Second Hand September – Upcycle & Recycle

We’re currently 3 weeks in to Second Hand September. Have you managed to avoid buying any new clothes? Last year, I shared my love of charity shop finds. I still love a good charity shop find, but Oxfam estimates that 70% of all donated clothes end up in Africa, which is harmful to local industry. If you’re donating, check what the policy is for clothing that doesn’t sell. Make sure it’s in great condition, so it’s more likely to sell. And only buy what you really need in the first place.

Second Hand September | Oxfam Ireland

Unsurprisingly, there has been a recent upsurge in the popularity of recycling and refashioning clothes. One of the best ways to save money in the current economic climate is to keep what you have, and avoid splurging the cash on major purchases and new wardrobes every few months. And for those of us who get bored easily, re-fashioning and cutting up and meshing together that skirt that’s too small, with that top that’s just plain, is one of the best ways to refresh your wardrobe, without overloading charity shops, or spending lots of money.

Not only will you save your hard earned cash, but you’ll be reducing your impact on the environment. That top with a hole in, would usually take up space in an already overflowing landfill site. Now, it can become part of a new top, or a dress.

And even if you don’t have that creative flair, or desire to get chopping and stitching, there are so many lovely people out there doing it for you – and it’s a fraction of the price you’d pay for a brand new, factory-made garment. Less ‘made from scratch’ clothing made and purchased, means less chemicals, water and energy used, and pumped out into the environment.

Here’s an upcycled favourite of mine, purchased several years ago from a brand who specialise in upcycling clothing. Sadly they are no longer in business.


Another fabulous brand is the lovely Sardine Clothing from Philadelphia, in the States. Having started in 2008, with a belief that everything can be re-used (with a self proclaimed love of using t-shirts), this skirt is testament to that…


Just to end on, here’s a dress I made myself, whilst studying a fashion course around a decade ago.  The contents of which include two tops, a pair of jeans, a couple of skirts, and some curtain fabric. You can quite literally make anything out of anything.


So, whether you feel like getting creative yourself, or grabbing a unique little number made by one of the lovely brands out there, you can see that the options are endless. Numerous ways to extend your wardrobe, cheaply, ethically and all with minimal environmental impact.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share your creations or second hand purchases with me.

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