As the new year begins, people are being asked to start considering buying more clothes second-hand rather than relying on 'fast fashion'.
Those involved in environmental groups and charity shop organisations are encouraging people to consider buying garments in a more sustainable fashion.
It comes as environmental activist Greta Thunberg says she has stopped buying new clothes, saying she doesn't 'need to buy clothes I don't need'.
She told The Sunday Times she can simply wear borrowed clothes, or in a 'worst-case scenario' buy second-hand.
Geraldine Carton is a co-founder of the Useless Project, which is focused on promoting sustainable living.
She told Lunchtime Live that many of us "have more clothes than we know what to do with" - and many discard items after they've been worn just once or twice.
She observed: “We try to encourage people to not buy necessarily more expensive things, but to buy better… to consider the implications that our purchasing habits can have.
“Our problem with the fast fashion model… is there are so many problems associated with the production of our clothing right now - from the way in which the people are making our clothes at the bottom of the production line are being treated, to the way in which our environment is being treated.
“Our clothing is being transported huge amounts of miles, just to get to us."
She said her group instead advocates for a 'circular economy', where items are reused and resold.
She explained: "We try to encourage people not just to buy clothes, wear it once or twice, and then throw it out.”
While many people see sustainable fashion as being more expensive, Geraldine stressed that high-quality clothing can be very affordable in the likes of charity shops or second-hand marketplaces.
She observed: ”If they haven’t gone to a charity shop before, try it - dip your toe in it and have a look around.
“I’d be pretty confident you’d find something that would surprise you.”
Lockdown has seen the temporary closure of many charity shops, but the stores have continued to see plenty of business when they've been allowed open.
Paul Hughes, spokesperson for the Irish Charity Shops Association, told Lunchtime the demand is there for second-hand clothing.
He explained: “In 2019, we sold somewhere in the region of 10 million garments through the 470 charity shops in Ireland - that hasn’t changed in the periods we’ve been open.
“Fast fashion - if we’re talking about low-cost garments… you buy a low-cost t-shirt for a few euro, and the neck goes on it after you’ve worn it once or twice, and the whole shape falls apart.
“We can’t sell those either - we can sell garments from fast fashion that people donate are new, but selling second-hand fast fashion garments is very difficult for charity shops as well.
“What our business is about is selling a Nike t-shirt that has been previously worn, but still has a lot of life in it and is very competitively priced.”
He said charity shops can often have 2,000 products or more on sale - including clothing that is often not just what's also available on the high street.
He added that such shops have 'huge choice', with something for everyone.