Waste and Reuse – Second-hand Challenges Workshop 1

By Rhiannon Craft and Alida Payson

Waste & Reuse – Second-hand Challenges Workshop 1

  • To register, please email Alida at paysonAB@cardiff.ac.uk

We are excited to introduce a new ESRC Impact Accleration Account-funded project, which has emerged from the growing networks of the Second-hand Cultures in Unsettled Times Symposium that took place in June 2021. 

There is rising awareness that second-hand cultures will be crucial to any response to the climate emergency, as well as other economic problems. Our project focuses on everyday spaces of second-hand culture – from our homes, to charity shops, freecycle message boards, makers’ and resellers’ workshops, and all the way to the local tip. 

However, challenges persist for second-hand cultures, too. For example, we may encounter issues of waste, barriers to repair, labour problems, and community welfare concerns. What’s more, opportunities for people to connect to share ideas and problem-solve around these issues have been relatively rare. 

In order to address this, we will be launching a series of four free online workshops in 2022 exploring challenges to second-hand cultures. We will be bringing together various experts and other stakeholders in this field who are already thinking about and working towards a more sustainable, skilled, fair, and community-based second-hand economy.  

This series will include explorations of “second-hand” work, waste, repair and reuse, as well as ideas about how we might extend these values and practices into our communities. 

Following our in-person waste and reuse event in November 2021 – which took place as part of the ESRC and Cardiff University Festival of Social Science – we will start the series with a workshop exploring the concept of waste, and existing innovative waste management practices.  

We will hear multiple lightning talks from academics and other practitioners who are already thinking about waste and/or working on innovative ways of reusing it within the second-hand economy. 

In order to explore processes of waste and reuse, we propose that we work with the assumption that waste is only waste if we allow it to be. Indeed, Kevin Lynch (1981) explained that waste is largely defined by the fact that it is not used. 

In order to bring these abstract concepts to life, we will delve into practical activities of reuse. This will involve spending time with everyday materials and objects that are often discarded, exploring new ways of reusing these materials.  

Together, through hands-on collaborative problem-solving informed by existing practice and research, we hope that we can begin to effectively eliminate waste and generate new ideas to move forward. Our aim is for everyone to leave with an idea or action to take back with them to try out in their own organisations and projects.  

Drawing on the ideas generated in the workshops, we hope to build stronger connections and networks among people working on waste in secondhand economies. We will also develop resources and toolkits for good practice to share at a Second-hand Symposium 2022 and beyond.  

Watch this space for more updates! We will also report key reflections and findings at the second ‘Second-hand Cultures in Unsettled Times’ Symposium planned for June/July 2022. 

Please contact Alida Payson paysonAB [at] cardiff.ac.uk for more information or any queries. 

Follow @2ndhandcultures for news and updates.

Organisers:

Rhiannon Craft, Maya Wassell Smith, Dr Najia Zaidi,  (Cardiff University)  Violet Broadhead   (University of Bristol)

Partners & Advisors:

Dr Triona Fitton (University of Kent), Dr Jennifer Ayres, Sam’s Place, MAKE@Aldingbourne Trust

Secondhand Cultures in Unsettled Times – 15-16 June 2021 – Symposium Report and New Announcements

The Secondhand Cultures in Unsettled Times Symposium, held online 15-16 June 2021, brought researchers and practitioners from around the world together to talk about pressing issues related to secondhand cultures and economies.

Many thanks to all of the brilliant presenters. The symposium was co-organised by Dr Jennifer Ayres (NYU), Dr Triona Fitton (University of Kent), and Dr Alida Payson (Cardiff University), with the help of research assistant and JOMEC BA grad Kamila Buczek. It was supported by The Leverhulme Trust and Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media & Culture (JOMEC).

If you missed the 2021 symposium, see the short programme below!

The symposium has led to some exciting new connections and a growing Secondhand Research Network. We have some research network activities coming up in 2022:

Follow @2ndhandcultures on Instagram and Twitter to get involved and keep in touch.

Secondhand Cultures in Unsettled Times

Day 1  –  15 June 2021

Welcome and Introduction to the symposium with co-organisers Dr Jen Ayres, Dr Triona Fitton (University of Kent), Dr Alida Payson (Cardiff University) and Kamila Buczek (Cardiff University)

 

Introductory Workshop: Well-Worn: Falling Back in Love With Our Clothes

Wendy Ward (Independent practitioner /author)
◊ Show and tell and reflection session. Participants can bring (or wear!) to the workshop an item of well-worn and/or well-used clothing.

 

1.1 FABSCRAP Textile Journeys

  • Dhamar Romo Chavez (FABSCRAP Community Coordinator) Textile journeys: One-stop textile reuse and recycling enterprise providing fabric scrap pick-ups, sorting, consolidation, and recycling in New York City

 

1.2 Panel – The meanings of second-hand buying and selling in modern England

Chair: Dr Henry Irving (Leeds Beckett University)

 

1.3 Global fashion cultures

Chair: Professor Hazel Clark (Parsons, The New School)

  • Dr Aulia Rahmawati, Syafrida N. Febriyanti and Ririn P. Tutiasri (University of Pembangunan Nasional ‘Veteran’, Indonesia), “Thrifting is Thriving”: Secondhand Fashion Consumption and the Indonesian Youth
  • Liz Ricketts (The OR Foundation), The OR Foundation: No sustainability revolution without justice in supply chains
  • Brigitte Stockton (Bucks New University), Second-hand clothing and young adults in Dalian, Northern China

 

1.4 Design Education 1

Chair: Dr Sara Tatyana Bernstein

 

5. Household economies

Chair: Dr David Nettleingham (University of Kent)

  • Professor Jon Stobart (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Dr Sara Pennell (University of Greenwich) The anxieties of the auction: risk and the trade in second-hand household goods in eighteenth-century England
  • Lorna Flutter (Cardiff University) Handing down home among boatdwellers
  • Dr Jennifer Le Zotte (UNC Wilmington) Secondhand Studies as Historical Gap-Work

 

6. Charity shop & thrift store ethnographies

Chair: Dr Jennifer Ayres (NYU)

  • Violet Broadhead (University of Bristol), Salvage and waste in charity shop stockrooms
  • Siobhan Kelly (University of Salford), Sociability and belonging or professionalism and profit? Exploring the lived experience of volunteers aged 65+ working within the charity retail sector
  • Dr Jennifer Ayres (NYU), The Work of Shopping

 

7. Objects and exchange

Chair: Dr Triona Fitton (University of Kent)

  • Maya Wassell Smith (Cardiff University), Sold at the Mast: Secondhand cultures and social economies at sea in the Nineteenth Century
  • Vita Kurland (New York University), eBay: The Secondhand Market and USPS Memorabilia
  • Dr Triona Fitton (University of Kent), Gifts in the “Quiet Economy”: an ethnography of UK charity shops

 

8. Problematizing Second Hand Cultures

Chair: Dr Alida Payson (Cardiff University)

 

Book talk 1 – Tansy Hoskins, Stitched Up: The Anti-capitalist Book of Fashion  (Pluto Books, 2014) (with Dr Jennifer Ayres)

 

Keynote: Professor Avril Maddrell (University of Reading) ‘Unsettled Times & Unsettling Secondhand Cultures’

(discussant, Dr Triona Fitton)

Secondhand Quiz and Social – (created & led by Kamila Buczek and Triona Fitton)

Secondhand Cultures in Unsettled Times Day 2  –  16 June 2021

 

Welcome to Day 2 – Design sprint – secondhand futures, or what next for secondhand research & praxis?

 

2.0 Research/Practioner Workshops

  • 2.1 Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd (Nottingham Trent University) Fashion Fictions Secondhand Safari – a participatory research project to generate, experience and reflect on engaging fictional visions of alternative fashion cultures and systems.
  • 2.2 Kat Roberts (Cornell University) Fabric Scrap Twine Workshop: Contemplating Waste-free Creative Practices (BYO fabric and scissors)
  • 2.3 Dr Jules Findley (University of Brighton) Secondhand and the Tacit

2.4 Vintage sellers panel

Chair: Dr Jennifer Ayres (NYU)

 

2.5 Waste, households, and the state

Chair: Dr George Campbell-Gosling (University of Wolverhampton)

  • Rhiannon Craft (Cardiff University) The Social (De)Construction of
    Waste: Bodging, Tatting and Making Do
  • Dr Annebella Pollen (University of Brighton) Post-mortem Dress:
    Extinguished Sparks
  • Rose Sinclair (Goldsmiths, University of London) The Jumble Sale: Second hand Thrift: From Dorcas Society’s to Dorcas clubs

 

2.6 Design education 2

Chair: Dr Greg Climer (California College of the Arts)

 

2.7 Makers, remakers & designers

Chair: Kelly L. Reddy-Best (Iowa State University)

  • Professor Mark Joseph O’Connell (Seneca College, Toronto, Canada) Y Sin Embargo Te Quiero (And Yet I Love You) Economic Policy Encoded in the Consumption of Used Garments
  • Dr Gesche Huebner (UCL) Clothes with Stories: An interdisciplinary art-science project
  • Kyra G. Streck and Dr Kelly L. Reddy-Best (Iowa State University) Trans YouTube Content Creators: Informal Economies for the Production, Distribution, and Consumption of Trans-Supportive DIY Undergarments – Research in Progress
  • Debarati Sarkar (Jadavpur University) Embroidering as (re)collecting

 

2.8 Secondhand narratives

Chair: Dr Alida Payson (Cardiff University)

  • Dr Alida Payson (Cardiff University) Makeover Welfare: Mary, Queen of Charity Shops, reality TV and real secondhand politics
  • Brenda Mondragón and Diana Morales (University College Cork and Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla) From the ‘tianguis‘ to Instagram: Secondhand Market in Puebla-Tlaxcala, Mexico.
  • Elena Johansen (The New School) Goodwill Industries: Unexpected Catalyst of Fashion

 

2.9 Institutions & reuse

Chair: Dr Triona Fitton (University of Kent)

  • Dr Lucy Wishart (University of St Andrews) Universities as sites of second-hand exchange: exploring the role of non-commercial organisations in the Circular Economy
  • Ceylan Akbas and Eva Souchet (University of Greenwich) The Un/Archived Textiles project – a hub at the University of Greenwich for swapping clothes, organising repair stations and mending workshops using natural dye.
  • Lindsay Parker (King’s College London) Exploring fashion rental practices through a lens of secondhand cultures

 

Book talk 2 – Rachel Lifter (NYU Steinhardt) ‘Secondhand surprises and future threads’ from Fashioning Indie: Popular Fashion, Music and Gender (Bloomsbury 2018)

(w/ discussant Dr Alida Payson)

 

Keynote – Professor Angela McRobbie (Goldsmiths, University of London) ‘Unpicking Fashion as Capitalism’s Current Crisis: the Politics of Second-Hand Washing’

(w/discussant Dr Jennifer Ayres)

 

Film screening: Unravel (14 mins)

Q&A with Professor Lucy Norris (Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin)

 

CFP – Special Issue of JOMEC Journal – Secondhand Cultures in Unsettled Times

Secondhand Cultures in Unsettled Times

Special Issue of JOMEC Journal

Due date for submissions: Monday 22 November 2021

Secondhand cultures and practices have expanded and transformed over recent decades, with profound social, political, and environmental implications. From reselling sites, swaps, charity shops, and thrift stores, to global waste streams, markets, and waste picking, secondhand worlds invite challenging questions: on value and waste, labour and equity, damage and repair, sustainability and design, ethics and politics, death and renewal, and intersecting areas of class, gender, race, and disability, as well as of method and approach. What’s more, secondhand economies have been unsettled by the global pandemic in ways that are not yet well understood.

Inspired by discussions that unfolded during a virtual symposium held in June 2021, called ‘Secondhand Cultures in Unsettled Times,’ we are inviting submissions to a special issue of JOMEC Journal on the same theme.

As interest in secondhand cultures and practices surges – from governments and businesses looking to capitalise on this ‘new’ market, as well as from makers, workers, shoppers and researchers – we are particularly interested in submissions that critically interrogate and/or creatively intervene in how we understand secondhand cultures and economies around the world.

Co-editors: Dr Jennifer Lynn Ayres (NYU and Parsons, The New School); Dr Triona Fitton (University of Kent); Dr Alida Payson (Cardiff University)

To discuss an idea, please get in touch with us @  paysonAB@cardiff.ac.uk

We welcome work from researchers and practitioners at all career stages.

JOMEC Journal offers the following guidelines for submissions, but please contact us if you have an alternative format in mind:

  • Article (5–10k words)
  • Interview or discussion (5–10k words)
  • Book Review (1,500 words)
  • Conference Report (2,000 words)

JOMEC Journal is an online, open-access journal from Cardiff University Press: https://jomec.cardiffuniversitypress.org/

Due date for submissions: Monday 22 November 2021

Publication date: planned for February/March 2022

More information about submissions can be found here: https://jomec.cardiffuniversitypress.org/about/submissions/

Please submit references in Harvard style for ease of editing. Our guide can be found here: https://xerte.cardiff.ac.uk/play_4069#harvard

 

Diwylliannau Ail-law ar Adegau Ansicr

Rhifyn Arbennig o Gyfnodolyn JOMEC

Dyddiad cau ar gyfer cyflwyniadau: Dydd Llun, 22 Tachwedd 2021

Mae diwylliannau ac arferion ail-law wedi ehangu a newid dros y degawdau diwethaf a chael effaith aruthrol ar gymdeithas, yr amgylchedd a’r byd gwleidyddol. O wefannau ailwerthu, cyfnewidiadau a siopau elusen ac ail-law i ffrydiau gwastraff byd-eang, marchnadoedd a digwyddiadau casglu gwastraff, mae bydoedd ail-law’n gwahodd cwestiynau heriol: ar werth a gwastraff, llafur a thegwch, difrod ac atgyweirio, cynaliadwyedd a dylunio, moeseg a gwleidyddiaeth, marwolaeth ac adnewyddu, meysydd croestoriadol dosbarth, rhyw, hil ac anabledd, yn ogystal â dulliau ac ymagwedd. Yn fwy na hynny, mae’r pandemig byd-eang wedi tarfu ar economïau ail-law mewn ffyrdd nad ydym yn eu deall yn llawn eto.

A ninnau wedi ein hysbrydoli gan drafodaethau a ddatblygodd yn ystod symposiwm rhithwir ym mis Mehefin 2021 o’r enw ‘Diwylliannau Ail-law ar Adegau Ansicr’, rydym yn gwahodd cyflwyniadau i rifyn arbennig o Gyfnodolyn JOMEC ar yr un thema.

Wrth i ddiddordeb mewn diwylliannau ac arferion ail-law gynyddu – ymhlith llywodraethau a busnesau sy’n ceisio manteisio ar y farchnad ‘newydd’ hon, yn ogystal â gwneuthurwyr, gweithwyr, siopwyr ac ymchwilwyr – mae gennym ddiddordeb arbennig mewn cyflwyniadau sy’n cwestiynu’n feirniadol sut rydym yn deall diwylliannau ac economïau ail-law ledled y byd a/neu’n ymyrryd mewn ffordd greadigol.

Cyd-olygyddion: Dr Jennifer Lynn Ayres (Prifysgol Efrog Newydd a Parsons, Yr Ysgol Newydd); Dr Triona Fitton (Prifysgol Caint); Dr Alida Payson (Prifysgol Caerdydd)

I drafod syniad, cysylltwch â ni drwy ebostio paidonAB@caerdydd.ac.uk

Rydym yn croesawu gwaith gan ymchwilwyr ac ymarferwyr ar unrhyw gam o’u gyrfa.

Mae Cyfnodolyn JOMEC yn cynnig y canllawiau canlynol ar gyfer cyflwyniadau, ond cysylltwch â ni os oes gennych fformat arall mewn golwg:

  • Erthygl (rhwng 5,000 a 10,000 o eiriau)
  • Cyfweliad neu drafodaeth (rhwng 5,000 a 10,000 o eiriau)
  • Adolygiad Llyfr (1,500 o eiriau)
  • Adroddiad Cynhadledd (2,000 o eiriau)

Cyfnodolyn mynediad agored ar-lein gan Wasg Prifysgol Caerdydd yw Cyfnodolyn JOMEC: https://jomec.cardiffuniversitypress.org/

Dyddiad cau ar gyfer cyflwyniadau: Dydd Llun, 22 Tachwedd 2021

Dyddiad cyhoeddi arfaethedig: Chwefror / Mawrth 2022

Mae rhagor o wybodaeth am gyflwyniadau i’w gweld yma: https://jomec.cardiffuniversitypress.org/about/submissions/

Sicrhewch eich bod yn defnyddio dull cyfeirnodi Harvard er mwyn hwyluso gwaith golygu. Gellir gweld ein canllawiau yma: https://xerte.cardiff.ac.uk/play_4069#harvard

Secondhand Cultures in Unsettled Times – Workshop recordings

Selected Workshop Recordings

Online Symposium, 15-16 June 2021

Introduction and Workshop – Well-Worn: Falling Back in Love With Our Clothes

Recording of Intro & Well-Worn Workshop

Welcome and Introduction to the Symposium (with co-organisers Jen Ayres, Triona Fitton, Alida Payson and Kamila Buczek)

Wendy Ward (Independent practitioner / author)

Show and tell and reflection session Participants can bring (or wear!) to the workshop an item of well-worn and/or well-used clothing. It will also be useful to have on hand a couple of sheets of white paper (minimum A4 size) and a thick marker, pen, pencil or crayon in a dark colour.

BIO: Wendy Ward is a writer, designer, maker and educator. She has worked as a designer in fast fashion and for a small sustainable brand. She explored novel ways to recycle textiles for her MA and in 2007 she moved into education and has taught numerous clothing focused sewing classes, workshops and courses with adults. Wendy has also written four best selling sewing books and her fifth, publishing in June, teaches techniques for sewing more sustainably. 

Keywords: Role of creativity, circular economy, longevity, durable design, garment lifecycle,  object-centred, story telling, used clothing

This paper and proposed workshop explore the potential for building more  durable relationships with our clothes by investing memories, patina and stories  into everyday garments.  

I am researching how greater interaction with our clothes can build better  relationships with them. My research consists of the following stages:  

  • Documenting – to honour the beauty inherent within worn clothing. To  celebrate the patinas, memories and stories worn clothes retain.  Recording through a variety of media, including drawing, photography and storytelling.
  • Embellishing – printing onto garments and printing from garments,  exploring the potential of using the garment as both subject and tool. 
  • Disassembling – to explore end-of-life options for garments; removing  parts, taking whole garments apart, unraveling threads from one garment  to sew back into itself or another. 

To be presented alongside an object-centred workshop. Attendees are invited to  bring along one item of well-used, well-loved clothing and a story or memory to  share about the item. Through the shared experience of each other’s precious  garments we are reminded of the value of the existing above the new and the  importance of being a “guardian” rather than a consumer. 

If we were able to re-frame the common view of clothes with each piece  considered beautiful in its own right and offering us a blank canvas on which to  imprint our own taste and meaning, could it help us to rediscover a more durable  and meaningful relationship with our clothes?

FABSCRAP Textile Journeys

Recording of FABSCRAP Textile Journeys

(begin at 2min mark!)

Dhamar Romo Chavez (FABSCRAP Community Coordinator)

FABSCRAP Textile Journeys: One-stop textile reuse and recycling enterprise providing fabric scrap pick-ups, sorting, consolidation, and recycling in New York City

BIO: Dhamar Romo Chavez is FABSCRAP’s Community Coordinator. In this role, she leads volunteer activities, educational outreach, digital workshops, and material donations. Through a diverse background within the fashion industry in areas such as design, retail, and reuse, she has experienced the joys of re-constructing second-hand clothing and the wasteful nature of the global retail industry.

FABSCRAP is a textile recycling non-profit working with the fashion, interior, and entertainment industries in New York City to collect their unwanted raw materials and make them available for recycling and reuse. With an engaged community of creatives, these materials are sorted, and reused by all types of makers such as students, artists, quilters, teachers, and small business owners. During this presentation, Dhamar Romo Chavez, FABSCRAP’s Community Coordinator, will describe the flow of materials through FABSCRAP’s innovative non-profit model and the impact of reusing and recycling textiles that were previously destined for landfills.

16 June 2021

Design Sprint Workshop: Secondhand futures, or what next for secondhand research & praxis?

Recording of Design Sprint Workshop

Led by CharioCity team

The design sprint led by CharioCity team to explore the future potential of the physical charity hop space through the lens of systemic design education project briefs.

ABOUT THE PROJECTS AND TEAM:

World Circular Textiles Day 2050 https://worldcirculartextilesday.com/

The vision of WCTD is to galvanise the collective ambitions and goals of people, organisations and businesses to reach a fully circular textiles world by 2050. What does fully circular by 2050 mean?

•       Shared textile resources, in the form of products and raw materials, are kept in continual circulation.

•       Virgin resources are replaced with circular materials.

•       Dignity, equity and equality, for the people involved in all parts of the circular value chain.

The WCTD mission is to provide a framework for circularity stakeholders to develop and deliver a collaborative, evolving roadmap and to chart circularity’s momentum annually on 8 October until 2050.

The CharioCity Workshops: Developing systemic design education approaches for the UK’s charity shop’s fashion and textile value chain.

This is a University of the Arts London HEIF-funded Covid-19 Recovery project, in partnership with Circle Economy Amsterdam, for the World Circular Textiles Day 2050 initiative. How has Covid-19 affected the UK charity shop sector, in terms of clothing and textiles? How can design education help to ‘build-back-better’? The project seeks to explore the impact of Covid-19 on the second-hand/charity textiles sector in the UK, by bringing together key stakeholders from the UK’s second-hand clothing sector to discuss ideas around how to recover from the impacts of the pandemic. A report for educators will be launched on 8 October 2021.

  • Rebecca Earley, CharioCity Workshops Project lead, is Professor of Sustainable Fashion Textile Design and co-founder of Centre for Circular Design at Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London. In October 2021 she co-founded World Circular Textiles Day 2050 with a team of like-minded collaborators who all want to create clear roadmaps for circular textiles, by drawing together current academic and industry research into inspiring, shared visions.
  • Sanne Visser, CharioCity Workshops Project researcher, is a Material Design Researcher. She is PhD candidate, Research Assistant and Lecturer at Centre for Circular Design, Chelsea College, University of the Arts London. Her background and expertise are in Circular Design and Material Innovation with a focus on protein-based fibres. 
  • Charlie Dexter, CharioCity Workshops Project manager, has worked as a PA/EA/VA for over 10+ years and in that time, has experienced a vast variety of roles, industries, small and large corporations as well as private clients. Over the last year she has become a part of the World Circular Textiles Day vision and has been delighted to work as Project Manager helping to run the main, annual 8th October global event and the recent CharioCity project as well as helping to host these events. Alongside her passion for a circular world, her other passions is in helping people develop their mindset and personal growth; ‘Believing in yourself is the first secret to success’.

Day 2 Workshops:

Fashion Fictions Secondhand Safari

Recording of Fashion Fictions Secondhand Safari

Author: Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd – Affiliation: Nottingham Trent University 

Instructions: Together we are going to explore fictional worlds that have been submitted to the Fashion Fictions project, focusing particularly on worlds that feature secondhand clothes.

The worlds can be accessed here: https://fashionfictions.org/the-worlds/

Worlds 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, 33, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 54, 55, 60, 64, 72, 92, 95, 106, 107

1) Take a few minutes to locate and read your five worlds.

2) Discuss: do the secondhand cultures and practices in these fictional worlds remind you of something in the real world? This might be historical or contemporary and could be based on your own experience/knowledge, or a paper from the conference.

3) Between you, decide: which one of the worlds would you most like to live in – or least like to live in – and why? Nominate one person to share your choice and reasoning when we return to the main room.

BIO: Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd, Associate Professor of Fashion and Sustainability in the School of Art & Design at Nottingham Trent University, is a designer, maker, researcher and writer. Her first book, Folk Fashion: Understanding Homemade Clothes, was published by I.B. Tauris in 2017. Amy’s research interests include participatory textile making methods, intersections between practices of crafting and practices of commoning, and post-growth fashion systems. Her Fashion Fictions project, funded by an AHRC Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship, brings people together to imagine and explore alternative fashion Worlds.

Fashion Fictions is a participatory research project that brings people together to generate, experience and reflect on engaging fictional visions of alternative fashion cultures and systems. The fictions, or Worlds, are framed as parallel presents, rather than speculative futures, and are guided by some loose parameters. These parameters specify that the fictions should describe sustainable and satisfying cultures and systems; explore social and cultural factors, rather than technological change; and focus attention on use and associated practices such as loaning and sharing, rather than production and conventional consumption.

Creating Fabric Scrap Twine: A Zero Waste Workshop 

Recording of Fabric Scrap Twine: A Zero Waste Workshop

Authors: Kat Roberts  – Affiliation: Cornell University

BIO: Kat Roberts is a second year Ph.D. student in the department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design at Cornell University. Her primary research interests are sustainable interventions in U.S. apparel production, with a particular focus on upcycling and waste diversion, and how technology intersects with hand crafts. Previous to beginning her studies at Cornell, she taught adult crafting courses, lectured in the Business and Technology of Fashion at CUNY’s New York City College of Technology, as well as authoring a number of craft books.

BYO fabric and scissors

Instructions: Slides with complete instructions to follow along

In this workshop, I will demonstrate how to transform fabric scraps into a beautiful and useful twine. Even the most sustainability-minded practitioners often grapple with how to reduce, and ideally, eliminate the waste that is generated during the creative process. To achieve the goal of zero-waste often requires one to not only re-evaluate their consumption and disposal habits, but also to altogether reassess what they consider to be trash. It is with this vital recontextualization in mind that this workshop is grounded. Fabric scraps are a great place to start since they are a frequent byproduct of any work done with textiles. Engaging in the making of this twine is a highly accessible practice as the only materials required are fabric scraps and a pair of scissors. Additionally, it is extremely easy to produce and can accommodate a wide range of aesthetic preferences, making it an ideal entry point for beginners looking to approach sustainable-making practices. By the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be well on their way to having created a ball of twine. I intend to end the session by sharing a variety of examples of how the finished twine can be utilized. Anyone is welcome to join, however, those interested in participating will need to be prepared with their own fabric scraps and a pair of scissors.

Secondhand and the Tacit

10am EST/4pm BST

Recording of Secondhand and the Tacit workshop

(Begin at 1:40min mark!)

Author: Dr Jules Findley  – Affiliation: University of Brighton 

BIO: Dr Jules Findley’s practice-based research is in embodied materiality, which has led to questioning in-depth areas of emotions around complicated grief and memory using the methodology of affect and repetition in making handmade paper. Jules gained her PhD Textiles from the Royal College of Art, School of Materials. Jules Findley has presented at international conferences and works as a practising installation artist and crafts person as well as Principal Lecturer at the University of Brighton in Fashion Communication. She has expertise in fashion, textiles, leather and paper making industries. In 2021 she is a co-investigator on UKRI-AHRC funded research into waste and sustainability, Sustainable Materials in the Creative Industries, (SMICI) in craft, fashion, textiles, accessories, leather and fine art sectors. collaborating with other researchers from Royal College of Art, University of Edinburgh and University of Plymouth.

BYO needle, thread, and garment in need of repair

There will be a short presentation of Secondhand and the Tacit, we will proceed with a workshop on examining the hidden and the explicit in secondhand clothing or textiles. The appeal of something second hand is the life it has lived before, a garment, a tablecloth comes with its own narrative.

Preparation – if you would like to join in: For our workshop please bring a needle and some thread, and bring a secondhand item that needs repair. You can choose to make your repair visible or hidden, and if you are making a repair hidden what will you hide in it? What will you conceal in your repair, could be an embroidered stitch?

During the sewing and repair there will be short readings of second hand and discussion of secondhand and the tacit throughout the workshop. If you don’t want to stitch, listen to the readings and enjoy the discussion.

Second-hand bazaars in Mexico: Interview

By Brenda Mondragón Toledo

Interview – Brenda Mondragón Toledo with Diana Morales

seminario de estudios sobre indumentaria y modas mx

BIO: Brenda Mondragón Toledo is a PhD student in Sociology at University College Cork. Currently exploring the faces of gender-based violence between Mexico and Ireland through the use of textile-making using Participatory Arts Research (PAR). She is part of a research group called ‘Seminario de Modas e Indumentaria en México’ from the Institute of Aesthetic Research at the UNAM in Mexico.
BIO: Diana Morales is an intern in Social Anthropology at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP).

In recent years, there has been a growing trend to buy second-hand clothes, resulting in new dynamics of commerce and consumption around the world. According to ThredUp, the price market of second-hand shops (in 2019) was 64 billion dollars worldwide. It is expected that the second-hand clothes market will be bigger than the fast fashion [1]—market by 2029. The increasing worrying about climate change has pushed consumers to question the current commercial dynamics of traditional fashion and has changed their way of shopping.

This trend has increased even more since the pandemic. On the one hand, the confinement has allowed consumers to clear out their closets. On the other hand, the use of social media and digital platforms to sell, buy, and exchange garments have also increased (FashionUnited, 2020[2]). The offered garments in second-hand shops may come directly from the seller’s closet and from the ‘tianguis’.

The ‘tianguis’ are open markets located in peripheral areas of the cities in Mexico. In these markets, merchants sell second-hand clothes brought illegally from the United States. They were traditionally sold to low-income families in the cities. This type of market exposes the connections between charity clothes donations in the United States and other countries in the Global North, resold in the Global South as ‘ropa de paca’ or second-hand clothes.

The sales of second-hand clothes are a form of income for many women in Mexico who sell them through social media such as Instagram. The logic under this form of consumption is around sustainability to recycle, reuse, and reducing.

To understand this better, I have interviewed Diana Morales. She uses and sells second-hand clothes in physical places and on social media.

Diana Morales is 24 years old, and she is from the Mexican state of Tlaxcala. She is an intern in Social Anthropology at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), which forced her to move to Puebla during her college years. It was during this time that Diana came closer to second-hand clothes. Four years ago, approximately, she started buying clothes at the ‘tianguis’. In the following interview, Diana will tell us about this form of consumption and what it means to her. 

How did you get close to second-hand clothing?

Diana M.- When I arrived in Puebla, one of my friends used to go a lot to the ‘tianguis’ at San Bartolo to buy second-hand clothes, also known as ‘la paca’. She would tell me that the clothes were good and I could even find brands. I agreed to go because I didn’t have enough money to buy new clothes and wanted to see what I could find. I went for the first time in December. My parents gave me money for Christmas, so I decided to spend it in the ‘tianguis’. It was a magical experience because the clothes were very cool, they don’t repeat, and it was pretty cheap. No one in my family buys these clothes, and they were not very happy about my decision, but I started to say, ‘but what’s wrong with it?’

I still go to the shopping centre, but I see the clothes and I don’t like them anymore, or they seem very expensive to me. 

How do online second-hand bazaars work?

Diana M.- Young women start selling their own old clothes. When they are done with their old belongings, they start going to the ‘tianguis’ to buy second-hand clothes and sell them on social media like Instagram. 

There are mainly two stages within the bazaars:

When the girls start clearing out their closets, they start putting out shoes, jackets, everything. Those are the second-hand bazaars where there is a direct connection with the previous user of the clothes. 

Later on, the girls start investing, so they go to the ‘tianguis’ for more clothes. When you go there, you have to fix it, wash it, iron it, and give it a better presentation to sell it. 

You can’t really tell if you are buying her old clothes or not unless you see her shopping at the ‘tianguis’. 

Among the garments, you can find clothes from 10 pesos (50c) in good conditions but after a reasonable search. They are extended tables or extended pieces of wood where all the clothes are huddled. When the merchants arrive, they do accommodate the clothes, but it becomes a pile of clothes with the number of people that comes through the day. You have to arrive early and search, throw everything and pull and throw, pull and throw and so on. Many people have always gone there to buy their clothes, but lately, with the boom in bazaars, you see a lot of young women buying. 

It is a whole process of searching and finding around 20 garments, and then it is a full day of washing and ironing. If it’s broken, you mend it. Another day you take photos and post them on your Instagram with a description, and you answer all the DMs. Later on, you have to organise deliveries, update your Instagram account, answer queries and set deliveries. 

Sometimes you can find new garments because sometimes, you might find clothes with the tags on at the ‘tianguis’. The dynamic on Instagram is very different to the one at the physical bazaars. On Instagram, you have a previous production: the photos, the light, the background, description and everything to attract clients. Physical bazaars are a bit easier because you only need to hang the clothes. Still, you sell them much cheaper than selling them online. You don’t need to make an effort on the photos or constantly reply to possible clients by text. 

Why is it essential to encourage the use of second-hand clothing?

Diana M.- I consider that the use of second-hand clothing is a form of criticising our ways of consumption within a capitalist society, mainly the fast-fashion industry. People start buying second-hand clothing in a more conscious way and only the things they really need. Now I have a small number of clothes, but I wear them all. Nowadays I only buy clothes that I really like and the other part of my closet is made out of clothes that my aunts and mum used to wear in the 80s and now they give them to me. I like it because I value differently every piece. After all, it belonged to someone in my family: it is nice clothing, and it is also like keeping something from them. 

I have noticed a meaningful change since I started using second-hand clothes. I used to have a lot of clothes, and now I only have the essential. I only have what I am really going to wear and what I need.

Sometimes, it is hard to get rid of clothes you no longer wear and ask yourself, ‘what if I ever use them again?’ But it is part of the process of letting go of all of that, and it is a constant effort. I don’t want to fall anymore into consumerism, which has helped me not spend that much on clothes.

Coming into second-hand clothes implies a process of self-recognition. It is about how I like to see myself: which colours I like, what type of garments, which patterns on skirts and dresses, and getting closer to the ‘tianguis’ allows you this self-recognition, which helps you to be more conscious of what you wear. 

Second-hand shopping has also become a space where young women can sell their garments and decide how to sell them, whether it is through bartering or for money. There are many bazaars on Facebook exclusively for young women to exchange clothes for things they need to get. Users will share the list of things they are willing to change their clothes for. They might stop wearing a jacket, so they exchange it for a pair of jeans, and this is what has allowed these spaces of exchange.

In the end, these are strategies of self-sufficiency that gives economic freedom to young women, which also allows them to bring an extra income to their families. 

Recommended sources:

Sandoval Hernández, Efrén. (2019). Ropa de segunda mano: desigualdades entre el norte global y el sur global. Frontera norte31, e2062. Epub 05 de febrero de 2020.https://doi.org/10.33679/rfn.v1i1.2062

Norris, Lucy. (2012). Trade and Transformations of Secondhand Clothing: Introduction. Textile The Journal of Cloth and Culture. 10. 128-143. 10.2752/175183512X13315695424473.

Fashion Footprint Calculator: thredup.com/fashionfootprint 

  [1] https://www.thredup.com/resale/#resale-growth

[2] https://fashionunited.mx/noticias/moda/aumenta-la-venta-de-segunda-mano-debido-a-la-limpieza-de-armario-durante-la-cuarentena/2020061629167

Thrift labours: Charity shops in the austerity economy

This post is by Dr Alida Payson, and reposted from Journalism, Media & Culture: the Official JOMEC Blog – commentary, debate and opinion 2019

For the past six months, I have been going to a lot of charity shops. This is not so unusual for me, an avid thrifter who grew up trawling cavernous Goodwill and Salvation Army warehouse stores in strip malls across the US.

I’ve relished charity shops here in the UK for years. But I have been going to more shops than usual lately, and venturing farther afield. And I have been browsing with sharper attention, snapping photos of shop windows, trying to remember every quirky detail before scuttling off to type up my notes.

I have often been overwhelmed at the variety and quantity of stuff: a child’s hairdressing doll staring balefully from under a towering blonde rat’s nest; an immaculate 1930s hand-crank Singer sewing machine; tattered polka and soul and 80s pop records; a blue porcelain soup tureen; at least 17 copies of Love Actually; acres of polyester tops and dresses from the same ten brands; a museum’s worth of slow cookers and sherry glasses; packs of new pants and socks next to mugs celebrating the Queen’s various jubilees, or shaped like a football or a hippopotamus, or printed with a periodic table of obscenities.

Charity shops are apparently everywhere because they are everywhere. According to the Charity Retail Association, the number of charity shops in the UK has nearly doubled every decade since the mid-90s, and has been hovering around 11,700 since 2017.

Used by many and loved by some, charity shops recirculate thousands of tons of castoff material culture – winter coats and glittery heels, plastic toys and vintage teapots, vinyl records and DVDs, school uniforms and sofas.

But as precarity and poverty worsen and public services recede under austerity, charity shops have also come to play an expanding role in what Patricia Mooney Nickel (2016: 173) calls the ‘welfare mix’: the loose array of agencies, organisations and relationships on which people actually rely for their everyday livelihoods.

So if overwhelmed and sometimes wearied by the avalanche of stuff in charity shops, I have been surprised and intrigued by what people are doing here. While I am sure some shops get ‘ransacked’ by style-hungry shoppers, as Angela McRobbie (1989) described it, picked over by middle-class young women hunting (as I do, sometimes) for dresses, in most of the shops I have visited people seem to be up to something different.

That difference is part of what I’m interested in: what kinds of work or labour are happening in these spaces, and in particular, how people are using them to get by, make do and live together as inequalities and social welfare cuts deepen. (Elsewhere in this three-year research project on charity shops under the austerity economy, I also explore how charity shops appear in the news, public discourse, and popular culture, from Mary, Queen of Charity Shops (BBC2, 2009), to the mockumentary web series Charity Shop Sue (YouTube, 2019).

Delyth Edwards and Lisanne Gibson (2017) argue that charity shops are not only sites of consumption, but used like libraries, as sites of local connection and resources, and as craft supply stores. Jen Ayres (2017) tracks the creative ways shoppers pick through thrift stores as independent income-generating ventures in precarious times. Triona Fitton (2013) describes the ‘quiet’ connections of charity retail to other, perhaps unexpected sectors: social services, for-profit retailers, the police, prison and probation systems. Ruben Flores (2014) writes about the emotional side of the care work that volunteers do, framed as labours of compassion.

In the seminar this week, I explore how charity shops serve as important sites of different forms of cultural labour typical of the austerity economy. Drawing on debates in feminist economics, cultural studies, and cultural geography, as well as recent fieldwork, I identify three forms of labour in particular: 1) ‘provisioning’, or the everyday, often collective, relational work people do to get by and make a living; 2) a mix of re-fashioning, reselling, rehabilitative and hope labour I am calling makeover labour; and 3) the work of navigating charity shops as sites of welfare governance and carceral space. Arguing that all three of these forms of labour are characteristic of the austerity economy, I explore how thinking about charity shops can help us to understand more about how a shifting, caustic present is lived and felt.

Charity Shops: Between a rock and a kind face

Re-post from Kent Philanthropy: A Blog about Philanthropy Research

This post is written by Dr Triona Fitton, lecturer and former Pears Philanthropy Fellow at the University of Kent, and co-organiser of the Secondhand Cultures in Unsettled Times Virtual Symposium 15-16 June 2021 (click here to register)

A recent report published by the True and Fair Foundation (TFF) into income generation in the charity sector has once again brought to public attention the dilemma facing charitable organisations with a retail arm:

What are charity shops really for?

The report highlights the low profit margins of charity shops, averaging 17%, with some large charities such as Scope making only a 5% profit margin in their shops; 13% less than high street giant Next, using for-profit retailers as a benchmark for charity shop success. Recommendations for a reduction in charity shop mandatory rate relief (they currently pay 80% less than other high street retailers, with the option for local councils to grant a discretionary 100% rate relief) also suggests that charity shops should not be treated any differently to for-profit shops. The comparisons in the report treats charities as ‘for-profits in disguise’, to paraphrase Burton Weisbrod; where their commercial output is more important than their charitable cause.

The TFF report has been criticised for its misrepresentation of statistics and flawed analysis, with several umbrella bodies and charities featured in the report such as Sue Ryder and Guide Dogs for the Blind speaking out against inaccuracies that undermine the work of their charity shops. Nevertheless, I would argue that the problem with the report goes beyond that of misrepresentation or poor quality research. Crucially, the report has fundamentally misunderstood the value of charity shops.

Firstly, charity shops are an important resource for those on low incomes for everyday items, as well as for second-hand bargain hunters in search of unique purchases. In spite of claims that they are becoming prohibitively expensive, Avril Maddrell and Susan Horne argue in their book Charity Shops: Retailing, Consumption and Society that many charity shops price their goods dependent upon what local people can afford, ensuring they don’t price themselves out of their local market. My own research into charity shops also found that a smaller shop without the pressure of competition within a chain of shops was more likely to price goods down rather than up. Also, haggling prices down or ‘letting people off’ a few pounds continues to occur.

Secondly, a charity shop provides some welcome relief from consumerism and its malcontents. The tendency towards ‘fast fashion’ and the disposal of items before they are at the end of their use is balanced by the donation of these goods to charity. The Giving Something Back report by Demos reports that the reuse of goods sold in charity shops reduce CO2 emissions by roughly 3.7 million tonnes a year – a figure similar to the entire carbon footprint of Iceland. Charity shops are, according to a report by WRAP UK, the most common source for pre-owned clothing in the UK, which goes some way towards reducing the £140m worth of clothing that ends up in landfill each year.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, charity shops are the public face of a charity on the British high street. They raise awareness of smaller organisations that do not already have a high public profile; they work to embed a charity within a community through recruitment of volunteers and involvement in local events; and they provide a friendly, welcoming environment where browsing and chatting is encouraged. They are also a gateway point for entry into the local job market, with people of all ages learning skills and progressing to paid roles through volunteering in a charity shop.

Whilst charities more generally have been subject to a great deal of scrutiny in the past year for their fundraising practices and executive salaries; charity retail has, until now, emerged mostly unscathed. In response to this form of criticism, charity shops have an opportunity to defend the valuable asset they are to society; not only as an income source for charities but as an employability resource, a recycling site and as the ‘kind face’ of the UK high street.

Symposium Flier

Secondhand Cultures in Unsettled Times

Virtual Symposium >> 15-16 June 2021

Secondhand cultures and practices, from reselling sites to charity shops and thrift stores to waste picking, have expanded and transformed over recent decades, with profound social, political, and environmental implications.

Despite vibrant and growing research into secondhand worlds, opportunities to share and discuss this research across interdisciplinary boundaries have been rare. Further, secondhand cultures have been unsettled by the global pandemic in ways that are not yet well understood.

This virtual symposium brings together scholars and practitioners across disciplines to problematise and explore secondhand cultures in unsettled times.

We are delighted to share our keynote speakers for the event will be:

Professor Angela McRobbie, Goldsmiths, University of London

Professor Avril Maddrell, University of Reading

The Symposium will bring together a lively collection of papers from scholars around the world on a range of secondhand topics, as well as hands-on workshops, practitioner panels, book talks, short films, and plenty of opportunities for participants to connect and share ideas.

Based on the symposium, we will co-edit a special issue of JOMEC Journal, an online, open-access and peer reviewed journal dedicated to publishing the highest quality innovative academic work in journalism, media, cultural studies, and other interlocking fields, for late 2021.

We hope to see you there!

Dr Jennifer Lynn Ayres, New York University; Dr Triona Fitton, University of Kent, and Dr Alida Payson, Cardiff University

The event is free, but registration is required.

Please register here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/secondhand-cultures-in-unsettled-times-tickets-154573454363