Latest News

March 29th 2023

Head Student Team blog: Why a shift towards PreLoved is a vital trend

In tandem with our Women In Leadership event this year focused on Sustainability, we held our second annual pre-loved clothing sale, organised by Year 12 students Cait and Lara. The students love to see what eco-wise bargains they can pick up and we raised just over £500 which went to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), helping those in disaster zones or humanitarian crises across the world.  
Last year, I wrote my Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) around the question ‘Why Fast Fashion Will Never Be Compatible with Intersectional Feminism’ and identified that there is definitely a growing trend towards good quality unwanted clothes. So I thought I would explain why I think buying used clothes is so important. I explored the impact fast fashion has on women and people in developing countries. After carrying out extensive research, I focused on three main issues: fast fashion’s environmental impact, the production of clothes in sweatshops, and the pursuit of perfectionism it generates.  

Firstly, the environmental impacts. The fast fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions and 20% of all water waste. Climate change disproportionately affects women, particularly those in developing countries, where women often provide for their communities. Increases in droughts means that, often, women and young girls have to walk further to collect resources to support their families, draining their time, their energy and risking their personal safety.  In places where there is a scarcity of resources, the practice of exchanging a daughter’s hand in marriage for a dowry has become increasingly common.  It is often viewed as an economic necessity for the family as the financial burden is alleviated by having one less mouth to feed. Women are also more impacted by the increasing occurrence of natural disasters, exacerbated by climate change. The UN estimated that 80% of those being displaced by natural disasters are women because of their lack of access to resources and low socio-economic status. Hence, it is so important to support charities such as the DEC, which provides aid for those in disaster zones.  

Fast fashion exploits women in the production of the clothes. More than 80% of workers in sweatshops, where the majority of fast fashion garments are made, are women and girls. Not only are the wages sometimes as low as 3USD cents per hour, but working conditions are unsanitary and unsafe. Workers are forced to work unpaid overtime, are not given sick pay and in some cases are forced to take contraceptive pills to avoid taking time off for pregnancy. These women’s lives are controlled by the men who run the factories, supply chains and the parent companies. Whilst the women and girls forced into sweatshops may not have many better options, it does not excuse financially-driven men from exploiting them in the way they do. Fast fashion entrenches male dominance and denies women equal rights and fair pay.  

Finally, fast fashion thrives off social comparison and the constant idea being promoted by brands that you can always do or look better. Some 85% of fashion brands are run by male executives. Through advertising and social media, these brands promote an unattainable ideal of beauty and thus promote insecurity and encourage consumption as a way of making women feel better about themselves. The companies use the dopamine hit triggered by shopping to lure people into shops (real or virtual) and encouraging addiction to consumption.   

Given this, it is great to see the second-hand clothes market evolving. It is more accepted and popular than ever. Wearing second-hand is no longer stigmatised and people of all income levels participate.    

However, it is important to recognise that there is a certain level of privilege that comes with criticising the fast fashion industry. The time-consuming nature of second-hand clothes shopping is not a luxury that everyone is afforded, especially when the price of second-hand clothing is increasing with the rise of apps such as Depop and Vinted where many sell for profit.  

Despite this, there are many benefits. Supporting circular fashion reduces landfill, resource use and challenges the power of the fast fashion companies hold over the lives of women. It is more budget-friendly and caters for a wider range of income levels.   

I think that the school preloved clothing sale is a great way to make people aware of the importance of second-hand clothing whilst increasing availability and bringing the community together. I hope this is an event which will continue for many years to come.  

Written by Jess, Head Student Team, Year 13  

Page Gallery


Category / All Articles


Category / All Articles

Also In the News