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All washed up: uncovering the hidden environmental cost of second-hand clothes

Initiatives like Second Hand September are intended to combat the environmental impact of fast fashion. But can buying second-hand clothes really save the world?

By Zahra Manji  

Second hand clothes can cause different kinds of environmental damage. Photo: Pixabay/Prospect composite

“What do you really want; what do you really need?” asked British model Stella Tenant regarding the average consumers’ unconscious desire for new things. More than two weeks into Second Hand September and the outcry against fast fashion has never been louder. This year, an Extinction Rebellion protest sought to cancel London Fashion Week in its entirety, writing, “in recognition of the existential threat that faces us, we ask the British Fashion Council to be the leaders…

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