Second hand clothing: Use, Recycle or Dispose.

I am so excited about the Heineken Lagos fashion week which comes up on the 24th to 27th of october, 2018. The 2017 show was totally amazing, there was so much value gained. The HLFW has consistently shaped the identity of fashion in Nigeria.  This year, HLFW is focusing on a constantly ignored segments of the ecosystem, primarily the sustainable fashion and the role of second hand clothings in sustainable fashion.

The fashion industry is the second most harmful to the environment; the most harmful being the oil industry. The reasons of this include the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals in the production of cotton. The use of these substances in material production, coupled with other factors such as the use of fossil fuels in the production of man made fabrics, is damaging the environment.

‘The second hand sector is one of such often criticized for being an impediment to the growth of Nigeria retail and garment production industry, however we cannot ignore that it is a means of livelihood for hundreds of thousands of Nigerians and an affordable clothing choice for millions of Nigerians…’

Apart from providing a means of livlihood for various Nigerians, By purchasing sustainable clothing like second hand clothing (which is one of the easiest ways to improve fashion sustainability), you’re helping the planet; something we all need to start thinking about if not for our well being, but for that of future generations also. If everyone could reduce their carbon footprint via the clothes they wear, it would be a huge contribution to reducing the environmental damage currently being caused.

As consumers, we have the power to change the fashion industry, through the choices we make. The choice to buy a preloved garment over a new garment means you are making that garment more sustainable. Just like selling a garment instead of disposing it out makes it more sustainable (each family throws away about 70kg of clothes a year and they go straight to land fill to release methane).

Certain people cannot wear second hand clothes, if you are in that circle, when shopping, make sure to shop from an ethical company. One where you know; the materials have been grown organically, without harmful chemicals to people and the planet.Try and find companies that are transparent, so you can see the whole lifespan of the clothing you are wearing.
There are currently several strategies applied by various brands towards a more sustainable fashion.
The strategies include;
– fibre and fabric selection
– designing for extended clothing life
– consumer behaviour and sustainable clothing
– resource efficient business models
– reuse and recycle.

In Nigeria, Fashion Design brands like Tiffany Amber, Re.Lagos, Maki.Oh,Nkwo.official,EmmyKasbit,
Lisafolawiyo, KennethIze,IamIsigo have intentionally made the effort to work in this sustainable lane. Making sustainable choices in ‘sourcing for fashion design and production can build the Nigerian socio-economic and human capital.’

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