Parliamentarians back Second Hand September campaign

Iain Gray MSP and Martin Whitfield MP have visited Oxfam’s Haddington shop to find out more about the charity’s new Second Hand September campaign.

The campaign aims to draw attention to the increasing pressure fast fashion is putting on the environment and asks the public to buy second hand instead of new for at least one month.

The textile industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the shipping and aviation industries combined and, to keep prices low, throwaway fashion is often made by garment workers from the world’s poorest communities who are paid below the living wage.

This type of fashion is unsustainable, with 11 million items of clothing in the UK ending up in landfill every week. Buying second hand is a fun and easy alternative to fast fashion as it helps to slow the relentless consumer cycle by giving garments a second chance to be sold and re-used.

By shopping at Oxfam, people can also do their bit to raise money to help the world’s poorest people fight for their right to be paid a fair wage, be protected against climate disasters and access the basics like clean water. £10 spent in an Oxfam shop could buy clean water for 10 people.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“I am joining Oxfam in sending a message that fashion is currently unsustainable and that we want retailers to produce clothes in a way that is better for our planet and for the people who make them.

“I regularly shop at Oxfam and other local charity shops and am pleased to support Second Hand September. I also spent twelve years working for Oxfam before entering politics and I have seen first hand what a difference the funds raised by Oxfam shops can make.

“I’m calling on people across East Lothian to get behind the campaign and do their bit to help people and the planet.”

Martin Whitfield MP said:

“By taking Oxfam’s Second Hand September pledge I’m saying no to fast fashion and yes to a more sustainable approach to the clothing industry. Oxfam and other charity shops offer a wider range of clothing than ever before making it much easier to shop second hand.

“However, I also recognise that for many people buying new clothes is simply not an option because of the ongoing squeeze on incomes and cuts in benefits. We need a fairer and greener society that improves people’s lives but also protects the planet.”

Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said:

“The harm throwaway fashion is doing to our planet and people is a worry for us all. But it’s especially alarming for the young generation who will increasingly suffer the effects of the climate emergency, as well as the world’s poorest communities whose lives are already being devastated by extreme and unpredictable weather caused by climate change.

“We need to rethink the way we consume now, and Second Hand September is a fun and easy way for everyone to do their bit to help slow down the fashion cycle while supporting the world’s poorest people.”

People can take the pledge to slow down fast fashion, and get access to shopping tips and styling tricks to make their month of no new a breeze, at: www.oxfam.org.uk/SecondHandSeptember.