The planet needs to be in fashion this Second Hand September
21 September 2021
Second Hand September, a pledge started by Oxfam for the month associated with Fashion Week and new A/W collections, is a global movement to encourage everyone to rethink the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
Fast fashion in particular is a problem that has been increasingly highlighted in the past decade. A number of documentaries, activists and campaigns are spreading the news of its impact, including Fashion Revolution: a team of brands, business leaders and policymakers who work towards radically changing the way clothes are sourced, produced, and consumed.
In recognition of this important movement, we’re highlighting conversations with Change Makers who are working hard to bring good and necessary change within the industry – not just for September, but for the months and years to come.
Running out of time: why the planet needs to be in fashion – Arizona Muse, Model & Activist
Fashion model and climate activist Arizona Muse spoke with Michael about her journey from model to activist. Since the start of her career in 2010, Arizona has fronted campaigns and walked in shows for every designer from Burberry to Dior, as well as appearing on the cover of each major Vogue. Once described by the editor-in-chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour as ‘the new face of American fashion’, Arizona is now using this deep-rooted influence to campaign for a more sustainable, environmentally conscious and transformative future of fashion.
She has protested alongside Extinction Rebellion and embraced the role of sustainability consultant for fashion companies who wish to review their environmental impact. She sits on the board of The Sustainable Angle, a non-profit organisation that initiates and supports projects that minimise the environmental impact of the fashion industry, and contributes to Fashion Revolution.
Her love for the planet led her to deliver this call to action: ‘This season’s must-have is the continuation of life on earth’, capturing her motivation and sense of urgency to save a world that is running out of time. But perhaps most critically, she also urges that we ‘enjoy doing it, enjoy our lives and enjoy our connection with the world.’
The search for meaning: how you find it – Edeline Lee, Fashion Designer
Immersive, performative and creative, designer Edeline Lee is the antithesis of what she calls a ‘culture of consumerism’ that tries to ‘fill the never-ending hole’, making us ‘insecure’ and ‘disempowered’. Edeline’s career is fuelled by the joy she gets from designing and redesigning her clothes. She describes fashion as using the things you wear as symbols for who you are and what you stand for.
‘When I say playing the long game’, Edeline says, ‘I don’t design my clothes to only last one season. I’m not that type of designer. I hope they last in women’s wardrobes for a long time… I don’t want to be the trend of the moment.’
Discussing the worldwide issue of fast fashion, Edeline says that the simple fact is, if you are paying people properly to make clothes and if the design is good, it will cost more but it will also last longer. ‘We survived for generations with women buying one dress for the new season, altering a coat and maybe getting a new hat. And women were endlessly creative with that. So yes, clothing that isn’t fast fashion costs more but that is for a reason. There’s a problem if you’re paying too little. If you looked underneath the cover of that [low] cost, you would not like what you see.’
Her onus is on making and doing beautiful things, to counteract the ugliness in the world. Edeline leaves us with the message that it’s a time for us all to get involved, get political, and do what you’re good at.
Make it good: top tips for a life well led – Wayne Hemingway MBE, Co-founder, Hemingway Design
Wayne Hemingway is the fashion founder who shook up an industry with his wife Gerardine by creating the socially conscious label Red or Dead. At the centre of his conversation with Michael is music, fashion, family and lessons about how to conduct business by following his principles and practicing with purpose.
‘We didn’t want elitism’, says Wayne. ‘We were the first company to make a fashion collection working with prisoners in jail when we approached Full Sutton in York to create a workwear collection made from hemp. In another collection we banned any French buyers from coming to our catwalk whilst we supported Greenpeace’s anti-nuclear stance.’
To this day, Wayne continues to drive businesses to be more purposeful with Hemingway Design and The Good Business Festival, and says that he is confident brands will come back more purposeful post-pandemic. He leaves us with one final piece of advice: ‘Know what your purpose and what your beliefs are, and stand by them, but don’t get enclosed in your own bubble’.