Second-hand vintage/thrift stores are creating essential spaces for music fans

Blog Post – By Emily West

As a research team we recently took ourselves on a tour of Cardiff’s second-hand stores including thrift shops, vintage stores, antique markets and a few charity shops, as a means of fieldwork to gather observational data on what these stores have to offer, who they are appealing to, and how they operate.

Walking around all the second-hand clothing stores in Cardiff there seemed to be a key similarity between them—other than the abundance of second-hand clothing, to state the obvious.

The similarity was how each store used music to amplify the space shoppers are in, albeit in different ways across stores. 

Figure1. Sobeys’ Taylor Swift display. Source: Photo by author.

The first stop on our tour was Sobeys, an independent vintage and reworked clothing store located in the Royal Arcade. Even before entering the store, we were struck by the relationship Sobeys had to music and what demographic the store aimed to attract from that very relationship. We visited Sobeys on the 25th of June, 2024, exactly one week after Taylor Swift performed her Eras Tour in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

Sobeys followed suit with other local businesses in “Tayloring” their storefront to commemorate the event, arguably in the most flashy and detail-oriented way compared to other stores taking part.  

Figure 2. Sobeys’ Taylor Swift display. Source: Photo by research team.

The Taylor Swift storefront display was put up a few days before the concert and still remains to this day (3rd July) and includes a cardboard cutout of the star and many easter eggs relating to Swift’s song lyrics and lifestyle. References to her music include large window stickers with lyrics from her song Bejeweled, disco balls hanging from the ceiling referring to the song mirrorball, and a tattooed mannequin with her song title Mine seen in figure 1.  

References to Swift’s lifestyle include a mannequin wearing a Kansas City Chiefs t-shirt, the NFL team Swift’s boyfriend Travis Kelce plays for, and the same mannequin holding a plushie cat reminiscent of Swift’s vocal love for her three cats, as seen in figure 2.  

This storefront obviously acted as a means of marketing the store towards the influx of fans who visited the city for the concert, however it also created a space for Swift’s fans, known colloquially as Swifties, to act upon their fandom. The inside of the store was also catering to Swifties by blasting Swift’s music on the sound system throughout the day of her concert, further creating an atmosphere for fan engagement with second-hand shopping through the use of music. Sobeys further encouraged Swifties to visit their store by hosting a competition in which fans had to take a photo in front of the window display, post it on Instagram, and tag the store for the chance to win a £25 Sobeys shopping voucher, which worked as a form of free social media advertisement for the most part.  

Sobeys’ relationship to music here is one of creating an experience for music fans with the store acting as an unofficial extension of the concert. For me, visiting the store now, especially while the Taylor Swift decor remains up, feels like walking into a time capsule, one that holds all the excitement, hopes, fan connections and memories of the day of Taylor’s concert. This is because Sobeys managed to perfectly capture that musical moment in time by putting so much detail into their storefront and making an event of the day.

                             Figure 3. Flamingos Vintage’s Taylor Swift display. Source: Photo by author 

Sobeys was not the only second-hand store that “Taylored” their storefront for the Cardiff Eras Tour stop, in fact Flamingos Vintage, a vintage store located in the Capitol centre also changed their displays for the concert. Flamingos display was a lot more subtly referencing Swift, by having a table directly in front of the entrance filled with vintage clothing similar to that of Swift’s stage costumes herself. This took life in 3 mannequins wearing fringe dresses, an abundance of cowboy boots, and sequined tops, as seen in figure 3.  

Once again this creates a space for fans to gather as they anticipate the concert they are about to see and uses this music fandom as a means of promoting second-hand shopping. Flamingos did not especially do this for Taylor Swift, in fact as I spoke to the shopkeeper, they told me that the store switches out the front table display for each big concert that comes to Cardiff, so the week prior to our visit they had a display for P!nk fans while she performed in the same venue as Swift.  

Other vintage stores in Cardiff even more subtly adapt their store for music events like this, for example the day we visited Rokit, a chain vintage store located on Queens Street, Foo Fighters were performing in the Millennium Stadium: as a response to this, Rokit exclusively played Foo Fighters’ music on their sound system. Once again this showcases how vintage stores create spaces for music fans that act as an extension of the event and promote second-hand shopping.

Figure 4. Stalls selling feather boas in Cardiff city centre. Source: Photo by author.

Figure 5. Feather boa waste on city floor. Source: Photo by author.

In my opinion the promotion of second-hand shopping to music fans is vital. I personally have a lot of concerns with current concert and festival outfit trends, particularly the lifecycle of these outfits. Walking around Cardiff on the day of Taylor’s concert I couldn’t help but notice the majority of outfits, while beautiful and fitting for the event, looked to be cheaply made sequined dresses and skirts. These looked more like mass produced fast-fashion and micro-trends, than anything that seemed to be bought second-hand.  

The material of these clothes looked poor quality and like one offs for the concert, that would never be worn again. This is not unique to Swifties, in fact this type of concert dressing seems to be universal across the mainstream pop genre of music, and was especially visible at Harry Styles concerts, where it seemed to me as a fan myself like every other person was wearing a feather boa and psychedelic printed polyester flares.  

There definitely seems to be a rise in this type of concert attire, which is always visible throughout Cardiff city centre on the days of pop concerts in the way that there are stalls selling faux feather boas and cowboy hats on every corner of the city, as seen in figure 4 . These artificial feather boas disperse non-biodegradable feathers across the city as seen in figure 5 and make their way into the river located next to the Millennium Stadium which can impact ecosystems.  

Here then, it is interesting to me that the vintage stores in Cardiff are trying to appeal to music fans of these particular pop music demographics, when the majority of the fans seem to be wearing fast-fashion.

I think this method of creating spaces for such fans could act as a way of promoting second-hand shopping to such fans and hopefully open their eyes to a more ethical way of shopping for music events.

In particular for Sobeys display, I would hope that seeing this would showcase that you can find similar styles to Swifts’ own wardrobe second-hand and emphasise second-hand shopping as a viable alternative way of buying concert outfits in the future. This is especially the case in Sobeys due to their reworked vintage clothing being more trendy and feminine items of clothing, which may appeal more to a large proportion of Swifties, and can act to subvert any ideas that second-hand clothing is only old people’s clothes or more masculine streetwear. 

Author Bio: Emily West just finished her BA in Media and Communications at Cardiff university and is pursuing next steps in sustainable fashion. She likes upcycling clothing and crafting. She’s currently on the look out for opportunities in the sustainability sector.

Shop, swop, donate, resell? Understanding second-hand consumption now

When, where and how do you shop second-hand, swop, donate, or resell?

We are in a moment of unprecendented popularity for all things thrifted and Vinted, from vintage shops and clothing swops, to kilo sale pop ups and charity shops, FreeCycle, eBay and TikTok, and beyond. But this surge in popularity invites new questions about the everyday experiences, ethics, and politics of thrifting and shopping second-hand.

To explore these questions, a team of researchers is working on a summer research project: “Shop, swop, donate, resell? Understanding second-hand consumption now”.

Do you love to shop second-hand? Do you resell clothes or other items?

We would love to speak with you! We are looking for participants who love second-hand shopping and/or reselling to take part in our research project. We would like to hear about your experiences and whether you have thrifted any meaningful items.

Interviews will take place via Zoom and will take roughly 15-30 minutes. If you are interested or would like to know more information, contact us

The project lead is Dr Alida Payson. The student researchers are funded by the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University.

This research builds on a larger, three-year Early Career Fellowship funded by The Leverhulme Trust called “Charity Shop Country: Conviviality and survival under austerity”, as well as an ESRC-Impact Accelerator Award that brought together academics and practitioners to frame out problems and design for the future of waste, repair, community welfare and labour in the second-hand economy.

Findings from the research will feed into academic publications and public engagement around second-hand.

Watch this space for upcoming blog posts and a zine from the research team!



The Second-hand Challenges Workshop and Report Series

Waste and Reuse, Repair, Labour and Community Welfare in Second-hand

Links to four project reports below on the Second hand Challenges Workshop Series

Here in the UK and beyond, we seem to be in a moment of transformation when it comes to highlighting, rethinking, and reimagining how we relate to our things. New public conversations are happening about sustainability, equity, and other problems with everyday household things – such as materials, use, conditions of manufacture and disposal.

Relatedly, there has been a recent upwelling of popular, industry, government, and academic interest in second-hand and sharing economies. There is an exciting range of work happening in and around the second-hand economy right now, from activism and grassroots initiatives, to critical research on design, systems and everyday practices, and major policy shifts.

Yet despite this rising interest, the opportunities for stakeholders to learn about each other’s work and problem-solve together have, so far, been relatively rare.

The Second-hand Challenges project takes steps towards the ambitious goal of creating more equitable, sustainable, circular, and community-based second-hand economies.

In 2022, with the support of Impact Acceleration Account funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, the team (Alida Payson, Maya Wassell Smith, Rhiannon Craft and Violet Broadhead) ran of a series of workshops, which brought together researchers and stakeholders to explore challenges in the second-hand economy around the themes of work, waste, repair and reuse, and community welfare.

The four reports attached here document each workshop. They summarize the speaker presentations, drawing out key themes in the discussion, and presenting the ideas participants developed during the collaborative brainstorming activity, as we considered the following questions:

  1. How might we make second-hand work more equitable and responsive to the needs and rights of different workers?

  2. How might we reduce waste in second-hand economies?

  3. How might we create cultures and systems of repair?

  4. How might we strengthen community and everyday welfare provision in second-hand spaces?

Tackling Challenges

The spaces of the second-hand economy – repair cafés, charity shops, sewing groups, upcycling studios and tip shops, to name only a few – are key sites in local and global waste and reuse flows, facilitating the reuse, repair, and recycling of a great range and quantity of goods.

As well as having positive impact in terms of sustainable resource use, these activities create opportunities for everyday welfare, social connection and solidarity. Second-hand spaces can be vital, open, accessible community resources, where people come together, build relationships, and get what they need for their projects, households, and neighbourhoods.

While the second-hand economy performs a number of invaluable roles, it is also subject to tensions. Extending the lives of objects takes time, skill, and resources, and is a form of labour which is often undervalued. There are gaps, hurdles and incongruities in systems of consumption and disposal, from the proliferation of objects designed to be short-lived and unrepairable, to the absence of outlets for certain kinds of goods. State welfare cuts, rising poverty and inequality, and the loss of community spaces through years of austerity place extra pressure on second-hand groups and organisations, which are not always equipped to deal with the needs of the marginalised people that approach them.

At each workshop, in a program of brief ‘lightning talks’, people with different experiences of second-hand worlds – including charity retailers, policy makers, recycling enterprises, educators, and community makers – shared their perspectives on pressing challenges.

Our speakers also sketched out examples of good practice: people, projects and organisations committed to revaluing devalued skills, turning trash into treasure, and fostering community connection and reparative politics.

The workshops used an adaptation of the ‘design sprint’ method of collaborative problem-solving, as attendees considered possible responses – both pragmatic and blue-sky – to the challenges identified in a fast-paced brainstorming session, collective discussion, and a more focussed period of concept development.

  1. Waste & Reuse Report – Second-hand Challenges (PDF)

    Drawing on three people picking up litter from a field of flowers and grass, with a dog and a crow.

    Illustration by Efa Blosse-Mason

  2. Repair Report – Second-hand Challenges (PDF)

    Drawing of four people repairing different objects: a bicycle, a doll's house, a lamp and an article of clothing

    Illustration by Efa Blosse-Mason

  3. Labour Report – Second-hand Challenges (PDF)

    Illustration of people working to unpack and hang up boxes of clothes.

    Illustration by Efa Blosse-Mason

  4. Community Welfare Report – Second-hand Challenges (PDF)

    A drawing of a group of people sitting around a table with biscuits, cake and mugs of tea.

    Illustration by Efa Blosse-Mason

What’s next?

The aim of the Second-hand Challenges workshop and report series is to draw attention, not only to what is wrong, but also to what is possible in second-hand worlds. When thinking about issues with serious political, social and environmental ramifications, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, to believe that our individual actions are too small, and that the problems we face are too intractable.

It is our hope that the experience of making connections and exploring solutions with like-minded people has left workshop attendees a little more motivated and better equipped to tackle the thorny issues they encounter in the second-hand economy. The reports provide a flavour of this process and, perhaps, a starting point for future work, whether in the germ of an idea for a second-hand project, as a template for creative problem-solving in organisations and community groups, or as a path towards research and policy which responds directly to the needs of second-hand stakeholders.

We will also be holding an online consensus-making workshop 7-9pm on Thursday 23rd March, where participants will be invited to give feedback on the project so far, and offer their perspectives on its future direction.

Register your free place here:

Please share the reports widely. If they spark an idea, change your perspective or your participation in the second-hand economy – at work, in the community, or as an individual – we’d love to hear from you.

Finally, watch this space in the coming weeks, as we explore some cross-cutting themes from the workshop discussions.



Responding to Second-hand Challenges – & final ‘How to’ workshop

Join us for an event to connect, reflect, network and build ideas on ‘how to’ move forward with some of challenges we have been exploring in second-hand economies: waste and reuse, repair, labour, and community welfare in second-hand.

Responding to Second-hand Challenges – & final ‘How to’ workshop

When: Friday 17th June 2022 1-5pm

Where: Hybrid – online & at The Sustainable Studio, Cardiff


This event will be hybrid, online and at The Sustainable Studio in Cardiff, with refreshments and time for networking.

The aims for the day are:

  1. to build connections and conversations with other people working on second-hand issues;
  2. to reflect on and build on ideas around our Second-hand Challenges workshop series on waste and reuse, repair, labour, and community welfare in second-hand;
  3. to do some workshops together on ‘how to’ make change in second-hand education, policy, resourcing, and community groups… among others
  4. to plot and plan what might be next for second-hand research & practitioner networks

Funded by the ESRC-IAA and the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University.

We hope you can join us!


Ymateb i’r Heriau i Ddiwylliannau Ail-law – Gweithdy ‘Sut i’ olaf

Dydd Gwener, 17 Mehefin 2022 rhwng 1pm a 5pm
Digwyddiad hybrid – ar-lein ac yn Y Stiwdio Gynaliadwy, Caerdydd
Yn rhad ac am ddim

Ymunwch ag ymchwilwyr ac ymarferwyr er mwyn ystyried yr heriau i ddiwylliannau ail-law, ymgysylltu â nhw a chynllunio o’u cwmpas drwy gymryd rhan mewn gweithdai ‘Sut i’.

Gwybodaeth am y digwyddiad hwn:

Bydd y gweithdy olaf yn un hybrid – ar-lein ac yn Y Stiwdio Gynaliadwy yng Nghaerdydd. Bydd lluniaeth ac amser i rwydweithio.

Nodau’r diwrnod yw:

1) meithrin cysylltiadau a chael sgyrsiau gyda phobl eraill sy’n gweithio ym maes ail-law;

2) ystyried syniadau o’r gyfres o weithdai ‘Ymateb i Heriau i Ddiwylliannau Ail-law’ ar wastraff ac ail-ddefnyddio, atgyweirio, llafur a lles cymunedol, gan gynnwys adeiladu ar y syniadau hynny;

3) cymryd rhan mewn gweithdai gyda’n gilydd ar ‘sut i’ sicrhau newid ym meysydd addysg, polisi ac adnoddau ac mewn grwpiau cymunedol … ond nid y rhain yn unig;

4) cynllunio’r hyn a allai ddod nesaf i rwydweithiau ymarfer ac ymchwil ail-law!

Mae’r gweithdy wedi’i ariannu drwy’r Cyfrif Cyflymu Effaith gan y Cyngor Ymchwil Economaidd a Chymdeithasol ac Ysgol Newyddiaduraeth, y Cyfryngau a Diwylliant Prifysgol Caerdydd.

Gobeithio y gallwch ymuno â ni!

Second-hand Challenges Workshop 4 – Community Welfare

Second-hand Challenges Series, Workshop 4

Community Welfare in Second-hand Spaces

Just send an email to Alida at paysonAB (at) to register

For the 20th May workshop on community, we are bringing researchers and practitioners together to talk about how second-hand spaces of many kinds – such as repair cafés, sewing meet-ups, designer’s studios, charity shops, men’s sheds, to name only a few – have become important spaces of everyday community welfare.

We want to talk about how people use those spaces to come together, build relationships, get what they need for their households, families, neighbourhoods, and projects, and strengthen mutual aid. They are vital, open, accessible community resources.

But we also want to think about the strains on these community spaces and people. The pandemic, rising inequality and poverty, and state welfare cuts mean people often show up with serious needs, health problems, and other vulnerabilities, for example. Some second-hand spaces might not be set up or have the resources for what different people need, or how people are actually using those spaces.

How might we address these pressures and tensions? What can we learn from second-hand community spaces in the past, and good practice in the present? And how might we better respond to and build up the welfare of our communities through second-hand projects?

**FOR YOUR CALENDARS: Final event for the series will be Friday, 17th June – hybrid in Cardiff and online

** As ever, all participants can receive a £20 e-gift card to The Charity Shop Gift Card

Programme – Workshop 4 – Community Welfare

We’ll hear about how sisters Sarah Valentin and Julia Harris of Dati (check out their one-off zero waste pieces, such as their new ‘rubbish jumpers‘!) have been working to connect and care for communities of makers at The Sustainable Studio.

We will also hear from Elle Gray, Trainee Clinical Associate Psychologist, talk about social prescribing, and how connection, community and volunteering (in second-hand spaces!) links with health.

We will also hear from Cardiff-based modest designer Haifa Shamsan, of Maysmode about her work upcycling garments that bring together cultures, and building community online.

On the research side, we will get some historical background from Dr George Gosling, who will talk about ‘Second-hand as job creation and salvation in late-Victorian and Edwardian Britain’, the Salvation Army, and their salvage and waste paper operations.

George is working on two relevant books: a history of charity-run shops, and a collection co-edited with Dr Grace Millar on ‘retail and community in modern Britain’: “with each chapter exploring case studies in the impact of family, community and social relations on retail and shopkeeping in recent centuries”.

We will stitch our workshop series themes into a tidy circle with thoughts from artist, writer and researcher Claire Wellesley-Smith, who will talk with us about her projects linking community making, textile arts and health.

And we will hear from Dr Delyth Edwards, a Sociologist of Care Experience, talk about her research into everyday participant and ‘the cultural economy of charity shops’.

And I (Alida Payson) will be talking about my recent research into charity shops as welfare spaces under austerity –  how we might think of charity shops as part hospital, part Jobcentre, part foodbank of things, and even part prison.

More speakers TBC

We’d love for you to join us!

Just send an email to Alida at paysonAB (at) to register.

Find out more about the workshop organisers – Rhiannon Craft, Maya Wassell-Smith, Violet Broadhead, Alida Payson.

The Second-hand Challenges Workshops are funded by a Cardiff University ESRC-Impact Accelerator Award, and by the School of Journalism, Media, and Culture.

Labour in Second-hand – Workshop 3

Labour in Second-hand Workshop

Workshop 3 in the Second-hand Challenges Workshop Series

29th April 2022, 2-5pm UK time, Online, Free

To join, please email paysonAB (at)

**All participants can receive a £20 voucher for The Charity Shop Gift Card

The second-hand economy takes a lot of labour. There is work involved in sorting and disposing of household waste, repairing goods like a phone or a pair of children’s trousers, or repurposing them, divesting and reselling clothes and other goods online, in a charity or thrift shop or at a market, building relationships and networks, sorting out accounts, among other tasks.

All these vital second-hand processes take skilled, sometimes risky, often poorly paid or unpaid labour. Yet second-hand labour goes largely unrecognised, even as recent evaluations chart the value of second-hand markets in the tens of billions of dollars (Statista, 2022). And second-hand workers locally in the UK, and around the world, face a complex range of issues that invite our attention. 

This workshop focuses on understanding and responding to the challenges of second-hand labour. We will hear from researchers and industry practitioners thinking about and doing different forms of second-hand labour, historically and in the present, followed by discussion and brainstorming about the future of second-hand work.  

Provisional Programme, subject to updated titles/topics, and an addition or two!

Part 1 & 2 – Lightning talks and Q&A

Part 3 – Discussion and collaborative problem-solving around challenges of labour in second-hand

  • Discussion and guided, collaborative problem-solving around issues in second-hand labour
  • Bring a thick pen and a sheet or two of paper!

We hope you can join us!

For more on the first two workshops in the series, see Waste & Reuse (25th Feb 2022) and Repair: Materials, Techniques, Communities (25th March 2022)

This workshop is funded by a Cardiff University ESRC-Impact Accelerator Award and the School of Journalism, Media & Culture (JOMEC) at Cardiff University.


Workshop 2 – Repair: Materials, Techniques, Communities – Programme

Second-hand Challenges Workshop Series

Workshop 2 – Repair: Materials, Techniques, Communities

Friday, 25th March 2022, 2-5pm UK time

  • Free, online workshop FOR people working in second-hand TO problem-solve challenges of repair
  • To register, please email Alida at paysonAB (at) 

Our second materials-focussed workshop centres on practices of repair.

We will bring together makers, educators, organisers and academics who handle repair in both historical and contemporary settings. We seek to address the challenges encountered in extending the lives of our objects, including a lack of time and skills, fast fashion and designed obsolescence.

Our aim is not just to dwell on the challenges but explore solutions. Through brief talks, discussion, and brainstorming activities, we hope participants will develop strategies and ideas in creating a culture of repair and maintenance, both locally and further afield.

Programme – Workshop 2 – Repair: Materials, Techniques, Communities

(Work-in-progress, subject to updates!)

PART I: Brief talks & discussion on good practice and challenges around repair in the second-hand economy

  • Histories of repairMaya Wassell Smith, Cardiff University, “Stitch in time: Looking at historical repair with 19th century sailors”
  • Community repair 1 – Claire Beadnell, Sustainable Textiles Southsea, “Free sewing-lessons, ten donated sewing-machines and a tonne of donated fabric.  Specialising in how to repair,  adjust and re-design, clothes and other textiles in Portsmouth”
  • Community repair 2Alex Reed, The Easton Cobbler, talking about shoe repair and sharing everyday shoe repair skills
  • Repair Cafés – Phoebe Brown, Repair Café Wales, “Repair cafes- what are they and how can they help tackle overconsumption?”
  • Schools and repair – Helen O’Sullivan, Teacher and PhD Candidate, Sustainable Fashion Education, “Repairing the Fashion Curriculum: Design education, skills for life and the future of fast fashion”
  • Play and repair – Dr Tamara Kneese, Intel, “Refurbishment as Play: Software, Hardware, and Maintenance” 
  • Repair policy and scaling up – Danielle Perkiss, UCL, talking about the Big Repair Project, the Right To Repair & online UK citizen science

Q & A with speakers and discussion 

PART II: Group discussion and brainstorming solutions

  • Guided activities to brainstorm & develop ideas for potential solutions to challenges to repair in second-hand economies.
  • Time for networking, sharing and discussing ideas.

Part III: Takeaways, toolkits, and what’s next?

  • Discussion of next steps for these ideas and the workshop series.

We would love for you to join us!

Please email paysonAB (at) to register

Funded by a Cardiff University ESRC Impact Accelerator Award.

Waste & Reuse Workshop Programme

Secondhand Challenges Workshop Series

Waste & Reuse

25th February 2022 – 9:30am-12pm

Free, online

To attend, please email

Here are the details for our first workshop on Waste & Reuse, for people working and researching in second-hand cultures, as part of our Second-hand Challenges Workshop series.

Please bring along 2+ pieces of paper and a pen!


9:30-9:40 Welcome & housekeeping
Introduction to the workshop and series

9:40 – 10:10 Lightning talks 1 – What are the challenges around Waste & Reuse in second-hand economies?

  • John Griffiths, Re-Create/ Ail-Greu – ‘Cardiff Re-Create Scrapstore’
  • Dr Annebella Pollen, University of Brighton – ‘The House Clearance: A Seven-Day Microcosm of Disposal’
  • Anne Yendell, Sam’s Place Charity Shop –  ‘What do we do with that? Waste at Sam’s Place charity shop’
  • Violet Broadhead, University of Bristol – ‘ “Proper Shops”: Sustainability and reuse in charity retail’

10:10-10:15 Comfort break

10:15-10:45 Lightning talks 2 – What are the challenges around Waste & Reuse in second-hand economies?

  • Dr Andy Rees, OBE, Welsh Government – ‘Beyond Recycling: The Essential Role of Reuse and Repair in the Welsh Government’s Circular Economy Strategy’
  • Dr Kersty Hobson, Cardiff University – ‘What we do and don’t know about waste and reuse in the second-hand economy’
  • Jane Mason, Ashfield Community Entreprise – ‘Sculptor, Environmentalist, Punk rocker, Mother…’
  • Rhiannon Craft, Cardiff University – ‘Waste and reuse practices among New Travellers’

10:45 – 10:55 Icebreaker activity (Breakout rooms) – What could we do with that?

10:55 – 11:45 Design Sprint: How might we solve challenges around ‘Waste & Reuse’ in the second-hand economy? Structured ideation activity and discussion

11:45 – 12:00 Reflection, feedback and next steps

This workshop is funded by a Cardiff University ESRC Impact Accelerator Award.

The workshop series will bring 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.  We will focus on the issues of work, waste, repair and reuse, as well as ideas about how we might extend these values and practices into our communities. 

To attend any of the workshops, please email Alida @

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

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] for more information or any queries. 

Follow @2ndhandcultures for news and updates.


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)