Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 – 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.

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