Charity staff in Leeds are urging people to help protect the environment by ditching the high street and turning to second-hand clothes, as part of a national campaign.
Oxfam in Headingley is taking part in the Second Hand September campaign, which is encouraging people to ditch so-called ‘fast fashion’ and instead take the pledge to say no to new clothes for 30 days and shop in a sustainable way.
The charity claims that every week, the UK sends 11 million items of clothing to landfill. It blames the growth in ‘fast fashion’ - the production of cheap, poor quality garments from factories across the world employing poorly paid workers.
Second Hand September aims to encourage people to explore alternative options.
‘I find it so much more fun to shop second-hand’
Bryony Arif, deputy manager at the Oxfam charity shop on Otley Road, said she hopes the campaign will inspire people in the city to be more environmentally conscious.
She said: “We’re asking people, as consumers, not to buy anything new for 30 days. Let’s see what we can get through second-hand sources.
“I find it so much more fun to shop second-hand - you’ll go into six different fast fashion shops and you’ll see practically the same selection.”
According to Oxfam’s campaign page on its website, the charity says it would take 13 years to drink the water needed to make one T-shirt and a pair of jeans.
Ms Arif said the concept of ‘fast fashion’ was “over consumptive” and that the garments were not designed to last.
She said: “You’re meant to wear it twice and then buy something new.
“We can slow down fast fashion.
“We can extend the life of clothes so that they aren’t just bought and worn once before going back into the waste stream.
“By taking the pledge, you can be part of a system which is doing active, positive change rather than contributing to it.
“Together we can make an impact - here’s your opportunity to do it.”
Second-hand events on offer in Leeds
For people taking part in the campaign, Leeds Community Clothes Exchange (LCCE), a monthly event held in Woodhouse, offers an easy way to pass on unwanted garments and access new-to-you items.
Lauren Cowdery, who helps organise the event, said the community project helped to encourage the exchange of clothes and accessories, in an effort to reduce consumption.
She added: “By swapping unwanted clothing, we reduce the need for new items to be produced as well as the number of items which are discarded, reducing the impact on the environment”.
Visitors to the event in Woodhouse can pay £3 entry and swap up to 20 items.
The next LCCE event will take place on Saturday, September 28 at Woodhouse Community Centre, on Woodhouse Street, from noon-4pm.
For more information, visit www.leedscommunityclothesexchange.com