Updated: Jul 14, 2020
Hi, I'm Emily. I stopped buying new clothes in September 2019. I am now addicted to charity clothes shopping.
No, seriously, I made a conscious decision in September last year to take part in Oxfam's campaign Secondhand September. Oxfam encouraged people not to buy anything new for the month of September. I've been buying secondhand clothes for years but topped up my wardrobe with the odd new thing every now and again, so I decided to give it a go. Although it was my 30th birthday during the month and I had lots of birthday money to spend, I didn't give my cash away to any high-street giants.
After the month ended I decided I would carry on with my pledge and it's been almost a year since I bought anything new. I have even made a point of only buying local, or from ethical brands if I have wanted to buy a gift for someone else. And of course no outfit is complete without all my amazing Made by a Hun earrings. I do not miss buying new clothes and taking part in Oxfam's campaign has opened my eyes to the damage the fast fashion industry causes on our planet. For example eight billion pieces of clothing are consumed globally every year. It takes around 7,000 litres of water to produce one pair of jeans. And on average most people only wear one item of clothing six times. These are all things people do not think about when they go into Next, Topshop, New Look etc and fill their arms with cheaply made garments.
I love fashion and I love clothes but I want to help people understand that you do not need to buy something new every time you are invited to an event, or have a special occasion to mark. A piece of clothing, if good quality, will last years and can be mixed and matched a number of ways. I held a catwalk in November last year with clothesI'd picked up from charity shops to show just that. I am now showcasing a number of outfits on my Instagram page (@emzjsmith) to show people secondhand clothes can be chic, they can be worn multiple ways and buying preloved can help look after our planet.
But the mass amounts of clothing being produced and then ending up in landfill isn't the only reason why I buy secondhand, it's also how the people making those clothes are treated and the conditions they work in. Do you really know how your clothes are made when you buy them? There are apps which can help guide you if you are unsure if a high-street retailer is as green as they 'say they are' - such as 'good on you'.
My aim isn't to preach and make people change the way they live their lives, because some girl has told them to - but if I can make someone think twice when buying something new, then I'm happy. My top tips for bossing a secondhand outfit: Look for fabrics, patterns and colours you like when shopping in charity shops - do not shop for your size. Be brave - if anyone can pull off an orange dress with yellow shoes then it's you. Think a little while longer than normal before you buy - do you really need another item in your wardrobe.
Follow me at @emzjsmith on Instagram for more of my secondhand styles.