To begin with I started using charity shops as they were better for the planet and its people and although the clothes I bought were alright I always felt a bit self conscious and it felt like a compromise I was making for the planet's sake. However, in the last few years - I'm not sure whether I've changed or what's in charity shops has changed, but I now have an embarrassingly overloaded wardrobe full of beautiful charity shop and clothes swap finds. I now feel confident in what I am wearing and I love surprising people when they ask where I got the admired clothing from. Coupled with my recent enthusiasm for clothing making and altering and I am well down the road of secondhand chic.
And its great. So much more exciting than rack after rack of slightly different clothes, marred with the child labour and injustice, that everyone else will be wearing. You can be unique and wear what you like rather than what is in fashion. You also get the choice of all kinds of different styles you wouldn't normally come across and it lets your creativity run wild.
Not that I'm advocating rampaging secondhand consumerism here. Our societies obsession with stuff is damaging whether it is new or secondhand. But I believe that there must be enough clothes in the world at the moment to last us at least 30 years without making new ones*, so we might as well share them around a bit, alter them to actually fit us rather than the one body shape that highstreet clothing fits and celebrate the variety, the individuality of secondhand chic.
And when the clothes are all worn through and they need a new lease of life. Well then we can make them into draught excluders!
Photos: Me in secondhand chic (Mark Watson) and Slitherus the draught excluder who was a table cloth in his previous life.
*completely based on opinion, no facts here!