It’s late November, and the cool weather has finally arrived in Hong Kong.  I have committed myself to Jup Yeah‘s (Jup Yeah means “pick up stuff” in Cantonese) campaign by pledging not to buy new clothing this season.  As proclaimed by its website: know your style, change your consumption habits, and pick up pre-loved clothing instead of shopping for new clothes.

In order to boost its sales volume, fashion brands, especially fast-fashion brands, have moved at a dizzying speed, creating trend after trend. These apparel chains spend huge amounts of money in advertisement and celebrity endorsements, creating an illusion that everyone has to follow the newest fashion trends. Once you are taken in by this illusion, you are made to believe your old clothing is deemed ‘unwearable’ and so you had to shop for new clothes, and discard your old clothes. By doing so not only are you filling up the clothing donation bin outside your building, you are also filling up the bank account of these fast fashion tycoons. No wonder so many of them ranked in the top 100 richest people in the world.

In addition to further enriching the already filthy-rich, fast-fashion is also causing great harm to the environment.  Clothing which consumes a lot of energy and causes a huge amount of pollution to produce is being sold as almost disposable items. In an attempt to wake Hong Kongers up from this illusion, one weekend in early November, Jup Yeah brought hundreds of pieces of pre-owned clothing to Causeway Bay on a bicycle cart and handed them away to people who have made the pledge not to purchase new clothing for a season.

In case you’ve missed out the above event, no worries, you can still go shopping at pre-owned clothing social-eco enterprise Green Ladies. I visited the new location at Tai Kok Chui on Lai Chi Kok Road ( 10 minutes walk from Prince Edward MTR station) two weeks ago. The store has simple design, with slogans on the wall saying “Women empowerment. Try before you buy” and the clothes are arranged according to colours. Every piece of clothing comes with a tag informing customers with facts stating the impact on fashion. For example, “In China, the garment manufacturing industry emits 2.37 tonnes of waste water every year, which ranks no. 3 amongst all industries. ” All these details demonstrate the values behind Green Ladies’ commitment to provide middle-aged women employment opportunities and encourage eco-friendly consumption habits, and at the same time, raise awareness and educate consumers on the hidden environmental impact of the garment industry, which I deeply share.

On my way back to Prince Edward MTR station, I walked in the Salvation Army thrift store.  In contrast to the quietness and meticulousness of Green Ladies, Salvation Army thrift store is a place for a treasure hunt.  During my visit I found a pre-owned cotton+ linen dress for HKD 55.  By the way, holder of senior citizen cards can enjoy 15% discount.

 

Edited by Iris Leung