say: here are some partially secondhand outfits!

secondhand september everlane paperbag shorts

A secondhand shirt worn with (affiliate links) these shorts and these sandals

secondhand september thrifted striped dress
secondhand september thrifted striped dress
secondhand september thrifted striped dress

A secondhand dress

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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