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Second Hand September

Second Hand September
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Second Hand September is a month long exploration of sustainability in all it's forms. At GPS Vintage, we are focusing on how fashion has an important part to play in sustainability.
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Today, we have prepared not one but TWO interviews with two lovely ladies named Molly-Mae and Nikita. Both women champion sustainable fashion and believe in creating a more fair and ethical system within the fashion industry.
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Second Hand September
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1. Do either of you have a piece of clothing that you've had forever? A completely indispensable classic? 
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MOLLY: Yes, I have a lot of pieces that I have had a long time. I like to keep clothing a long time and wear things until they literally have holes in them. The piece that would stand out the most is a pink Shrimps jacket that has a yellow fluffy collar (sounds crazy I know - it really is unique) I got it in a Shrimps sample sale in Carnaby Street years ago, right at the beginning of my fashion career. It doesn't come out much, its a statement piece and can't be worn with everything but I love it. It really is me in a jacket and I would never get rid of it. 
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NIKITA: My style has changed quite a lot since I was younger so whilst I don’t have an actual piece that I’ve had forever, I’ve always always had a great pit of dungarees in my wardrobe. They’re my indispensable classic!
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2. Tell us about the last sustainable item that you bought and what made you buy it? 
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NIKITA: I bought some boots second hand from Depop because I had saw a lot of fast fashion sites bringing out their boots for winter and just knew I could find a similar pair sustainably! 
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MOLLY: I made a conscious decision about 2 years ago to try to only buy sustainable, whether that is second hand, vintage or from sustainable fashion brands. I bought this amazing cream/beige linen blazer from a charity shop in Walthamstow recently for £2! I can't tell whether its mens or women's but it was in the mens department, and its a little oversized with big shoulder pads too but I love it. It's an outfit finisher and honestly makes any dress look so much more expensive, and at that price it was a no brainer! I couldn't even try it on in the shop because of the covid restrictions on fitting rooms, but I knew it would be amazing on, and I was right. Nude/beige/simple/clean is really in at the moment and so it's really on trend. I literally went out looking for something like this after seeing a friend wear a nude blazer to a party recently so I was very happy when I found it. I like to have something in mind when I go second hand shopping and I must be good at it because I almost always find it! 
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3. If you both could make one change in the fashion industry, what would it be and why? 
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MOLLY: I would introduce a law that meant that all workers are paid fairly. I think that's honestly the right thing to do, its not fair that companies make billions of profit and yet the people that actually make our clothing; the garment workers, and the people way down the bottom of the supply chain, the growers of the cotton, the people that dye the fabric - they deserve to earn a fair and honest wage. They do not deserve to starve or work in unsafe conditions so that we can wear an item of clothing - no one does. The 'Pay Up' campaign this year really showed me how evil companies can be and how driven by money they really are. That would definitely be what I would do first - but there is a very long list! 
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NIKITA: For everyone to just be a bit more compassionate. If every fast fashion retailer really thought about it, they could all be a bit more sustainable.
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4. Why should we care about slow fashion? 
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NIKITA: Fast fashion is one of the biggest contributors to your carbon footprint. If you want the world to be enjoyed by your grandchildren, then slow fashion is an easy switch for big impact.
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MOLLY: The rate at which clothing is produced, sold and consumed has risen so dramatically in the last 30 years, it's got out of control. Slowing it down has to be part of the solution.  The UK is the Mecca for Fast Fashion. Our beautiful high streets are full of cheap, fast fashion shops and we don't realise that that isn't what the rest of the world looks like, its so normal to us. The UK has the highest consumption of new clothing in Europe, with 26.7 kgs per capita, which is 46% more than Germany and 99% more than France. When I moved to New Zealand I realised that its abnormal. Their high streets there are full of small privately owned boutiques where you can find high quality pieces at prices that are relative to what a garment should cost and slow living is the norm there. We need to unlearn and re-educate. If your t-shirt costs less than your coffee, how can you expect the workers to have been paid properly? How can you expect it to last a long time? We need to slow fashion down, put pressure on big fast fashion retailers to make a change and think about our power as consumers, vote with your purchases for the world you want to live in, shop second hand instead! 
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5. What is something that you both wish people knew about vintage or second hand clothing? 
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MOLLY: That it can be great quality. I think there is a stigma around second hand that its just dirty, smelly or worn out, and that's definitely not always the case. I pride myself on finding a great piece and when I get a compliment on that piece I can say "Thanks, its vintage" or "Thanks, I got it secondhand", whether that's from a great shop like GPS Vintage or I swapped it, or a charity shop or even on Depop. I get a thrill out of the hunt and finding those great vintage pieces but I also get a thrill out of the face I sometimes get when I say that it's second hand and cost me less than a fiver! People are always surprised and I love to show that second hand shopping can be stylish and you can find beautiful pieces.
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NIKITA: It isn’t all old and smelly. Second hand and vintage can be some of the best quality pieces you ever own, you just need to put the time in to searching for something you’ll love! 
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You can shop high quality, second hand clothing from Levis 501 jeans to designer puffers at GPSVINTAGE.COM
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Sustainable September Fashion Landfill
Taken at a fashion show at Trostenetsky, a local dumping ground as part of the campaign 'Goodbye Plastic Bags'
 
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