Are We In The Midst Of A Second Hand Revolution?

  • 7 months ago

Second hand, pre-loved, pre-owned, vintage, call it what you will, generally anything that you’re not buying brand new. For some time there has definitely been a bit of a stigma around this type of purchase. But are things slowly changing?

With the global pandemic making people assess their lives and think about what is really important to them and with the climate crisis literally bursting through our door (just look at California!), the message of overconsumption and overindulgence finally seems to be filtering through. We can no longer continue in the way that has gone before. The world is cracking at the seams and we know that something needs to change. 

We also know that the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world. We know the industry needs a complete overhaul. Every week 13 million items of clothing ends up in UK landfill, this is an unsustainable way to live and we need to act. 

We’ve loved a good charity shop find for a while now, but the second hand industry has definitely had a spotlight shone on it in recent months. This is giving us hope that a change in mindset is coming, the wave is building and we want to ride that bad boy into a new world. Will you join us?

We’re talking about this now because we want to spread some kudos to some of the amazing things already happening in this space.

Second Hand September

Something you may already know about as it is happening now is Second Hand September. Set up by Oxfam to encourage people to pledge to shop only second hand for 30 days or more. Root through the items you had ear-marked to go and see if you can repair, upcycle or even make them into something else. You’ll be giving them a longer life and be saving more waste ending up in landfill.

And if you really can’t do without that new-purchase high, browse Oxfam online and find a hidden gem of an item. You’ll also be putting your money towards helping the poorest people on the planet. It’s a win, win. If you haven’t started already, why not take the pledge now?

The Rental Market

Rent the Runway, which was set up in the US in 2009, was the real trigger for the rental market to take off. Followed by the likes of HURR Collective and By Rotation which are both UK peer-to-peer rental services. Remember pre-COVID when you could have up to ten weddings in a year and many people bought a new outfit for each! These services eliminate that problem and are better for the planet and your wallet. HURR have also just launched a pop-up in Selfridges as part of Project Earth, which is amazing to see traditional retailers looking at ways in which they too can adapt.

We know weddings, events and generally most things that you might rent an outfit for have been put on hold but we are still holding out hope that these platforms can survive and continue to change bad shopping habits.

Pre-owned platforms

The most well-known of these, Depop, a peer-to-peer fashion marketplace that has steadily gained traction. Similar to a social network in which you have a profile and followers, you can snap the items you want to list and upload to your profile to sell. We love Depep! A real treasure trove of bargains. 

More recently the platform collaborated with one of our heroes, RAEBURN Design to offer DIY packs to make your own RAEBURN bucket hat (using either your own material or offcuts from the RAEBURN studio) to celebrate the RAEBURN shop launch on Depop. Here you can find archive pieces and samples. A brand embracing this type of platform is a great step and is a good example of how retail is evolving.

Other platforms include Vinted, or if you’re looking for designer try Vestiaire Collective.


All of these initiatives are helping to re-shape and change an industry that just wasn’t working. A shift in mindset is what is needed. Embracing second hand and pre-loved items is something that needs to become the norm, essentially the planet’s resources will only stretch so far and we need to act before it is too late.

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