Monthly Archives: June 2021

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.


World Circular Textiles Day 2050

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:

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.

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: