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What is #SecondhandSeptember, a sustainable shopping movement to embrace right now?

Has the term #SecondhandSeptember cropped up in conversations lately? Are you wondering if fashion is asking you to shop thrift now, or is it simply a hashtag adopted by environmental crusaders? The 30-day campaign was initially started by the British association Oxfam, encouraging people to stop buying new clothes for the duration of the month.

While the ask seems easy enough, it is a task for the buy now generation. With Oxfam studies showing that every week almost 11 million items of clothing end up in landfills, it is time we question the environmental impact of excess consumerism with smart choices and sustainable steps starting this #SecondhandSeptember. Here are some of the sustainable approaches adopted by brands that should become a part of the regular fashion vocabulary instead of being restricted to a single month.

Image: Courtesy Saritoria Instagram

Starting with Saritoria’s #SecondhandSeptember campaign with social media influencers that is urging everyone to wear, re-wear, and share their garments. Started by Pernia Qureshi, Shehlina Soomro and Omar Soomro, Saritoria is a first-of-its-kind global platform for pre-loved South Asian luxury fashion. The brand’s bid to build a more conscious community of desi fashionistas is perfectly in sync with the sustainable movement. One can shop for some of our favourite Indian designers – Sabyasachi, Anamika Khanna, Manish Malhotra, and more on the website. But for now, support the cause.

Image: Courtesy Dolce Vee Love

Another approach to #SecondhandSeptember is thrift shopping. While we’ve all grown up wearing our siblings’ hand-me-downs, consciously picking up preloved clothing is slowly becoming a major trend. From social media influencers to Bollywood stars, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon by not just shopping for secondhand clothes but also hosting thrift sales (many dedicated to charities). Amongst them is Dolce Vee Love run by Komal Hiranandani that has been conducting celebrity closet sales with the likes of Varun Dhawan, Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Anushka Sharma, Bhumi Pednekar, Soha Ali Khan, Sonam Kapoor, and more. While shopping celebrity looks is enticing, it is definitely worth it as proceeds from the sale go towards a range of causes such as the welfare of underprivileged children (NGO CRY) and helping stray animals (NGO World for All).

Ekaya X The Revival Project

Oxfam’s guidelines for #SecondhandSeptember don’t just urge you to shop in thrift shops but also ask you to relook at your wardrobe and recycle your existing clothes. An approach to this is inculcated by Ekaya with The Revival Project, a special series of one-of-a-kind twice loved saris. The label aims to recreate and restore heirloom pieces owned by their patrons in order to revive age-old handloom weaving techniques. Through this process, they are able to encourage and empower artisans to recreate traditional pieces that we can only imagine seeing in our grandmother’s neatly folded pile of saris.

Good Earth Naqashi
Good Earth Naqashi

The road to sustainability is also linked with innovation, and upcycling is a frontrunner here. As a part of the 25 years celebrations, Good Earth has launched a tableware collection called Naqashi that uses the indigenous upcycling craft of papier-mâché native to Kashmir. Recycling waste paper into beautiful hand-painted and handmade lacquerware, the sale of which will go to the artisans. Approaches to sustainability are multi-fold. The main focus is that we need to look for ways to reduce our rampant consumerism. So if, like us, you’re looking to embrace #SecondhandSeptember, share your story.

All Images: Courtesy brands 

Akshita Nahar Jain
Sr Associate Editor
Akshita Nahar Jain has worked with various publications, including Elle, Harper’s Bazaar Bride, and Time Out Delhi, and written extensively on fashion and lifestyle. A sucker for alliteration and stylish sitcoms, she enjoys scrolling the web for less travelled destinations.